New World Transparent Specimens

Japanese artist Iori Tomita transforms the scientific technique of preserving and dying organism specimens into an art form with his series, ‘shinsekai [toumei hyouhon]‘ (‘new world transparent specimens’). Tomita began experimenting with the preservation and staining of fish while working as a fisherman, gradually developing his mastery of the nuances of the process necessary for refining the form and color of the pieces. For each specimen, Tomita first removes the scales and skin of fish that have been preserved in formaldehyde. He leaves the organism to soak in a mixture of blue stain, ethyl alcohol, and glacial acetic acid before utilizing the enzyme trypsin to break down protein and muscles, stopping the reaction as soon as they become transparent but before they lose their form. The bones are then stained by soaking the fish in a combination of potassium hydroxide and red dye, before the specimen is preserved in glycerin.

people may look at my specimens as an academic material, a piece of art, or even an entrance to philosophy. There is no limitation to how you interpret their meaning. I hope you will find my work as a ‘lens’ to project a new image, a new world that you’ve never seen before.


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A photo blog focused on the unique things of the world, exploring a number of different subjects such as art, photography, architecture and travel.

13 thoughts on “New World Transparent Specimens”

  1. Reblogged this on questrix and commented:
    From eMORFES…anatomical beauty through a different lens; for me, also a reflection on the beauty of the cycle of life.

    NOTE: the specimens were not killed by the artist, but found already lifeless. (I paused forever there… They’re so vivid, I couldn’t bring myself to write “dead”. But they were so in a way I guess I find this an artistic resurrection.)

  2. I’ve been missing your posts and then you post this incredible beauty. Thank You from the iris’ of my eyes for searching to find both intriguing and mystifying art. You bring beauty to my eyes that I would not otherwise see. I really do appreciate your work here. Jayne

  3. Reblogged this on The arts of Matilda and commented:
    As both a biologist and artist I must say this is amazing! The technique, the amount of time put into it, and the wonderful outcome. Wow. This really shows the beauty that comes from life and evolution!

  4. The amount of work the artist has put in is undeniable, and the end results aesthetically are really quite beautiful. However, as a Nature and Wildlife lover and photographer, I have to say that I feel it’s a shame that these animals have to die for the sake of his Art.

    1. As he says,
      “These specimens which you see here are actually animals that have died for some reason or whose carcasses were discarded from pet shops or fishermen. I use those animals which passed away and repurpose them.”

      I probably should have mentioned this earlier. 🙂

      1. I’m so glad you added that! Now I can love these guilt-free 🙂 Actually, it gives them a whole new level of loveliness.

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