- Title: JAPAN: JAPANESE SCULPTOR MAKES LIFE-SIZE AND LIFELIKE WAX FIGURES
- Date: 29th December 2000
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) MCU/ZOOM INTO HIROHITO MODEL (2 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 13th January 2001 12:00
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Entertainment,Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVAD5XU5O2D7F3EQ6UROLFG64LWA
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- Story Text: Art imitates life down to the last freckle in the atelier of Japanese sculptor Toru Matsuzaki who makes life-size, lifelike wax figures using pots of boiling wax, false teeth and real human hair.
Rows and rows of heads of famous figures sit on Matsuzaki's workshop table, waiting for features to be added on to make them complete.
"If possible, I take a life-mask of the person and take measurements of the bone structure," said Matsuzaki of the three-month process needed to complete a wax figure.
"Using this I make a clay model of the head and then a plaster mold. Then the hot wax is poured into this mold and when it hardens, the fake eyes, false teeth and real human hair is implanted on the surface," he added.
The artist then painstakingly carves out every wrinkle and has clothes sewn onto the stiff wax figures.
Matsuzaki, in his mid-50s, has made nearly a thousand wax figures so far of men, women and children of all ages.
He says the most difficult part about making his works look alive is the age factor.
"You can't have a young Marilyn Monroe, because when she was young, she didn't look very much like the sophisticated, sexy woman we associate Marilyn with," he said.
"But you still have to give a youthful appearance to the wax figure or else noone would recognize it," he added.
Matsuzaki's figures can be found in museums in Japan as well as Asia. His works look so real they are used in violent scenes in movies as doubles for actors.
He is currently working on a collection of wax figures of the Japanese imperial family which will be put on display in a museum in western Japan.
The late Japanese emperor Hirohito now sits in the middle of his workshop and the heads of the current emperor and empress are on the brink of completion.
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