Hundreds of origami components make up each of these beautiful “Trees of Cranes.”

While some artistic disciplines allow for wild, random expression, origami isn’t really one of them. To turn flat pieces of paper into three-dimensional art, the folds an origami master makes must be extremely precise.

Bonsai, also, is a meticulous aesthetic pursuit, largely due to the small scale of the plants, which necessitates minute adjustments to achieve the desired effects in how the branches grow. But what if you were to somehow combine bonsai and origami?

You’d get something enchantingly beautiful, like this.

Japanese artist Naoki Onogawa is particularly fond of the paper cranes which are so symbolic of origami. His passion has led him to create works he refers to as Tsuru no Ki (“Trees of Cranes”), in which a frame resembling the branches of a bonsai tree are covered with crane-shaped “leaves.”

There’s no visual trickery going on here. Onogawa folds each crane individually, by hand, from a 13-millimeter (0.5-inch) square sheet of paper.

One he’s stockpiled an astonishing amount, it’s time to start adding them to the frame. While his pieces that use green, red, or pink cranes may look the most like actual miniature trees, his Tsuru no Ki in other colors are equally striking, with a contemporary vibe that gives them their own unique appeal.

Onogawa says his hope is for people to feel “peace and harmony with nature” when they look at his creations, and indeed, there’s something mysteriously soothing about them. On the other hand, with hundreds of cranes required for each piece, representing a huge time investment, it’s hard to watch this video of him ostensibly burning a pile of unusable cranes without feeling some strong pangs of regret and anxiety.

Here’s hoping they’re all actually tiny little phoenixes, and will be reborn in the flames.

Related: Naoki Onogawa website, Instagram
Source: Bored Panda
[ Read in Japanese ]