Dorodango The Strange Art Of Creating A Perfect Mud Ball

Samuel Reason | May 25th, 2019

Hikaru Dorodango is the Japanese Art of perfecting a sphere out of a lump of dirt. If you translate the word Hikaru Dorodango it literally means shiny dumpling, it is the act of turning regular dirt into a slowly crafted perfect looking shiny spheres. And though it may look easy, it is a complicated art that requires years to master.

The object actually takes many hours and much patience to create, as the creator has to slowly add finer particles of dirt to create each layer painfully slow. And then depending on the overall effect the artist is going for, there may even be a piece of cloth used as the final layer. This will give the final layer of varnish a shiny sheen that is seen in the likes of a billiard or snooker ball.

And though you may think that these boulders are much like rocks, a completed dorodango is extremely fragile and delicate. This means these shiny spheres of dirt have to be handled with extreme care. It is said that the art is more focused on the meditative benefit of creating the sphere than actually the longevity of the artwork.

The process is not too complicated it just requires much patiences, the art uses mud. The creator has to mold earth and water together to create the shiny sphere, layer by layer. First you must carefully shape the sphere by hand until it is as round as possible. Then comes the drying process, and once the core has dried then you can carefully dust your dorodango ball with a layer of finely sifted soil to create a beautiful final layer around the core.

These steps can be repeated several times which allows the artist to produce the smooth and shiny surface they look for. The process is known to take over 7 hours to complete and one mistake could cause the dorodango ball to break completely. They have also featured in popular culture such as mythbusters, where they used the technique behind dorodango to show that it was possible to polish a turd.

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