These Are Made of Stone, Right? Surreal Stone Sculptures Challenge Perceptions.

Stone seems like a pretty unforgiving and rigid material to work with. That is, unless you’re Hirotoshi Itoh, otherwise known as Jiyuseki. The Japanese artist purposefully works with natural stones to create sculptures that are equal parts charming and challenging. He uses these materials to make viewers question the conventional ideas of what materials (in this case stone) are used for.  

Everyday, familiar items like coins and zippers transform the stones into other, stranger forms.

Stuffed Stone

This stone is bursting at the seams, but trying to get your brain to understand where exactly that stuffing comes from is a little tricky.


Using organic items gives the stones a new context.

Last Summer

An even weirder take on the coin purse.

Coin Purse

People tend to think of stones as solid and unchanging, and so the suggestion that a stone is hollow and malleable creates a strange illusion.


This combination of zippers and human teeth is funny, but a bit disturbing.

Butter Stone

In all likelihood, the stone is probably harder than the metal, but this sculpture makes it seem like the opposite is true.

Jiyuseki starts with a smooth, natural rock, usually found on the banks of the river near his house. These stones are worn smooth by the water, and resemble a soft, organic form with Jiyuseki’s patient reworking. He also adds in other materials like cloth, stuffing, and everyday items to create the illusion that the stone is something else entirely. Sometimes, his painstaking process works, too; many viewers of his work are shocked to discover that they are actually stones.

Zip-Up Shirt

This flat stone becomes a convincing folded shirt with some carving and the addition of a zipper.

Take A Rest

The addition of small figures adds a completely new dimension to the sculpture.

Big Tree

These tiny tourists are at the root of a comparatively large tree, all zipped into a strange stone world.

Aside from working with naturally-shaped stones, Jiyuseki also carves some pieces to resemble clothing and other soft items. He sometimes turns his pieces into surreal combinations of objects and landscapes with the addition of tiny figurines. These figurines make the stone turn into a tiny scene and warp perceptions of size, as well as texture and form. In the end, Jiyuseki’s work takes a simple piece of nature and makes it into a fantastic yet complex object.