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"I have always been interested in the physical and psychological aspects of armor and gear. Both of these aspects can also be recovered in the handsomely photographed movies Kagemusha (The Double) and Ran (Chaos) by the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa. Relatively small people riding on horseback for instance are becoming bigger because of their suits of armor, helmets, masks, plumes and feathers. They also hold long spears or banners, usually presented vertically in a sophisticated way. As such extremely effectively they become more terrifying, striking or frightening. Psychologically my defensive Sentinels are also giants." - Shinkichi Tajiri


During the Second World War the old Maas Bridges, vital connection between Venlo and Blerick, were destroyed twice. On the new town bridge from 1957 after years of intense preparation the municipality of Venlo installs four monumental sculptures by Tajiri. The colossal diagonally opposed cast-iron couples, nine meters high, call for a permanent guard against agression, violence and war.

The Sentinels are the city's symbolic protectors.

On the 2nd of May 2007, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands unveiled the cast iron Sentinels on the bridge over the Maas river in Venlo.

This was Tajiri's last commission.



© 2007 Municipality of Venlo.
text: R. Vercauteren, Tajiri, De Wachters van Shinkichi Tajiri, Gemeente Venlo, 2007

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