When you think of butter, you probably think of a delicious spread for your toast. Or you might consider your cholesterol levels and clutch your heart. But you probably don’t think about a life-sized Marilyn Monroe statue — or ET, Yoda, or even Egyptian mummies. But these unusual butter sculptures exist, and they’re more popular than ever before.
These surprising creations from talented sculpture artists can be seen all over the country, and they have been a part of the draw to many state fairs. They demonstrate some pretty quirky artistic talents — and, yes, there are butter-based creations of life-sized cows sculpted out of its own popular food product. In fact, the Iowa State Fair Butter Cow is a tradition dating back to 1911. The current sculptor apprenticed for 15 years before being granted the honor.
Not only do butter sculptures have a history at state fairs in this country, but Tibetan Buddhists traditionally sculpted with butter to create sacred offerings. One monastery even boasts a butter sculpture museum!
Needless to say, these works can be extremely difficult to create. Sculpting ability aside, the material is sometimes difficult to manipulate. And, while butter certainly isn’t the only type of food to be carved, it offers some unique challenges to the artist — like needing to remain below melting temperature while carving. Likewise, those same cooler climates are needed when placing the art on display, since all of that hard work and creativity will mean nothing if the statue transforms into a pool of grease by the end of day.
So since it is the season of summer and state fairs, check out these unusual butter sculptures in the slideshow above.