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THE PRACTICE OF DISPLAYING BONSAI


images (30) What Elements Are Utilized In The Display Of Bonsai? Displaying bonsai is an art onto itself and whether you display your bonsai formally in a show or informally in your home or in your backyard, a creative and compelling display will give you and everyone who views it a completely new appreciation for bonsai. An awareness of the traditional elements associated with the display of bonsai is advantageous to the success of your display and having a keen awareness will enhance your understanding of and appreciation for the art of bonsai display.
The traditional elements of bonsai display include: a bonsai tree, a display table or stand, an accent item, and a scroll. Each of these elements plays a vital role in the display by constructing, generating, and producing an emotional and intellectual panorama. The bonsai tree is and always should be the most important component of every display.
An exceptionally intriguing bonsai that is truly inspiring can conjure up an entire panorama by itself and, therefore, may be used in a display alone; though this is rarely the case, do not let that stop you from working to create such a masterful bonsai.
If it is necessary to give more hints or evidence of the setting you are trying to suggest, then an accent item should be added to the display. If still more "information" is required, then a scroll can really provide a desirable impact and can help to complete the impression being made by your display. When presented harmoniously, these elements will enable you to successfully produce, in the mind of the viewer: a landscape, a season, or a secret mystical spot – a panorama of the mind, if you will.
What Is The Purpose Of The Display Table or Stand? The purpose of the display table or stand is to raise the bonsai tree up to the ideal viewing height. This viewing height is traditionally considered to be halfway up the trunk of your bonsai. This height enables the viewer to distinguish, and more easily follow the main trunk line of your bonsai. By directing the viewer’s attention to this focal point, the displayer can influence what the viewer perceives and determines as noteworthy. The bonsai and the accent item should both be positioned on a table or stand to raise them from the bench. However, it is important to remember that the dominant element of your display, the bonsai, should be placed on a higher table or stand than the accent item – ensuring that it is unmistakably regarded as more significant.
On a practical level, the table or stand you utilize can be: antique, modern, a slab of wood, or a bamboo mat – but you must use a stand in your display. A table or stand that is more versatile is one that looks appropriate with several different types of trees and is, therefore, much easier to work with. This versatility is something to take into consideration when choosing a table or stand to purchase. The legs of the display table should look sturdy enough to support your bonsai tree, but not appear overpowering. Dark woods, such as Rosewood and Mahogany, are preferable for use with most kinds of bonsai, but a light colored wood, such as bamboo, may be used with a flowering bonsai, such as an azalea, or with a flowering accent item, such as a miniature hosta.

What Is The Traditional Purpose Of The Accent Item? The purpose of the accent item is an important one and an appropriately selected Accent item will enhance the overall display. An accent item can be almost any "item" that helps to evoke in the mind of the viewer a notion of a landscape, a season, a secret mystical spot or whichever natural phenomenon that the displayer is presenting to them. When selecting an accent item there are a couple of things to keep in mind: always remember that the bonsai tree is the dominant and most significant element in the display and that the accent item is there to enhance and not overpower it. Also, remember that it is important for the overall harmonizing effect of your display to select an item that inhabits the same region as the bonsai being displayed. It would be an incongruity to have a bonsai tree that is indigenous to a warm climate presented alongside a small plant or animal from a cold mountainous area. This type of circumstance would actually detract, instead of contribute, to your display. Accent items should not be randomly chosen elements that are scattered throughout the display to brighten it with color or draw chaotic attention. Accent items should be elements that bring to the display a semblance of something natural or in nature: by adding a few pebbles you can depict a babbling brook, bringing a sense of sound and movement to your display; a quail or some geese resting can signify the coming of autumn, bringing a sense of time to your display; a crane or a young boy catching fish will suggest thoughts of summertime and youth.

What Is The Purpose Of A Scroll And Its Selection? The purpose of the scroll element is as important as the accent item and selecting a suitable scroll will augment the overall effect of the display. Original silk scrolls are exceptionally expensive and in Japan a serious art collector will pay millions of dollars to own the work of a particular artist who is famous for their scroll paintings. Of course, you do not have to spend millions of dollars to purchase a Japanese scroll in order to effectively present your display. Any store or shop that specializes in Asian Decor will certainly have a selection of reasonably priced scrolls for you to choose from. The important thing to keep in mind when selecting a scroll to purchase is that it, just like the accent item, lends itself to the overall feeling of your display. A scroll can be a painting that portrays anything that will help bring to mind, for the viewer, an impression of a landscape, a season, or a secret mystical place that the display is offering to the viewer’s imagination. For example: a mountain vista promotes the sense of a mountainous area where a pine tree would obviously be indigenous to, a seagull evokes thoughts of the coast, and a scroll painting of a snow-covered hill connotes winter.
All of these traditional elements when displayed in faultless accord assemble, produce, and bring into being an emotional and intellectual panorama – taking bonsai to the next level. As stated above, this panorama resides in the mind of the viewer and as each viewer has different powers of perception, the panorama they perceive, and their reaction to it, will be unique to them. A perceptive viewer and a compelling display will result in a successful collaboration, leaving one to ponder one of the fundamental conundrums of our time: "Does life create art, or does art create life?"

Are There Cultural Differences Regarding The Display Of Bonsai? One of the cultural differences concerning the display of bonsai trees is, very basically, that traditional Japanese homes are architecturally and characteristically designed so as to contain within the structure itself a tokonoma or – a place of honor – where bonsai are arranged and displayed on a seasonal and celebratory basis throughout the year; while in a typical Western style home, a bonsai display would, more likely than not, be arranged outside or in an outside setting, because bonsai – and the practice of displaying bonsai – is not culturally traditional in the West (.yet!).

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