winter display with the hope of spring

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winter display with the hope of spring

Post  dick benbow on Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:25 pm

After months of not being able to get access to my tokonoma because of a living room remodel, this is a first for me this year.
I chose a pair of mated tancho craines to use as the artwork in the scroll because in Japan this is the time that this activity happens during winter.
Yet here in my backyard, the camellias are beginning to swell with color. what a marvelous sight in the gray
cold of the pacific northwest. Could it be that spring is not that far in the distance?
The korean hornbeam is patiently waiting, no bud activity, reminding us that while the hope is that spring comes quickly, the reality is that it is still winter.

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  dick benbow on Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:34 pm

first of all I am honestly flattered that so many have looked at my post. thank-you. (75 at the time of this post)

My purpose for posting is to get some feedback from the viewers.

If your not into display but enjoyed seeing the post, I'd appreciate it if you'd say so. And if you have something you'd like to add, please.

For example, there is a dual purpose in the display. I use camellia blooms to signify a time of year locally and
yet use the craines to show timing in japan as well. does that jibe with a display, the combination of times in two different cultures? Or is it Ok because both happen as spring approaches in both countries?

I couldn't find the exact table i wanted to display the hornbeam on. Really a round pot should go on a round table.
I would have hoped for a challenge.

It really does take a villiage, so don't be afraid to speak up Smile

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  Andre Beaurain on Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:07 am

Dick I like it, it looks cold and simple. With the hint of warm coming from the Camelia budd accent, in the red bamboo container (?)

I dont know much about display the Eastern way, but I feel your tree should be higher,

Must scrolls always be in the middle of the Tokonoma? If not , I feel it should hang slightly to the right, to give the Cranes place to move too. Does that sound right? as I say not the expert here, just know what looks right to me.

Love and light.

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  Guest on Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:28 am

Hi Dick

Cranes do not represent spring in the japanese culture...they stand for longevity and good fortune...

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  sunip on Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:04 pm

Hello Dick,
Hello thank you for showing this informal display at your house.
Congratulations as you have been able to reopen the tokonoma as a window from your mind to our minds.
Some thoughts;
What is catching my eyes is the dancing cranes and the movement of the tree
but also the red seal on the white scroll have a connection with the red container and white camellia buds.
The scroll is the item that gives a relation between tree and camellia.
There is a touche green yes but it is from last year, not yet bright spring green.
Cranes and tree dance but it is still a bit early.

Trying to experience this setting i have difficulty with the picture.
The camera lens distorts the space, is it possible to make a picture from a bigger distance and another camera setting
for example the scroll seem to hang not vertical because of these distorted lines?
And also please show the whole tokonoma space as this is very important, now i have a very narrow feeling of it
and the double movement of the tree has no space enough.
Sunip Wink


Last edited by sunip on Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:16 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  JimLewis on Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:12 pm

IMO, a larger tree would help the composition.

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  dick benbow on Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:29 pm

Thanks for all of your input.

Andre, appreciate your thoughts. scrolls can be placed best for triangulation but the fact the craines are walking into the scene has validity. Also your right about the tree height. Smile

Yvonne,
While your comments are spot on, the fact that they mate at this time of year makes them a forerunner of the season. In tokonoma display you could never show them in any other month then late february and early march
if your attempt was to focus in on a japanese display. maybe the sense I'm getting is that unless you knew that in your home country, the message is mixed and not clear. It would be better then if I wanted to be in proper thought with what this display would look like in Japan, I would use a kusamono of dried grass to indicate the depth of winter. And to the japanese mind the craines would tell them the depth of the season.

Sunip,
Thanks for your thoughts about the use of color. I have retaken the shot to include a wider scope, and while i couldn't find a stand per say, I think the sake cast lifts up the tree to a better height. also the scroll has been moved to accomodate Andre's concerns.

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  sunip on Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:23 pm

Hello Dick,
Thank you, now i see the possibilities of the tokonama and a third objekt is maybe a bit to much.
(or could displayed to the right side in another space like in the pictures of Yvonne show at the Omya Bonsai Museum.)
The way Yvonne took the pictures in the Omya bonsai museum is the way to go i think.( I love the way there is some more light there)
In this case the hight of the camera would be at tree level as your tokonama floor is in the Japanese way, at almost floor level,
and the display can be seen sitting on the floor.
This means for display a different approach i think as the angle does a lot to the whole.
Now you lifted the tree what means one can appreciate the display standing?
Sunip Wink

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  dick benbow on Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:41 pm

Thank-you sunip, i do hope to do some reworking of the tokonoma to give me an additional display space. i appreciate your observations because when something is yours and too close to you, you do not see it with a critical eye as others. Smile

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  Guest on Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:06 pm

Yvonne,
While your comments are spot on, the fact that they mate at this time of year makes them a forerunner of the season. In tokonoma display you could never show them in any other month then late february and early march
if your attempt was to focus in on a japanese display. maybe the sense I'm getting is that unless you knew that in your home country, the message is mixed and not clear. It would be better then if I wanted to be in proper thought with what this display would look like in Japan, I would use a kusamono of dried grass to indicate the depth of winter. And to the japanese mind the craines would tell them the depth of the season.

Hi Dick

You have used a japanese- like way to look for the spring...and therefor I thought you wanted to know cranes stand for something else, not spring.....cranes is normaly shown on scrolls in the late year (autum), because of what they stand for.
Your cranes are dancing...this they do all year, also deep winter.

I am not sure i understand everything you are saying...you talk about dried grass?....normaly you show the season that soon will arrive, and this you wanted to do, so?

Kind regards Yvonne

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  dick benbow on Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:29 pm

Yes yvonne, The emphasis was on spring but when i look at feedback from others, i think the use of flowers from my backyard and the japanese use of the craines is confusing. So my comment was to back track to winter and use dead grass.

Also in the comments, has me now looking at the angle of the shots. My tokonoma is set up to sit on cushions on the floor to view it at the height it was constructed for. So that will help me in future displays that i might share with the angles on camera done correctly.

I really appreciate all the contributions. helps me do a better job of making a good presentation. Smile

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  Kakejiku on Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:27 am

I think the scroll was positioned correctly the first time around. It looks to me like the length of your Toko is only about 3.5 feet...maybe I am wrong. Because it is not a full Jou would you consider taking out the accent camellia's? Replace your current shikishi birds with an 鶯 and lower the scroll on the jinzai to let branches on your bonsai to flow into the chi of your scroll...Just some random thoughts.

In an earlier post you talked about not repeating elements, but your pot on your kusamono and your jiita are both red...

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  Andre Beaurain on Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:33 am

...it too far now over to the right, I think, the left hand side of the scroll should hang down the middel of the Tokonoma.
I also think the red jitta is to much for the Red pot.

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  gman on Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:45 pm

Hi Dick,
I was one of the 75...but I have not expertise with such things so I just like to look and not comment. You did ask so I will however, give you my impression(s) even though it has no credit....just my gut feeling Laughing

I do find the lines of the wall paper a little distracting, (as mentioned), also the tree leans/moves away from the scroll but I've read it should move towards it, in the first picture I think the elements seem way too close together and I do find the double red a little too much, I think a black jitta or a small dark wooden one would work better.
Cheers Graham

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  Leo Schordje on Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:56 pm

The display with the elevated tree fits much better visually. In the first the camellia buds were too dominant. I think it is a lovely display, though the Japanese cultural references regarding the cranes are lost on me, as I am not Japanese and don't see the value in learning their vocabulary. The colors alone of the crane scroll suggest winter to me. That's close enough, the camellia buds very specifically set the time frame to late winter. Lovely display, not many bonsai growers make the effort. You are making good use of the space available. I do see the thought to either doing the display without the camellia buds, or perhaps without the tree, keeping the camellia buds, but put the camellia on a different stand if it becomes the principal element. Most homes don't have a wide enough space for a formal size Tokonoma, you are using yours space well. Thank you for showing us this.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against using the Japanese display technique. But I will never be exhibiting outside the USA, so it would be better use of my energy to understand what different symbols mean to USA viewers. The US is not well developed in symbol definitions, and the symbolism comes out of many fairly diverse ethnic origins, even regional origins as far as plant material goes. So in some ways, it will be harder to be clear with US symbols than with the Japanese symbols, which are well documented from a homogeneous culture. (no, I don't want to ever see an American flag or an NRA sticker in a bonsai display Twisted Evil )


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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  dick benbow on Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:09 pm

Thank-you graham, thank-you leo.....I always pick up something from those who take the time to post. Smile

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  Mark on Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:15 am

Dick,
I appreciate your desire to learn and gain insight to the Art of display. There are many considerations in preparing a display, care and respect are 2 that are sometimes over looked. I would share one thought with you, a Bonsai should never be presented in a Tokonoma with out moss covering the soil.You may learn more researching this idea further. Good luck in your adventures!

Mark

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  dick benbow on Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:25 pm

I think what has been the challenge for me Mark, is the topic is not covered anywhere in books. Atleast not in english.

I was very disappointed with the beauty of bonsai, by Junsun Yamamoto. The book by Willi Benz is a little better.

The research i have had plying the internet is that there are two basic types of display.
1 seki=table top
2 toko=tokonoma

I'm working thru what constitutes formal or informal display.

As a resource I recently came across a manual by the keido Katayama Ryu text books (3). they are in japanese and most difficult to come by. If anyone has a copy, I would love to get a photo copy of the pages. (PM me)

I understand that there is competitions that go on in california but need to look into more to see if i can find when and who sponsors. If anyone has that info, it would be appreciated.

I feel like somewhat of a detective as I struggle to put the clues together but i will get there Smile
( but mostly from the help from others) you know it would have been a lot easier had I been born a japanese in japan. LOL

My dad was in the pacific with the Navy during world war two. I often contemplate about what he would think about his oldest son and his passion for things japanese.Smile Interesting world we live in.....

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  Kakejiku on Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:19 pm

dick benbow wrote:seki=table top

I understand that there is competitions that go on in california but need to look into more to see if i can find when and who sponsors. If anyone has that info, it would be appreciated.

Careful about the translation of Seki Kazari....I have heard it translated as table top display in many places, but 席 Seki is better translated as a seat or positioned display. If we say table top display, then I think most English speakers would take that literal. Your display area, although set back does not have the Pillars to constitute a Toko no Ma...so your place to display would probably be better called a seki kazari. I will try to scan one picture that may better explain visually.

As for the traditional display competition in CA, go to the Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture and e-mail to the bonsai curator.


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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  dick benbow on Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:57 pm

Much thanks Jonathon Smile

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

Post  Mark on Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:53 pm

Dick,
All the answers to not reside in one book, including Japanese. The Keido set is in Japanese, however you can learn a great deal studying the displays. Peter Warren has also written a partial translation guide book. For a man who has correctly recognized a National Treasure, I may be able to find the pages you seek.

Mark

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Re: winter display with the hope of spring

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