Bonsai Names

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Bonsai Names

Post  Lee Brindley on Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:48 am

Many of the world's most famous bonsai have been named by their creators, and these names can sometimes become quite legendary. I am thinking along the lines of Naka's 'Goshin' (Keeper of the Spirit) and the now deceased 'Fudo'. So, how many artists actually name their trees and also are these names ever displayed alongside the bonsai at shows? I feel that a name can give an added deapth to a bonsai and help to create a certain mood or emotion. At all of the shows I have been to though, the labels only ever state the species, artist and pot maker - never the name of the tree.
Regards, Lee.

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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  Twisted Trees on Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:30 pm

Some of my trees have come to be named RIP. I have named a few as that becomes apparent as a name for the tree.

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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:57 am

And what happens when the design is outgrown by the tree ?
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  Tony on Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:24 pm

Hi Lee, I believe that 'naming' trees yourself is HUGELY pretentious... whereas if other folk name them I can live with that.

Terry Foster named one of my Yews many years ago "Sleeping Tiger" and Sandro Segneri a Yew "the Calligrapher" ..> And My friend Tony called my Yew in the stone "Excalibur" Had I named them it would make me feel somewhat uneasy...

I do have 'nicknames' for trees... fat Guy, tall Guy, Raft, Big Yew... but thats so that other know the tree I am talking about

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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:26 am

I'm with you Tony, to me it seems hugely pretentious to name a tree. I don't think a tree needs a name, if it is a good tree, the tree itself will evoke the feelings, no name needed to get the viewer there. Naming a tree by the artist is one way to 'color' how the tree is viewed, which, if the tree is well done, should not be necessary. Naming a tree can also limit how the tree is viewed, and if the name was chosen poorly or too esoteric, the viewers will be turned of by what may have been a nice enough tree. Very few trees in the USA are 'good enough' that they deserve a name. Let the the trees speak for themselves and the audience see what they want to see.

So using a name to encourage the viewer to see a certain aspect of a tree may have its merits, but unless it is a true work of art, masterpiece, it will come off as pretentious to most people. Especially those of us who work for a living.

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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:01 am

Leo,

once again, a Bonsai grows and outgrows designs, so what would be a masterpiece,a work of art ?

Needed 3d technology.

I say this, to remind the gentle reader, to help avoid the disappointment for the new to bonsai, as the tree outgrows the exceptional design.
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  Hans van Meer. on Mon Mar 04, 2013 12:35 pm

Leo Schordje wrote:

So using a name to encourage the viewer to see a certain aspect of a tree may have its merits, but unless it is a true work of art, masterpiece, it will come off as pretentious to most people. Especially those of us who work for a living.

Wow! Talking about pretentious! Or was it prejudice?!
Hans van Meer.

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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  rockm on Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:55 pm

I name my trees according to how easy they are to move.

Since I have larger bonsai, most of their names are unprintable in a family-oriented forum, as in "#@!$* oak," "Effin@#$% cedar elm," etc. Wink

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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:38 pm

Hans van Meer. wrote:
Leo Schordje wrote:

So using a name to encourage the viewer to see a certain aspect of a tree may have its merits, but unless it is a true work of art, masterpiece, it will come off as pretentious to most people. Especially those of us who work for a living.

Wow! Talking about pretentious! Or was it prejudice?!
Hans van Meer.

Twisted Evil Hi Hans, unfortunately humor, intended irony and the other non-verbal gestures that go with spoken speach don't translate well across the internet, and across languages. The pretentiousness of my jab does point back at myself, and it was intended, this was suposed to show this was a 'light hearted' comment. I guess I missed.

I do come from a labor background, it is my familiar territory. My grandfather and father belonged to labor unions. Growing up there was some tension between my mother's side of the family, (a few were anti-union) and my father's side of the family (my grandfather personally knew Eugene B. Debbs) so I grew up with the heated discussions, and tended to side with the labor side of my family. I enjoy the beer drinking, plaid flannel shirt and blue jeans crowd. Putting on a suit and neck tie normally is a sign I am not about to have a relaxing time. (going to court and funerals normally require suit and tie)

I did retire from the chemical indutries as a 'chemist' but when your product formulae are in units of metric tons, you tend to identify a bit more with the guys on the shop floor, driving the heavy equiptment and turning the valves.

So I was trying to be a little humorous and missed. I apologize to those who were offended.

@ Khaimraj
I agree. Because trees are not static, because they change, naming a tree presents the additional problem with it 'out growing' its name. The Mona Lisa looks pretty much the same as it did when it was painted, yes, the colors have faded, but the proportions and design have not changed. So the name 'Mona Lisa' sticks.

Bonsai today had an article about one of the 'recognized national treasure' trees that needed to be redesigned. I think is was the 'Jewel in the Whirlpool', in the end the mentioned that it would need a different name. So the Japanese recognize the issue with naming a living, growing tree.

Finally naming a tree colors how people react to it. If you mention dragon or snake in the name, people will look for the sinous movement. But the name can cause people to focus on one aspect to the exclusion of other traits. Why limit the reaction to a tree? Though carefully done, naming can point out a tree's best features, but it really becomes a detriment if the name is not a good 'fit' for the tree. Imagine looking at a tree called "Coiling Dragon", and not being able to see enough movement in the branches or trunk to separate it from the "average" informal upright? Naming a tree is more a hazard than a help.

Those are my thoughts. Again, I did not mean to offend, just wanted express that I do not think naming a tree helps in the display of MOST trees.

Leo Schordje
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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  will baddeley on Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:58 pm

I too find naming trees pretentious. I like the naming with a sense of humour or something personal maybe. Kevin Willsons colossal Spanish Yew "El Bitcho", or Tony's "Fat Guy" for instance. I have named 2 of my trees but as a mark of respect for friends passed.

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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  Twisted Trees on Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:15 pm

A famous bonsai by Dan Robinson which graces the entrance to the US National Bonsai Arboretum is a Ponderosa Pine he dubbed "Jackie Gleason Dancing." For those who are not familiar with old American television Jackie Gleason was a rather rotund actor and comedian who starred in the show "The Honeymooners." Mr Robinson named the the tree what he did as a partial snub to those who wished to mimic the poetic names that the Japanese give their trees. He wished a more American feel to the moniker.

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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  Lee Brindley on Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:28 pm

Thanks for the replies everybody. Myself, I only have one tree with a name. 'Pot of Gold' is my Yew collected from the end of a rainbow. Very Happy

will baddeley wrote:I too find naming trees pretentious. I like the naming with a sense of humour or something personal maybe. Kevin Willsons colossal Spanish Yew "El Bitcho", or Tony's "Fat Guy" for instance. I have named 2 of my trees but as a mark of respect for friends passed.

That reminds me Will, how is Ted? A great looking pine, I think, but not seen any updates for a while.

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Re: Bonsai Names

Post  Hans van Meer. on Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:28 am

Leo Schordje wrote:
Hans van Meer. wrote:
Leo Schordje wrote:

So using a name to encourage the viewer to see a certain aspect of a tree may have its merits, but unless it is a true work of art, masterpiece, it will come off as pretentious to most people. Especially those of us who work for a living.

Wow! Talking about pretentious! Or was it prejudice?!
Hans van Meer.

Twisted Evil Hi Hans, unfortunately humor, intended irony and the other non-verbal gestures that go with spoken speach don't translate well across the internet, and across languages. The pretentiousness of my jab does point back at myself, and it was intended, this was suposed to show this was a 'light hearted' comment. I guess I missed.

So I was trying to be a little humorous and missed. I apologize to those who were offended.

Those are my thoughts. Again, I did not mean to offend, just wanted express that I do not think naming a tree helps in the display of MOST trees.

No worries Leo,
lets just say it was lost in translation! Smile

Cheers,
Hans van Meer.

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Re: Bonsai Names

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