What IS a bonsai Master?

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What IS a bonsai Master?

Post  fiona on Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:57 am

Sorry Guys, it's one of those "Is bonsai art" type of posts again (Moderators, feel free to relocate this if you think it's in the wrong section).

The question arose the other day at one of our bonsai study group meetings of what actually constitutes a bonsai master. It was in reaction to a snippet in a well-known bonsai magazine that my native country has not produced any bonsai masters or masterpieces. My contention was that I can think of at least two people whom I would consider to be masters and several trees I would consider to be masterpieces. Some of our group suggested that a bonsai master would need to have some sort of "qualification" and/or have spent time in Japan as an apprentice to an existing master. A masterpiece tree would need to have won some sort of recognised prize - e.g. Ginkgo, Newstead, Noelanders.

I am not aware of any "qualification structure within bonsai (certainly, at least, not in Europe) and I have in my head that the "apprenticeship" in Japan is a relatively recent phenomenon and would probably not have been available when my two contenders were learning their art. One, however, has travelled extensively in Japan and China and has furthered his already extensive skill and knowledge that way. He has also taught bonsai internationally and has several bonsai publications to his name. He is also the creator of several internationally known trees. Although restricted to a more local area my other contender also has taught extensively and has had prizewinning trees certainly within Europe. I can also add a recent Ginkgo award-winning tree to the list of masterpieces. Or at least I think I can. I would be very interested to hear the response of the IBC community as to what you think constitutes a bonsai master and masterpiece - interested because I am of the opinion that on this forum we have several bonsai artists who I and others would consider to be masters.

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What IS a bonsai Master?

Post  jamesransom on Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:43 am

Hi fionnghal,
This is an interesting question something i have pondered for many years. I beleive that a a true person that is skilled at all aspects of the art and more over the horticultural aspects including plant ident/names, some one that can make a tree from a true blank canvas is a master i.e. nursery stock that has been grow on mass. It is all too easy to get a wild tree and pot, prune it and take the credit for natures work but try to replicate it takes a true master.

James

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Re: What IS a bonsai Master?

Post  JimLewis on Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:08 pm

A true "master" MUST be a teacher. At some level, it could be anyone who knows more than YOU do about a subject. "Masters" grow as you grow.

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Re: What IS a bonsai Master?

Post  Phil S on Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:23 pm

I've always been confused to weather he/she is a master of the craft/art or a master over the apprentices he/she teaches.
As bonsai was regarded as more of a craft/tradition in Japan in the past , and the creators artisans, I would think the latter meaning is more appropriate traditionally.

In artistic terms
If a person creates trees that are regarded as masterpieces, then you could say that that person is a master of the art.

The first meaning would be a fact, and the second would subject to popular opinion.


Last edited by Phil S on Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:56 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added text to post)

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Re: What IS a bonsai Master?

Post  Will Heath on Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:13 pm

5. somebody highly skilled: somebody highly skilled at something


6. skilled worker: somebody who is highly skilled in a trade or craft and is qualified to teach apprentices ( usually used in combination )


7. player at high level: in some games, a player who has reached a high level of achievement, especially in chess or bridge.


- http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_1861628669/master.html

The accepted definitions seem suited to answer this question, however I would add that in art, a master also produces masterpieces, of course.

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who is a Master?

Post  Sagi Baron on Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:00 pm

A Master is the one artist out of many that is recognized by his colleagues and artistic community as a pioneer.
When you reach a high level of knowledge and skill in all the aspects of the art - than you are an artist.
But when you make a valued breakthrough as an artist, and by that you make a unique contribution to the art and to those who practice the art, than you are a Master.

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Re: What IS a bonsai Master?

Post  Roger Snipes on Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:38 am

I would agree that a bonsai master would be someone that is generally considered to be a master by the bonsai community. It wouldn't matter if he or she was self taught, apprenticed with someone, or whatever; and I certianly don't think that studying in Japan would be a qualification. A person either produces good trees, or he doesn't.

By the same token, I think a masterpiece tree would be one that is generally considered as such by the bonsai community whether or not it has won any awards. There may be masterpiece trees around that have never been entered in a contest or a show that judges trees and gives out awards.

Roger

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Re: What IS a bonsai Master?

Post  greekbonsai on Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:09 pm

jamesransom wrote:Hi fionnghal,
This is an interesting question something i have pondered for many years. I beleive that a a true person that is skilled at all aspects of the art and more over the horticultural aspects including plant ident/names, some one that can make a tree from a true blank canvas is a master i.e. nursery stock that has been grow on mass. It is all too easy to get a wild tree and pot, prune it and take the credit for natures work but try to replicate it takes a true master.

James

I agree with you James,
Bonsai Master is a person who can transform a stick in a pot to a piece of art bonsai, or something similar OVER THE YEARS.
It is NOT somebody who just knows where to find established material (Yamadori) and cut some branches off.

Petros

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Re: What IS a bonsai Master?

Post  greerhw on Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:59 am

I figure it's someone you are willing to pay to work on your trees !

Harry

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Re: What IS a bonsai Master?

Post  Bruce Winter on Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:52 am

Harry should know. Rolling Eyes Smile
One thing for sure, a master never say's he's one.

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Re: What IS a bonsai Master?

Post  mike page on Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:47 pm



Three Masters. Gone from this Earth, but their spirit lives on.

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what is a bonsai master

Post  alex e on Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:07 pm

First of the term "MASTER" is all to readily bantered around the bonsai fraternity,
there are/was only a few true masters, unfortunately three of them pictured on
this thread have gone to the great bonsai club above leaving but a few Kimura
being one of them, these are the masters that through generations pioneered &
innovated the bonsai " Art " to its truest form, yes! there are many that teach and
impart the knowledge they possess, but! it hardly makes them "Masters" but do have
exceptional ability and talent & then there are those whom portray themselves to be
Teachers, Masters, Artists, usually found hanging around real Artists and talking the
talk but in reality inept artistically & horticulturally .

bom bom bom bom

Hi to everyone I met at the Best of British


cheers Alex e

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