Bonsai Styles

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Bonsai Styles

Post  Andrew Legg on Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:55 pm

Hi all,

I am doing a bit of informal research into bonsai styles and I was wondering if anyone can shed some light on where the standard styles (formal upright, informal upright, slanting, semi-cascade and cascade) first became defined by a rule set. I have heard varying opinions on this, but would be interested to hear from you.

Thanks,

Andrew

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Re: Bonsai Styles

Post  JimLewis on Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:24 pm

light on where the standard styles (formal upright, informal upright, slanting, semi-cascade and cascade) first became defined

"Where?" -- That's easy: Japan (or perhaps, China, though they don't seem to be as hung up in named styles).

Or did you mean "when?"

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Re: Bonsai Styles

Post  jgeanangel on Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:11 pm

Hey Andrew...

I recall listening to Walter Pall clarifying the difference between style and form during one of his lectures at CBE this past October where he suggested (and this is certainly a simplification) that the "names" of the styles (as we know them in the West) came about as a result of Yuji Yoshimura trying to address the subject for an English speaking audience in the book that he wrote and first published in the late 50s. I seem to remember from that same discussion, that John Naka may also have been credited with furthering the notions of styles and guidelines for styles through his teachings. I certainly don't know this from my own experience, but I understand that in Japan trees naturally fell into similar forms and shapes but it has only been in recent history that specific names were ever attached to those styles.

So in short, my interpretation of the information was that styles and their guidelines are more of a Western thing than something that was really specifically taught or recognized in Japan.

However, this is information that I have not personally verified but it did seem logical as it was explained.

I hope that makes sense and that I have accurately relayed the information that Mr. Pall was sharing.

John


Last edited by jgeanangel on Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:31 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Bonsai Styles

Post  Andrew Legg on Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:47 am

Thanks Guys,

Yip, I had heard that styles were formalised to teach Westerners bonsai. I guess the when is also relevant, but I was wondering whether a name like Chokkan would have been used in Japan prior to bonsai's movement westwards.

Thanks for the info.

There is a certain person in South Africa who is currently marketing "his" new bonsai style, and for some reason it really irks me. I'm not sure if it is the unrequested e-mails I get about it, or what it is, but styles to me are not about ownership, particularly if they are an emulation of what nature gives us. Maybe there is nothing wrong with it either.

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: Bonsai Styles

Post  JimLewis on Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:52 pm

Maybe something here will help -- the wonderous Phoenix Bonsai Society site's page on bonsai terms and derivations. It says Chokkan, for instance, dates from the 17th Century.

http://www.phoenixbonsai.com/TermOrigins.html

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Bonsai Styles

Post  Andrew Legg on Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:51 pm

Thanks Jim,

I'll check it out.

Cheers

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