Bonsai that break the rules

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Some contemporary bonsai designs that break several established rules of bonsai. Yet these are all award-winning trees in Japan. Do their unusual designs create a strong feeling for you? Or do they just look "wrong"?

rules1.jpg


rules2.jpg


rules3.jpg


rules4.jpg
 

pauldogx

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I like them all--but I care for the third one the least. It's the only one that looks "kinda wrong" to me.
 

Walter Pall

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I cannot see where they brake any rules of nature or art. The so called bonsai rules are guidelines. They are for beginners and artistically handicapepd folks. If you follow them you create something that is not totally bad usually. But it isn not good either. The overwhelming majority of western practitioners pay way too much attention to rules. Look at real trees instead!
 

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I cannot see where they brake any rules of nature or art. The so called bonsai rules are guidelines. They are for beginners and artistically handicapepd folks. If you follow them you create something that is not totally bad usually. But it isn not good either.

I posted these trees to play "devil's advocate" :) Just because a tree breaks established bonsai rules doesn't make it a bad tree. However, it is my belief that if you break a rule, you should at least understand you are breaking it :)

For example, if you are writing a book and misspell a word, it is not necessarily wrong if you INTEND to misspell the word. However if you misspell the word because you don't know any better, that is not intent, but a mistake.

Take for example the first tree in the series. Normally if you were creating a twin trunk design you would want the trunks to split at the nebari. Having them split mid-way up the tree creates a balance issue, as well the potential "sling shot" design challenge. This is a mistake made by many beginners. However in the case of this tree, the asymmetry creates tension while the hanging branch on the left balances the design. End result - an award-winning tree not by mistake, but by design.

I wonder if I am making sense :)
 

JasonG

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While I like them all, the 2nd and 3rd ones are killer trees. The 2nd one is awesome! I have quite a few books from Japan regarding shows, magazines, etc...and what you wouldn't believe is that many of the trees do not follow so called "rules", are not perfect trees (some are very "messy")and are much more natural then you would think. We have this preconcieved notion that they are cookie cutter and have to abide by certain rules. That is wrong, Walter proves it often and there are a ton of Japanese trees that are very natural looking trees. You just have to be exposed to it I guess.

Jason
 

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The 2nd tree is my favorite.

I think I like the 1st one next, just because my eye keeps moving over the design - it is really not static at all. Plus, I really like the pot :)
 

subnet_rx

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I like all of them except the 3rd. The nebari on the 2nd and 3rd are kind of strange to me, I don't see that very much in nature around here. It looks like nebari from being in a pot too long.
 

Bill S

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I don't have a problem with breaking the "rules", but it has to look right, natural or asthetecally right, breaking the "rules" needs to work not be an excuse to call an abhoration a bonsai.

I was going to say that it goes with out saying , but following the "rules" doesen't make it make a good bonsai an automatic either.
 

JasonG

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Hey --watch it----there's way too much exposin' goin on round here!!!:D:eek:

I like the 2nd one as well.

haha, good one!

I like all of them except the 3rd. The nebari on the 2nd and 3rd are kind of strange to me, I don't see that very much in nature around here. It looks like nebari from being in a pot too long.


The nebari is a bit much, I agree but that 2nd tree is still pretty killer, even with the hubcap nebari!

What species is the 4th one? I kinda like the spiraling wood.

Thanks, Jason
 

johng

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I cannot see where they brake any rules of nature or art. The so called bonsai rules are guidelines. They are for beginners and artistically handicapepd folks. If you follow them you create something that is not totally bad usually. But it isn not good either. The overwhelming majority of western practitioners pay way too much attention to rules. Look at real trees instead!

Well said Mr. Pall! I could not agree more.

Recently, during a demo, I had the opportunity to ask a large group of bonsai enthusiasts, "if we were making bonsai or trees?" Granted it was an audience of about 100 and experience levels represented the gamut but no one would bite on that question. Even after asking it 3 times! We are all in different place on our journeys, but right now what Mr. Pall says above and what Hans wrote about in a recent thread is really resonating with me.

As to the root bases of trees 2 and 3, they are amazing. Natural or not, there are no shortcuts to achieving that kind of base. Its speaks volumes for the long term care these trees have received.

Thanks,
John
 
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Perfect sense made JohnG

The 1st tree really grabs me the most out of all of them, but they are all great. I like where the trunk splits. In my opinion it depicts a really old mature twin trunk tree in nature. The azalea is still alive thus far!

Tim
 

Mark

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The latest newsletter of the California Aiseki Kai has words of wisdom from Hideko Metaxus.

"We should by all means have our own Bonsai and Suiseki with materials originating in America and representing our own environment".

"However, as long as we call them Bonsai and Suiseki, Art forms originating in Japan, we must respect their origin, the principle and the essential guidelines".

We should completely understand the origin and essence of Bonsai and Suiseki before developing
"the new wind" ".

'Often the terms "AMERICAN BONSAI" and "AMERICAN SUISEKI" (substitute European or your own country here) are used as excuses for inadequate skills and for improper care, compromising the teaching of the essence of Bonsai and Suiseki for ones own convenience"
 

pauldogx

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"However, as long as we call them Bonsai and Suiseki, Art forms originating in Japan, we must respect their origin, the principle and the essential guidelines".

I would basically agree with this---but from Walters point of view as the basics being a platform only.

In an etymological sense--I think the word Bonsai has transcended it's origin.
I think Bonsai has been practiced the world over long enough now that the Japanese can no longer call that word their own.
 

Walter Pall

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"However, as long as we call them Bonsai and Suiseki, Art forms originating in Japan, we must respect their origin, the principle and the essential guidelines".

We should completely understand the origin and essence of Bonsai and Suiseki before developing
"the new wind" ".

How about that:

"However, as long as we call it Soccer originating in England, we must respect the origin, the principle and the essential guidelines".

We should completely understand the origin and essence of Soccer before developing
"the new wind" ".

Hilarous laughter all over the world would follow on such demands. Even English folks would think that this is very funny. How about applying English gentleness to the game?

I can see that bonsai is an international game by now. It is understandable that folks with Japanese ethnic background try to hold on to 'their' game; but it will not help.
 

Mark

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Sounds funny, BUT the original rules and the fundamentals are still followed all over the world even though different countries have developed their own styles of play. The fact that you or others are not respectful of the roots of the sport does not surprise me a bit. By the way, even in soccer there are styles to suit every taste. From the boring Germans to the creative Brazilians and everything in between.

Mark
 

Walter Pall

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OK,

soccer was not a good eyxample as it is a game that REQUIRES rules.
How about oil painting and Florence, Italy as the root of this in the Renaissance.
BTW, the roots of bonsai are in China. How about the Japanese respecting the Chinese roots and rules?
 

pauldogx

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Mark---I don't think it's a matter of not respecting the roots at all. It's just recognizing that now that's its international ---it has begun to evolve.

Bruce Lee took alot of abuse and criticism from his peers for creating his own style of martial arts from the various forms he studied. First he was criticized for teaching Kung Fu to westerners and then criticized for formulating his own style after extensive research and practice.

Again--he had utmost respect for the origins of this discipline---but recognized the need to move the art form forward.

I am a musician and in this art form innovation is essential. If you are not unique you are instantly labeled an imitator.
 
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