Hòn non bộ - Miniature landscapes

TheAntiquarian

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Have any members of the site noticed or studied the miniature landscapes they make in Vietnam, called Hòn non bộ, where in large cement trays or large flat cement pots they use rocks made of cement to mimic mountains and landscapes, containing miniature trees? I have noticed several threads discussing whether cement might be an appropriate material for miniature tree containers and for root over rock projects; of course the Japanese tradition does not use cement for bonsai containers or for root over rock, but the Vietnamese use it with much success, and create very beautiful mountain landscapes with it. It seems that at some point in history they used carved rock to make the containers and landscapes, but there are many videos on youtube showing how the artisans who make these landscapes today use cement. The plants seem to live well there, including miniature trees...

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PA_Penjing

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The chinese used to (still do?) have rockeries or or rock gardens. They were massive landscape scenes made out of artistically arranged boulders and rocks, planted with trees and sometimes populated with fish in the water below. All contained in some kind of huge pot/box. Man Lung artistic pot plants (1969) has a few awesome photos of these "miniatures". The author (Wu Yee Sun) is actually standing IN one, on a bridge. I've tried researching hon non bo in the past with little success. For some reason Japanese culture is easy to find on my American internet searches, Chinese is much more scarce, and vietnamese is almost non existent. Maybe the algorithm just doesn't know me yet? seems like a lack of interest/demand though
 

TheAntiquarian

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Hinmo, of course, I've seen Nigel Saunders make root-over-temple projects where he uses cement. And PA, I guess in some cultures, like where I live, it is much less common to share know-how over the Internet. But there really are many photos online if one looks up hon non bo as "image search" in Google, and many videos on youtube where one can see exactly how they do the work, both the construction (where they use foam, cement and some wire, then paint) and the planting, wiring, etc.
 
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PA_Penjing

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To answer your question, I wouldn't get too concerned with what the Japanese use. They have different materials available to them. Trees, soil components, and clays for pot making. Cement weathers, grows moss and algae very quickly. It could be cool, try and see.
 

Bonsaidoorguy

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Have any members of the site noticed or studied the miniature landscapes they make in Vietnam, called Hòn non bộ, where in large cement trays or large flat cement pots they use rocks made of cement to mimic mountains and landscapes, containing miniature trees? I have noticed several threads discussing whether cement might be an appropriate material for miniature tree containers and for root over rock projects; of course the Japanese tradition does not use cement for bonsai containers or for root over rock, but the Vietnamese use it with much success, and create very beautiful mountain landscapes with it. It seems that at some point in history they used carved rock to make the containers and landscapes, but there are many videos on youtube showing how the artisans who make these landscapes today use cement. The plants seem to live well there, including miniature trees...

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I would love to make something like that. I have this one rock that I found on the river with lots of pockets. I like the moss and I planted an azalea in one pocket and it's made it a season. 20210307_111639.jpg
 
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