Scroll for Shohin Display

mahler365

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Hi everyone, Does anyone know where one can find small scrolls for a shohin display??? Your comments are much appreciated.
 

Emil Brannstrom

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You forgot expensive too.

Not really considering the time it takes to paint, fabricate the scroll and mount the painting. Then add material. Silk and watercolors are expensive as helsefyr. The artwork isn't all that IMO but that's another issue.
 

rockm

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Anyone looked on Ebay?

I have been getting high-quality, inexpensive scrolls from Japan off of Ebay for years. You have to look for the good stuff--sort "japanese scroll" "highest first" for a look at the high-end prices. However, the best values are in the $30-$40 range.

Most are full-sized Tokoname length work:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...Category=38125&_trkparms=algo=LVI&its=I&otn=1

but others are half or a third that size...
 

Redwing

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I'm extremely interested in learning more about Japanese hanging scrolls, both in their own right and as accompaniments for bonsai. I've been playing around with google and a few key terms (kakemono or 掛物, kakejiku or 掛軸) but I haven't hit on the motherlode of information or sales yet. Surely there are forums or similar that discuss these scrolls? Any ideas?

I'd also love to see more about how to pair them with bonsai / accent plants. Here a few links to high-end Japanese display would be infinitely more useful than the sort of pseudo-Japanese kitsch that is so common in Western attempts at formal display.

Thanks in advance,
rw
 

rockm

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RW,

Your really asking about "kei-do" the Japanese art of display. It's pretty complex and extremely subjective. It can take years to learn the intricacies.

I've not studied kei-do, but I have been buying scrolls to use in bonsai display for years. The most important thing I've learned (just like bonsai) "less is more." Simple is better. The more complex, the more confused your "message' becomes.

A single element in the picture, or two at the most, is perfect. Don't try to "say" too much with the scroll. It's meant to suggest, not be explicit. It should be subtle enough to allow the viewer's imagination some room to run.

Good "bulletproof" choices for scrolls include: Moon/clouds, single insect (this could include fireflies, spiders, grasshoppers, cicada, etc.--all of which are pretty common in smaller kakemono) on a leaf/grass, autumn flowers with moon, waterfall (alone, no surrounding foliage), single or a few birds.

Here are few examples:

http://cgi.ebay.com/JAPANESE-SCROLL...ewItemQQptZAsian_Antiques?hash=item3a546a3f58

http://cgi.ebay.com/3514-Vintage-Ja...ewItemQQptZAsian_Antiques?hash=item5ad492cd55

http://cgi.ebay.com/3457-Japanese-H...ewItemQQptZAsian_Antiques?hash=item4a9bcdaf87

http://cgi.ebay.com/1901Z-Japanese-...ewItemQQptZAsian_Antiques?hash=item2ea8c606a7

Scroll selection is also highly seasonal--some scrolls, like fireflies, cicadas, certain flower, suggest summer. Bats can suggest late summer or autumn. Depending on background/in picture treatment, moons scrolls can be almost any season..

This is just the tip of a very large display iceberg. Search on Kei-do to find more. Search ebay (japanese scrolls--sort highest to lowest) for less expensive (and sometimes pretty nice) scrolls.

Also, if you're going to display your bonsai and scroll in a show--don't try to make a scroll yourself. Stay away from Kanji and calligraphy. Any translation is usually wrong, sometimes laughably so. You don't want a Japanese visitor to pee himself laughing when he sees your display.

I've purchased a dozen or so scrolls of all sizes from Ebay vendors based in Japan. I've never paid over $100 for one. Shipping from Japan adds only about $5 or so. The vast majority of the other sources I've seen online are pretty expensive and/or the quality isn't there. Some are outright rip-offs.
 
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Redwing

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Rockm,

Thank you for an exceptionally useful post. (I'd always wondered about bats and season, btw). Your suggestions largely echo the intuitions I had, but it is very useful to have them confirmed.

I've been very shy of calligraphy for exactly the reasons you describe.

-rw
 

Redwing

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Rockm and others,

What are your thoughts on using a scroll with a single branch (not a landscape) like this: http://cgi.ebay.com/D944-Japanese-h...ewItemQQptZAsian_Antiques?hash=item439b669b68
It wouldn't have to be a flowering branch.

Does it compete too much with the tree and too greatly confuse the scale? Or not? I assume you'd use a different and complementary species of bonsai in the display, but I'd like to hear thoughts on that as well.

Cheers,
rw
 

rockm

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RW,

The problem with using a tree image with a bonsai is that it is redundant which can potentially overshadow the "main attraction" of the bonsai. Flowering trees in the image would definitely wrestle an accompanying non-flowering bonsai to the ground:D

The aim of scrolls and other pieces used with a formal bonsai display is to create an overarching feeling for the entire composition. If you're redundant with one element of the display, it tends to weaken that overall message, or muddies it up. What the bonsai "says" is the same thing the scroll "says." You've canceled out both voices.

Tree images in scrolls can be used very successfully with kusamono (grasses, etc.) and the converse is also true--grass images with trees.

The scroll you've pictured here is quite nice, however.

"Scale" in a scroll's image is a relative thing. There are several things to consider--

First is overall size of the scroll--it's outside dimensions. A scroll like the one you've pictured is quite large (76" or 6 feet tall) and would overpower in sheer volume all but the largest of bonsai --any bonsai under 36 inches would look kind of lost next to this.

Second, the scale of the image on the scroll itself. There is vastly more flexibility here, especially when the image is a landscape, or when the image is extremely simple--like a single figure or thing. The issue here, again, isn't so much to create a complete "in scale" miniature life-like setting, it is about mood, emotion and interplay between the bonsai and art.

Don't know if you've got this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Bonsai-Kusamono-Suiseki-Willi-Benz/dp/B001N0EN4A

but it is a very good entry into the world of kei do and display.
 
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Redwing

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RW,

The problem with using a tree image with a bonsai is that it is redundant which can potentially overshadow the "main attraction" of the bonsai.

Thank you. That is what I was worried about ,and you've confirmed it.

Tree images in scrolls can be used very successfully with kusamono (grasses, etc.) and the converse is also true--grass images with trees.

Helpful rule indeed, and yes, I can see how that would work. Inspired by a recent trip to Japan, I'll be growing some taller grasses this year for display without accompanying trees, and these would go nicely with such a scroll.

First is overall size of the scroll--it's outside dimensions. A scroll like the one you've pictured is quite large (76" or 6 feet tall) and would overpower in sheer volume all but the largest of bonsai --any bonsai under 36 inches would look kind of lost next to this.

True. With an open entryway with a 15' ceiling, I have the right place in the house for displaying such, but it does limit the trees one can use. Question: have you had success at finding scrolls of other dimensions on ebay? Almost everything I see is of approximately this size.

Don't know if you've got this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Bonsai-Kusamono-Suiseki-Willi-Benz/dp/B001N0EN4A

but it is a very good entry into the world of kei do and display.

I do -- and I agree, some of the displays therein are very nice. I don't agree with everything that Willi says about aesthetics, but there is plenty to be learned from studying that book.

Thanks again for the helpful response,
rw
 

rockm

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"With an open entryway with a 15' ceiling, I have the right place in the house for displaying such, but it does limit the trees one can use. Question: have you had success at finding scrolls of other dimensions on ebay? Almost everything I see is of approximately this size."

I reached a couple of solutions--I grow larger bonsai and I use scrolls as artwork inside by themselves.:D

You have to watch ebay kind of closely for scrolls--I check every few days. The big formal Tokoname size is the most common. But sellers like Katsuragi and others out of Japan sometimes have smaller scrolls available (I've gotten a couple that are 36" - 24." Some of the art in the smaller ones is better than that in the larger ones. Watch for "fan scrolls' which are scrolls made from illustrated Meiji Edo era fans too. These are almost always useable size-wise with bonsai.

I agree about Willi Benz. He can be a bit rigid.
 

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