The shaping of
a small shohin-bonsai has some ground rules that doesn’t
differ from the shaping of bigger bonsai. But there also
are some significant aesthetic and different considerations
to take in mind. One is the use of the scalene triangle.
(non-symmetrical) triangle is thumbs rule in all aspects
of forming a bonsai.
shohin-bonsai styling I find the scalene triangle often is a
must, in order to make the right movement between trees
setup in a display.
exhibited Shohin will also get much more life if they are
shaped with this rule in the back of your head.
the scalene triangle is a tool. This tool is to be used when
it is useful. Not all trees will look natural or do need
fully the use of the scalene triangle tool. But it is very
good to have in mind when a tree is styled.
scalene triangles in every kind of natural shapes. A
completely oval crown on a tree is non-existing in raw
nature. If not influenced by human clipping and forming the
tree, it will not be seen.
triangle comes from nature, and in order to bring
naturalness into our bonsai, we have to use this rule of
As an example
one can take a walk in an older English garden or anywhere
else, and take a look at the nicely and beautiful formed
Boxwood, Yews, or other trees, that are formed with
precision in pretty round or square forms.
are just to make the point, that these shapes are not
natural. They are beautiful in the way they are used as
artistic element of a designed garden, but they will not fit
in the world of bonsai where naturalness is the aim.
Nature is by
itself using the scalene triangle that creates harmony and
peace for the eye to view. Therefore, bonsai has to be
transformed this way, to reflect nature and naturalness.
Making the bonsai
look like a tree
The small tree
in the pot has to make an illusion of a big tree. The
disappearing point when standing on ground and looking up,
for example on a high building, will make the building seem
smaller at the top. The same technique is used in bonsai.
The tree getting thinner and narrower from bottom to top
creates the illusion, as was one standing at the food of a
The base being
wider than the top of the tree also helps to tell the story
of a mature and stabile tree.
triangle makes the picture look natural. Like when you look
at a building turning your head a bit, and the walls seems
to converge. This is a cue that is necessary to implement in
bonsai, in order to make the tree look natural and big.
important naturalness in bonsai is not reached by precisely
to shape the tree by exactly following the lines of the
scalene triangle. It is the roughly points of the triangle
that you have to be aware of. The branches between may reach
out or be shorter than the lines between the points of the
scalene triangle, but you will not be uncertain about when
it is present, when you first are aware of it.
another effect of the scalene triangle in bonsai. Because of
the angle the scalene triangle produces in our vision of the
tree, greater age is transformed into the tree and age is an
important part in the creating of bonsai.