Displaying Shohin-bonsai

"Displaying Shohin-bonsai at SHOHIN BONSAI FAIR “the 19th Shuga-ten” held in Tokyo, JAPAN". A formal and traditional Japanese display using the pot colours to underline the beauty of the season, still adding peace and simplicity to the display. The top tree is a traditional conifer with a red-brown unglazed pot. The secondary tree at the right with its green glazed colour keeps colours to the display both down toned and not very expressive. The other trees fill in and supplements the two leading bonsai in tone and colours. Formal set up but still working well. Making these displays using more than two bonsai often demands some conifers and earth coloured unglazed pots to tone down the expression.

The featured images are from the SHOHIN BONSAI FAIR “the 19th Shuga-ten” held in Tokyo, JAPAN, kindly supported by the Japanese Shohin-bonsai Association.

Now the display section of the website here is almost updated and reconstructed from the original website. The final transfers of material will be done within this week.

Displaying bonsai may be my foremost interest at the time, watching so many attempts of alternative displays to the original. I often wonder why there are so many experiments with displays when we have an opportunity to learn and develop from an old beautiful art form. The original way of displaying is so beautiful that it is impossible seeing alternatives with the same expression of peace, harmony, simplicity and beauty.

Shohin-bonsai and bonsai has an almost spiritual approach when displayed right. With the word right I do not think of rules and measures, but the feeling transferred to the viewer with a  display that impresses in the silent way bonsai art do.

There are plenty of attempts to make shortcuts with little or opposite effect. Set-ups with colourful sunsets on posters and arrangements in surroundings attracting more attention than the bonsai display, and I wonder why? maybe because we think it is easier to do so, eventing a home-made display style, rather than seeking the knowledge necessary to understand a little of the aesthetics behind the original way of displaying. maybe because it is more difficult to learn and adapt, than event and let loose the amateur creativity inside many of us? The answer my friend, may blow in the exhibition winds of major exhibitions that do not take the original display style in their concept.

Luckily some bigger exhibition organizers do see the beauty of the original concept and adapts the  way of displaying into their concepts of the exhibition. There is no need to fully copy the Japanese way, but having the basics in mind will help and evolve the art tremendously I believe.

"Displaying Shohin-bonsai at SHOHIN BONSAI FAIR “the 19th Shuga-ten” held in Tokyo, JAPAN". A lively display, avoiding the unglazed earth toned pots/conifers. Possible, therefore fewer trees are shown in order not to overdo the colourful display and keep peace and simplicity. No conifers as normally seen, but a bright feast of the season. In the typical display with two bonsai and an accent (or other object) often the need of a conifer is not necessary, so more freedom is available without making a colourful mess so to speak.

There are plenty of opportunities displaying with the traditional display in mind, avoiding overloaded features and a colourful mess, still being very creative and innovative.  Just keep in mind what bonsai is about.

Therefore I have made the section on this website with the aim of expanding knowledge of the original display. Not telling anyone to follow the guidelines rigidly, just as a source of inspiration for those who appreciate the aesthetics of the original display as a basic platform for new explorations and development.

0 thoughts on “Displaying Shohin-bonsai”

  1. Excellent article Morten,lets hope people will “look and learn”
    P.S. Good luck with your new shop in 2012.

    Regards Bob

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