Placing shohin in the rack


The above illustration shows a standard rack for displaying shohin-bonsai. The rack is called Nanaten Tanakazari in Japanese.

Four parts 

The rack is divided into four parts: Tenba (top of rack), Chudan (middle), Gedan (bottom) and Maeoki or Hanedashi (sub stage) in this classic example of a rack for Shohin. There are other types of racks too, but all with a high point for the main tree, and lower points for additional trees.

Seven elements

Furthermore there are seven positions to place the elements. To obtain harmony of the whole display, the seven elements are a necessity in this example, but a variety of other display stands makes new possible combinations. Don’t use any equal species twice in the display. Also the style and the colour of the pot may not be the same one.
The species and their style and colour, their fruit and their size has to differ, in order to make a well balanced and beautiful display.

The Main tree: Shuboku

This is the most important tree of the display. It is therefore placed on top of the rack, tenba. Because it is viewed best, at this position where it is in eyelevel of the viewer.

At this position it is also easy to obtain the good and bad parts of the tree, and therefore the best tree is placed here.

Assistant tree: Fukuboku

At the sub stage the tree that emphasizes the main tree is placed. It is important to use a tree, which has a good movement.

Assistant, Supporter: Soe

Smallest tree to bee used on the display is the supporter planting.

Other elements

It is possible to replace one of the secondary trees with an ornament or Suiseki. Only the main tree and the assistant tree must not be replaced.

In this example, it is 2,3,4,5 and 7 position at the bottom illustration you can replace.



Judging the trees is mainly focused on well balance and the beautifulness of the whole display.
As in bonsai in general, examining the growing control techniques and training techniques, is always very important.

Number of items

The traditional perception is that only an uneven number of items may be displayed. This is not true although many westerners preach this. As shown in the examples below you also find it possible to display even numbers of items in a Shohin display. The artist decides.

Below examples of Japanese Shohin displays.

shohin-6-b shohin-6 shohin-4