How to display Bonsai trees

How to display Bonsai trees

Bonsai Display – The Basics. So first of all, let’s talk
about size categorization. There are three basic size categories that you’ll find
at the Kokufu-ten, or the Japanese National Exhibition. The first of these is Ogata bonsai. These are trees that are
well above 45cm in height measured from the top of
the pot, to the top of the tree. These are typically displayed in
what’s known as a two-point display meaning that you have the
large tree, the main bonsai and next to it you have an accent plant
displayed with it – that gives you your two points. The second size category that you’ll find at the
Kokufu-ten is the Chuuhin size, or medium size bonsai. These are trees that measure in
height from about 30cm to 45cm as measured again from the top
of the pot to the apex of the tree. These are typically arranged in
a San-Ten Kazari, or three-point display which a Chuuhin bonsai,
a Shohin bonsai off to the side and an accent plant in the middle,
giving you your three points. The third and final size category
that you’ll find at the Kokufu-ten are Shohin bonsai, which are under 20cm tall again, measured from the top
of the pot, to the apex of the tree. These are typically displayed
in either three-point displays similar to the San-Ten Kazari
with the Chuuhin trees or more typically what you’ll see is a seven-point
display with six bonsai, and one accent plant. Now that we understand the basic size
categories that you’ll find at the Kokufu-ten let’s head into the workshop and try to
set a few of these displays up on our own. Before we begin setting up a display, we need
to have an arrangement of display stands so that we can pick and choose just
the right one depending on the tree. Now obviously you want to have
a mix of sizes, shapes, and colors so that when we start to build particularly
the Chuuhin and Shohin size displays we have enough elements to choose from,
so that nothing is the same in the display. In other words, we want every element
within the display to be completely different. Let’s take a look at this display
stand in particular to begin with. This is a very typical display stand that you’ll find
in any arsenal at any professional nursery in Japan and it’s one that I recommend
that all of you get because it’s a very versatile,
very universally usable stand. The style is known as Sangi,
which refers to these elements here the slats that are running along
the front side of the stand. You can utilize this type of display
stand for both feminine, dainty trees and masculine, heavy,
powerful trees at the same time. The element along the front here,
the Sangi that we just mentioned that gives you some added visual stability when you’re placing a tree that’s quite
heavy and powerful on this type of stand. And that same element also brings out the
dainty characteristics or feminine characteristics in softer, more feminine style trees. So it’s a very very versatile stand to use. The straightness of the legs as well,
provides a visual stability for heavier trees and also doesn’t detract from
more feminine plants either. Next, let’s take a look at
this stand in the middle. Now obviously this stand varies slightly from the
original stand that we looked at in several ways. First and foremost is the color. The color of this stand obviously
is a more reddish color. It’s not as dark and formal as the
original stand that we looked at here. It also has a floating top which
gives it a much softer, more dainty feel. So with a particular stand like this you wouldn’t
necessarily want to put a super heavy duty tree on it something that’s planted
on a rock for example that’s going to feel like it’s crushing that
upper floating level down onto the legs. We want something that has
a little bit less heaviness to it. That doesn’t mean you can’t put a
masculine tree on a stand like this, but it needs to be balanced in a way where
it doesn’t feel like it’s crushing the stand. Also, take a look at the legs here. Instead of being completely straight,
going straight down onto the table itself the legs actually bow underneath, giving it
a much more dainty, kind of feminine look. Now again, that doesn’t mean you can’t
use a masculine tree on a stand like this you just have to find the right tree so
it doesn’t take away from the stand feel like it’s crushing the stand, or overpowering
the stand, when you build your display. Next let’s take a look at this
stand on my right, your left. Now this particular stand is
very interesting in several ways. First and foremost again, let’s
take a look at the difference in color. Again, the original stand is very dark. The
middle stand here is a lightish brown color. This stand off to my right here is really between the original
two stands in terms of its color. It’s kind of a darkish red color not as dark as our black color here,
not as light as the stand in the middle. The legs are also quite different
than the original two stands. It has kind of a bowed effect to the
legs coming directly out of the stand and then they bow out at the very bottom,
giving it a nice sense of balance. This type of stand would work
very well with a feminine style tree something that has some
curvature to the trunk as well to really draw or complement
those lines within the tree. Now that being said, you could also
use a tree that’s very contrasted to those legs as well,
something with very straight lines. Just because the stand itself has those characteristics,
doesn’t mean that you have to mimic those all the time. Sometimes contrast works quite well. So we can even put a tree on here
that was a formal upright tree perhaps but it would have to be just the
right tree, with just the right size so again it doesn’t feel like
it’s overpowering the stand and also not losing out to the stand either. There needs to be a balance in terms
of size and weight of the tree versus the size and weight of the stand. Now down here in the front you can
see that we have several smaller stands. We have on both sides here Shohin size stands so these would be perfect for use
in the seven-point Shohin display the three-point Shohin display, or for the Shohin plant
in a three-point medium size or Chuuhin display. Again, take a look at the characteristics of
each of these stands – they’re slightly different. The stand on my right, your left here
has bamboo characteristics to it. Around the outer edge of the upper layer
of the stand, the tabletop of the stand are carved areas that
mimic the joints in bamboo. The same motif can be
found throughout the legs and throughout the braces
underneath the tabletop of the stand. This stand is obviously
very unique, very beautiful very intricate and very detailed so we would want to place a tree on here, again, that
either complements or contrasts with those elements. Now let’s contrast that
stand on my right, your left with this stand on my left, your right. Now they’re both Shohin stands, but
they’re slightly different in appearance. The stand on my left here is a
much lower, more weighty stand The legs again, they bow out
directly underneath the base and then they fan out at the bottom,
so it gives a nice stability to the stand. It’s also quite low, so this would be a very
good stand for something that’s kind of heavy say for example, an informal
upright Japanese black pine maybe located at the very top of
the box in a seven-point display. Now we’re going to get into the
details of that in a few minutes here so you understand exactly what I’m talking about but this type of stand works really
well for heavier, weightier trees particularly very masculine Shohin trees. If you take a look here
in the center of this table we have what are known as Jita, or flat stands. Now these exist in several iterations. We have natural slabs that are taken from
burls that have been spliced down. We also have hand made slabs here
that are in more geometric shapes. These can be used in a number of capacities
in Ogata, Chuuhin and Shohin displays. For example in an Ogata or large bonsai display we mentioned earlier that those are
typically set up in a two-point arrangement with the large bonsai and an accent
plant displayed off to the side. This Jita right here, this
large one in the front would work very well for that accent plant
set off to the side in a two-point display. What we want to avoid is placing any element
within the display directly on the table itself. So placing an accent plant
on a Jita such as this delineates that accent plant from the table and gives you a sense of display that’s concise,
has balance with the larger bonsai off to the side. In a Chuuhin or medium size
display with three elements or San-Ten Kazari that we mentioned earlier any of these smaller Jita throughout here
would work well for the accent plant as well. Also, the original Jita that we
talked about here, the larger one that would work perhaps well with a
Shohin tree displayed off to the side. In other words, you could have your
medium size tree on a table like this you could have your Shohin
tree on a larger Jita like this and then the accent plant that’s
located in the center of the display could be displayed on any number
of the remaining smaller Jita. That way each element again within the display is on its own individual stand, and
delineated from the table itself. With regards to Shohin display again, any of these elements
could be used throughout the display. Again for example, the larger Jita here could be used to display one of the smaller
Shohin within the larger box display. The Jita here, the smaller
ones off to the side could be used for the accent plant that gives
us that seventh element within the display. And these could be used in
any number of combinations. Again, we need to keep in mind that each
element within the display needs to be different and that includes all of the stands
and Jita we use throughout. So if we use say a natural
slab Jita like this one here if we display an accent plant off to the side ideally we’d want to use one of the geometric
shaped Jita that are located right here. That way each element
within the display is different. The final type of display stand that we need
to talk about is the Shohin box stand which is what I have
here to my left, your right. Now this particular type of
stand fits five trees internally one at the top, one on each of the
layers down below which gives you five then off to the side here we have a Jita. You can use a natural slab like this or you can use a more
geometric shape, either is fine. On this Jita we will display one
more bonsai and an accent plant which gives you that sixth and seventh
point for the seven-point display. Now that we’ve discussed the
characteristics of some of the display tables that we utilize in contemporary bonsai display let’s build an Ogata, a Chuuhin and a Shohin
display to solidify these concepts.

19 thoughts on “How to display Bonsai trees

  1. Wonderful 👍👍👍👍👍👍🙋🏻🙋🏻🍀🍀🌸🌹🌸🍀🍀🍀👍👍many greetings to you 👍🍀🍀🙋🏻🙋🏻🌸🌸🌹

  2. I look forward to your videos like a kid on Christmas! Thank you very much for giving back to the Bonsai community with your wealth of information. Sending 正の周波数 your way.

  3. One day, when I have a bonsai tree that actually looks like a bonsai tree, I will concern myself with these super high level bonsai techniques. Until then…back to digging up crap!

  4. Hi, I live in southern Finland so it's quite wet all year around and about 17-26 degrees celcius in the summer here. I have a 1 year old Norway Maple and a couple of 2-3 years old Scots Pines that I collected last spring. Do you think 1/2 acadama and 1/2 sphagnum moss would be a good soil mix for the trees? or should I use something different?

  5. Muhteşem bilgiler için teşekkürler. Türkiye'den selamlar.👏👏🇹🇷🇹🇷

  6. Good displaying our bonsai will make bonsai more beautifull…
    Good information about how to display our bonsai.

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