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Defining Literati Style
http://www.artofbonsai.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2686
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Author:  Vance Wood [ Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

Again we are facing vague ideas trying to evoke feelings. Far be it from me to disagree with Mr. Naka, but the statement you quote is as vague as anything we have discussed so far. It assumes that there is some sort of standard for a form we are having difficulty assigning standards to that go beyond feelings. I am not saying that this is wrong, it is just not enough. It leaves us in the same place we were in before we started this discussion.

Maybe we should start by putting forth some ideas that we have concerning the physical aspect of the Literati style only, and leave the (more important) concepts of the metaphysical to the side for now. Perhaps if we can agree as to form we can eventually come to some sort of agreement as to function.

Author:  Attila Soos [ Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

Will Heath wrote:
In theory this sounds feasible, however in reality, I have been unable to find a single example of a masculine literati. Is there an example I missed that you are basing your conclusion on?


Will
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Author:  Attila Soos [ Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

Will Heath wrote:
Attila Soos wrote:
And, regarding the discussion before, I totally disagree that a literati style has to be feminine. It can just as well be masculine: a trunk line with jagged, strong movements (zig-zag) is very masculine in nature. A trunk line with soft curves is feminine in nature. Literati can be both. I do agree, however, that most of the literati trees are feminine.


In theory this sounds feasible, however in reality, I have been unable to find a single example of a masculine literati. Is there an example I missed that you are basing your conclusion on?


Will


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Author:  Colin Lewis [ Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

Richard Patefield wrote:
Thanks for your response. Is the 'feel' of a tree you are referring to distinct from the 'feeling' in the viewer? ...


The viewer has to be aware of the feel of the tree, certainly. Whether or not that is the same as experiencing the feeling depends on factors such as the relative success of the artist in his attempt to communicate that feeling and the viewer's susceptibility to receiving it.

Richard Patefield wrote:
What do you think of the idea that the expressive element in bunjin is located in the 'arrangement of parts', as J.Y. Naka seems to say? ...


Absolutely correct, but not exclusively so: the nature of the parts is also a critical factor.

Naka also stated that (I paraphrase) the more you look at literati the more understand it, which seems to support my contention that the only true way to define literati, or the metaphors used in its description, is via visual references to what are good, what are poor, what are almost and what are not literati.

Author:  Vance Wood [ Thu Nov 13, 2008 3:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

Colin Lewis wrote:
Richard Patefield wrote:
Thanks for your response. Is the 'feel' of a tree you are referring to distinct from the 'feeling' in the viewer? ...


The viewer has to be aware of the feel of the tree, certainly. Whether or not that is the same as experiencing the feeling depends on factors such as the relative success of the artist in his attempt to communicate that feeling and the viewer's susceptibility to receiving it.

Richard Patefield wrote:
What do you think of the idea that the expressive element in bunjin is located in the 'arrangement of parts', as J.Y. Naka seems to say? ...


Absolutely correct, but not exclusively so: the nature of the parts is also a critical factor.

Naka also stated that (I paraphrase) the more you look at literati the more understand it, which seems to support my contention that the only true way to define literati, or the metaphors used in its description, is via visual references to what are good, what are poor, what are almost and what are not literati.


Who makes those determinations, and on what grounds? Respectfully; we are still talking around the form and avoiding the actual shape of the tree.

Author:  Will Heath [ Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

Colin Lewis wrote:
Hell's teeth Will, those aren't guidelines, their rules!

Literati are all feminine
Most, probably, some more than others.

Literati all take minimalism to the extreme
No, that would be a dead tree. And you certainly couldn't say that about Mike's black pine.

Literati all place the emphasis on the trunk.
Yes they do, in common with the titles or guidelines most other bonsai styles.

Other than that, you're off to a good start.


Thank you.

I think we have swayed from the central point over the last page or two and are attempting to grasp the air, instead of understanding how we use it. While there are exceptions to every rule, such exceptions do not dismiss the rule.

We have seen a few examples of Literati presented against the arguement that Literati are inherently feminine.

Colin, I hope you do not mind....

Image
Bonsai by Colin Lewis hotlinked from http://www.colinlewisbonsai.com/gallery ... ine-1.html

In the above example I see soft, graceful curves....the "stairway to heaven" foliage pads are lush, soft, and also graceful......taper exists, but it takes a long time to come.......the container is soft, curved....however the bark, nebari, and exteme bend at the top lends some harshness to what I see as an otherwise feminine presentation.

Author:  Attila Soos [ Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

Will Heath wrote:

We have seen a few examples of Literati presented against the arguement that Literati are inherently feminine.



A few more:

http://sidiao.myweb.hinet.net/2004htm/p59.htm

http://sidiao.myweb.hinet.net/2007htm/p18.htm

Author:  Colin Lewis [ Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

Will Heath wrote:
Colin, I hope you do not mind....

In the above example I see soft, graceful curves....the "stairway to heaven" foliage pads are lush, soft, and also graceful....


Will, Of course I don't mind. And it's good we disagree. I don't see graceful curves, I see a boney, rigid trunk with strength and vigorous, almost frantic movement. Perhaps our differences lie not in our perception of what is feminine, but our perception of the character of this particular tree? On the other hand, perhaps this tree is neither feminine or masculine - or is both.

Author:  Colin Lewis [ Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

Vance Wood wrote:
Who makes those determinations, and on what grounds?


Not I, Sir, certainly not I. Perhaps an extensive gallery with a voting system or questionnaire?

Vance Wood wrote:
Respectfully; we are still talking around the form and avoiding the actual shape of the tree.


Because literati can be any shape.
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This single tree is kabudachi, fukinagashi, and han-kengai with a literati thrown in. The whole is also literati. These are styles, though, not shape. How would you describe the shape of this tree?

Author:  Vance Wood [ Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

I think we are at a point in this discussion where the idea of winning an argument/discussion has to be abandoned for the sake of evidential truth.

I see your point with this tree and I agree it can be three styles at the same time but If I had to put it into a single category it would be Literati. The question is why? In my mind the things that make it Literati far out-weigh the things that make it anything else.

Author:  Louis Nel [ Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

Vance, you are absolutely correct when you say that a broom style tree cannot be classified as a literati, you have humbled me.
Thanks to Bill who is obviously a good word mechanic for showing that the trunk is of utmost importance to help create a feeling of a literati bonsai, from upright to full cascade.
I also agree with Vance that conifers are the ideal material to create literati bonsai. In my part of the world we use very little conifers for bonsai. I have come accross a few decidious and flowering literati.

Author:  Morten Albek [ Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

:-)

Morten

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Author:  Colin Lewis [ Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

Vance Wood wrote:
I see your point with this tree and I agree it can be three styles at the same time but If I had to put it into a single category it would be Literati. The question is why? In my mind the things that make it Literati far out-weigh the things that make it anything else.


I absolutely agree, each trunk and the composition as a whole present the character or 'feel' of literati.

The previous tree, which Will sees as feminine and I see as masculine was offered somewhat with tongue in cheek, since I think it is too masculine, too powerful to qualify as literati at all.

Now... is this tree literati?
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Author:  Louis Nel [ Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

I se above tree as a broom style with a few branches, not literati.

Author:  Will Heath [ Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Defining Literati Style

After a few days of research, I have come to the conclusion that the terms masculinity and femininity, though used often in the context of art, are not really understood at all in that context. Many say that to be feminine, an object must have traits commonly associated with women, but fail to list such traits. Being highly subjective, they are of little use at all in defining literati for us.

The absense of other defining factors to date for Literati leaves us with

Minimalism
Empasis on the trunk


as we have intelligently eliminated femininity as a qualification.



Will

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