It is currently Thu Nov 23, 2017 7:09 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 9 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Literati or not literati?
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 5:38 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:20 pm
Posts: 494
Location: south of Munich, Germany
I distinguish between classical literati and modern literati.
And where is the naturalistic literati? The traditional literati style is a style by itself and not a form. It is a purely naturalistic style already in the traditional sense. Just think of the line 'there is no rule in literati style other than it has to look good'. The very same apples to the naturalistic style.
Anyway, both show a very long tree with a thin trunk. The form is usually upright, but can well be leaning, cascade, over stone and anything else. It is still in the literati style.
Classical: understatement, not too many curves and kinks, deadwood used very sparsely, quiet, serene appearance, no grotesque trunk movement, Zeny sort of feeling, old, sophisticated and quiet.
Modern: overstatement, showing off with curves, twists, deadwod, often bizarre, enormous movement of trunk that is not considered grotesque anymore.
Examples:

Image
Larch, classical.

Image
Larch, classical, with dead twin trunk.

Image
Scots pine, modern with abstract crown. I will reduce the foliage mass considerably this coming summer.

Image
Sabina juniper, modern. Part of the crown is virtual to show the future.

Image
Deciduous tree as literati. European field elm, modern.

Image
Silver birch, dancing birch, very naturalistic.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:36 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:11 am
Posts: 6469
Location: Michigan USA
There is something about the Sabina juniper in a "modern Literati" style that is fascinating, haunting, and invoking. From the twisted and wild jin right down to the unusual House Leeks (Sempervivum) growing at the base, this tree is certainly unique.
Literati? Yes.

Will


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:53 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:18 pm
Posts: 56
Location: Upstate New York
Good place to start this discussion.
So trees you want to call Literati do not fit accepted values what to do?
Create your own category. Call it Modern Literati. Make your own definition. It is a great idea, but it does not make the Sabina a Literati for me. I like the Bonsai very much, but it is NOT a Literati except by definitions designed to include it. Please explain the thought behind the conclusion that this Bonsai is in any way a Literati.
Mark


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:11 am
Posts: 6469
Location: Michigan USA
First and foremost, I would like to thank Mark Arpag for orginally suggesting this idea of indepth discussions of Literati. His mention of the idea lead to my recent article on Literati posted here at AoB and also this idea to have people write and post segments concerning what is Literati or not. Walter was the first to follow through on this idea and the post above is a direct result of it.
Thanks Mark, excellent idea!

Will


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:11 am
Posts: 6469
Location: Michigan USA
Mark Arpag wrote:
......but it does not make the Sabina a Literati for me. I like the Bonsai very much, but it is NOT a Literati except by definitions designed to include it. Please explain the thought behind the conclusion that this Bonsai is in any way a Literati.

Mark,
I did quite a bit of research on the Literati style for the article I recently wrote, "A Brief Exploration of the Literati Style" posted at http://www.artofbonsai.org/feature_arti ... terati.php and after studying almost every word wrote on the subject from Naka back to "The Mustard Seed Garden Painting Manual" I came to the same conclusion that many others have, there is no precise definition of Literati. Other styles can be defined and categorized, Literati can not be pigeonholed so easily.
Some of the considerations I gave in the article when creating a Literati may help a bit, these few certainly apply to Walters Sabina...
Taper. It is often said that taper is not an important consideration in Literati, but this is untrue in most cases. As with all trees taper plays an important role in the overall visual effect and in perspective.
Trunk. Emphasis should always be on the trunk, the viewer must see the trunk and the trunk must be the center of the design.
Feminine in nature, the Literati should have the appearance of a slim, graceful trunk, but yet still speak of refined age.
Foliage on a Literati should be sparse, speaking of a life of etching out survival against the elements. Lush, overabundant foliage should be avoided. The foliage should be enough to support the tree, but with plenty of empty space.
The design should be three-dimensional, Literati bonsai need the depth given by a good "in the round" design. The pots we use for Literati are usually small, somewhat shallow, and often round, all of which work very well for a bonsai designed in the round.
Certainly Walter's Sabina fits well into each consideration above.
I also stated in my article that there are no rules or even guidelines for the overall form of Literati, no branch placement rules, and no formula on how to twist and bend the trunk. The Literati's final image should speak of grace, elegance, balance, and form. It is the final image only that will tell if the design is successful.
I think the final image of Walter's Sabina tells the tale, the design is successful, it certainly fits most of the qualifications for Literati....maybe it would be easier if you explained the thoughts behind your conclusion that this Bonsai is in any way not a Literati?
Will


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:18 am 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:20 pm
Posts: 494
Location: south of Munich, Germany
Mark Arpag wrote:
Good place to start this discussion.
So trees you want to call Literati do not fit accepted values what to do?
Create your own category. Call it Modern Literati. Make your own definition. It is a great idea, but it does not make the Sabina a Literati for me. I like the Bonsai very much, but it is NOT a Literati except by definitions designed to include it. Please explain the thought behind the conclusion that this Bonsai is in any way a Literati.
Mark

Mark,
yes, that 's exactly what happened. That's what 's happening in art all the time. The minute you think the categories are clear someone comes up with something that does not fit and then categories are rearranged. And then some want to keep the old ones and some want to be liberal. This is how the art world works. Artists constantly work on the edge of tradition and push the envelope to create a new tradition or a new version - much to the dismay of fundamatalists. And that this is now a common thing in the world of bonsai only proves that bonsai has finally arrived in the world of art.
Modern bonsai in general is radically different from classical bonsai.
Classical: understantement, less is more, mainly or only well-known forms, very little usage of deadwood, no radical movements of trunks or branches, nothing radical anyway, zen-feelling, wabi sabi and such, abstract trees, which rarely look like in nature, but they give a natural FEELING, establishment (dwindling), still mainstream in America, old-fashioned and boring to modernists, for folks who value tradition highly, who think that it is the DUTY of the artist (or ratreh craftsman) to hold up tradition.
Modern: overstatement, showing off, new forms, lots of deadwood, often more than 80% of the whole tree, radical movements all over the place, the more the better, partial tanukis adding deadwood, new pots or rather containers, no such thing as zen-feeling, touch of man is visible all over, artistry going to artificial, more sculptues than trees, even more abstract than classical, looks like of platic, like from another star, have given up to have a naturual feeling, avant-guarde, mainstream in Europe.; Hollywood bonsai; hair raising and dsigusting to clasical bonsaiists; for folks who belive that it is the DUTY of an artist to challenge tradition.
These are, of course strong generalizations and polarizations. To make the point clear. Most trees fall somewhere in between. And it is also folks who fall in between. But a tendency is visible, clearly all over the world. From this tradition it becomes clear that it is almost impossible to have a civilized discussion among the two directions. Well, almost. I think this what makes AoB so special that it should be possible here.
According to this definition of classcial vs. modern bonsai style one can find examples of every form in either style. The sabina juniper to me fits well into the modern style defintion. The form is literati, the feeling is modern.
Don't like this definiton? Well, find a better one.
Don't like modern bonsai? Well, this is an entirely different matter then. One can hate something, but one still has to accept that it exists and there is a defintiion for it.
Walter


Last edited by Walter Pall on Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:14 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:18 pm
Posts: 56
Location: Upstate New York
Will,
I enjoyed your article very much. It is a subject that begs further study and exploration. Thank you for accepting the challenge.
In regard to the points you made about the Sabina, some I agree with others not. Overall, the feeling is not Literati for me.
With taper less is generally better, but proportion to the trunk is more so. The Sabina's taper is fine in a Literati sense.
The trunk and its movement are important. The Sabina has great trunk movement but the repeating coiling effect at the top is too symeterical for Literati.
I like your approach to a femine feeling all though not all Literati have a femine feel. The Sabina clearly does. It has been said that the feeling of a Literati is the most important element. The Sabina is very refined, too refined for Literati in my eyes.
The sparce foliage is there but the space it occupies is overly expansive for a Literati. Also, the jins are very well done and artistically presented but it visually massive and too complex for Literati.
The use of an oval pot further enhances the broad image which does not create a Literati feeling for me.
Walter,
The image you created is very interesting and well designed. I enjoy it.
It fits the description you created, "Modern Literati". The overall feeling created is not Literati. For me the spirit of Literati is the most important and pretty much what you say is "Modern Literati is the opposite of Literati.
It would be more accurate to call it "Anti-Literati" The overall feeling you are hoping to achieve is the opposite of Literati.
Some of the elements could be included in Literati design and still achieve
a true Literati feeling.
Challenging tradition to expand is natural, but when it is counter to the spirit it should be called something else.
I do not hate this Bonsai at all, it is exceptional just NOT Literati.
Mark


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:23 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:18 pm
Posts: 56
Location: Upstate New York
The Scots Pine has the feeling of a Literati for me and not "Modern Literati".
Reducing the crown will further enhance this image.
I do not get a hollywood bonsai feeling and the radical bends do not conflict inherently with good Literati design. The deadwood is not out of character or unnatural feeling and is integral to the design and not clearly man made.
The essence of Literati is met not assaulted.
Literati? Yes.
Mark


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:27 pm 
Offline
Editor

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:13 am
Posts: 1190
Location: Los Angeles, California
This collection is a very good mix of Literati examples.
The first two larches are perfect examples of Classic Literati. It clearly shows that Walter knows exactly how to capture that spirit.
The Sabina is a great trend-setter for the new form that Walter just coined "Modern Literati". I agree with Mark that the feeling that it creates is almost opposite to the two larches that I've mentioned.
The first two, especially the single larch, is rugged, sparse, masculine, struggling, barren. The sabina is playful, happy, feminine, elegant, stylish, floating in the space, just like a ballet-dancer. But I still see it as literati, though very different from the traditional one. I find the term "Modern Literati" very fitting for it. How'bout "Neo-Literati", or "Post-Literati"? Modern Literati may not be fitting 10 years from now, but Neo-Literati can be used forever. :)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Forum locked This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 9 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
cron
Copyright 2006-2008 The Art of Bonsai Project.
All rights reserved.
Original MSSimplicity Theme created by Matt Sims © 2004
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group