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artofbonsai.org • View topic - Defining Literati Style
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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:38 am 
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Posts: 30
Location: Rochester, New York USA
The Ginkgo bonsai Colin posted is, in my opinion:

Formal upright style (Trunk shape)
Broom stye (Feeling, branches)
Literati (Feeling, elegant, light open and airy)
Single tree style (Method of planting)

However, I am quick to point out that when in leaf, this Ginkgo bonsai would not be considered a literati style...

Bill

So, it is incorrect to "only" classify this bonsai as a:

Broom style
or
Formal upright style
or
Literati style
or
Single tree style

Each of these classifications depends on many factors, and "most" people usually just classify the bonsai as what is the most prominent feature (focal point). Note that I did not list a focal point for this bonsai, since I don't see one.


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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:40 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:18 am 
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Another reason why I would not calassify the broomstyle Ginko as a literati is the absence of age. The tree can under favourable conditions still develop into a normal broomstyle as Vance observed in nature.
To me an excellent literati tree reminds of a geriatric, not a juvenile. Everything that can contribute to the impression of age such as old bark is a plus. The juvenile can still accomodate new growth where the true geriatric literati cannot grow vigorously again without either falling over or breaking a branch. It must give the impression that "this is as far as I can grow"


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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:01 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:44 am 
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So at this point it can be said that the Literati must be, or appear to be, old. I think I agree with this but I'm sure someone else will prove me wrong.

Outside of that parameter there are some physical traits that seem to make the form identifiable as Literati.

1.) Slender trunk

2.) Austere branching

3.) Sparse foliage

4.) Appearance of age

Any others?


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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:33 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:16 pm 
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Location: Mexico, Merida


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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:10 pm 
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OK, let's put it this way. If you had to describe a Literati to someone who had never seen one, or seen a picture of one how would you start? Try, if you can, to avoid things like feelings, because these are relative, not subjective and make the listener assign something ethereal to an object they are trying to gain a substantive realization for.

Having completed that task, how would you define or describe a good Literati from a bad one? Is there such a thing? Is it just opinion or is there something that makes it more or less universally identifiable?


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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:38 pm 
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Thats easy Vance, the answer is, you can not, you can only describe one particular tree. That, you can do quite well. Like describing Colin§s literati. But you cannot described the entire "style", the moment you do, you will always find one that breaks away from what ever norm has been set.
As for a good literati from a bad literati. Ummm thats not so easy. It is sort of a personal judgement. As such it depends much on the knowledge of the person. By knowledge I dont mean a text book type of knowledge, but the type you get from observation from either nature or other bonsai. That is the same as to ask what is a good or bad bonsai period. Who will judge? my guess it is that only time will judge, those pictures of good bonsai that will be remember and will always be regarded as good bonsai, will mean that they were good know and in the future. Those that are forgoten, probably were not so good. But thats my thought on the subject. An example of this. Well is all over, just grab any book of bonsai from the 60, 70, 80 etc and you will find lots of trees that can hardly be called bonsai. But there are some that even today are good bonsai. Examples can be found, in books like Kimura, who would not want one of his trees today!


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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:40 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:23 pm 
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Location: Michigan USA
So, we are back to a dream, a vision?


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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:24 pm 
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Posts: 56
Location: Upstate New York
Must we create a" build a Literati check list" to humor those without a clue or the desire to find one?
Many of the fine points of Literati are contrary to what is expected and accepted by most Bonsaist as of being of value.One example which comes to mind is the appreciation of imperfection. If you believe that perfect Bonsai are the summit of achievement, how can it be possible that imperfection can be elevated in Literati appreciation? Those that are looking for the obvious will not be receptive to anything of greater importance.

Mark


Last edited by Mark Arpag on Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:31 pm 
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Last edited by Mike Page on Wed Nov 19, 2008 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:01 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Defining Literati Style
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 5:12 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 12:20 pm
Posts: 494
Location: south of Munich, Germany
Sorry to not participate in this debate with words. I think it is not as important as many seem to think to define styles rigidly. I rather do bonsai and don't care too much how someone wants to classify them. This one I usually refer to as a broadleaved literati.
I agree to Bill's thoughts. It is about feeling and not about form. This gives me what I see as literati feeling although it is a broadleved tree. Which may be very different from what mainstream feels. Or not?
Some thoughts?

It is a European field elm, Ulmus campestre, 50 cm high and around 40 years old.

Walter


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