hello again. it has been more than a week since my last post but it feels like longer. now that school is out, summer in Portland has just appeared out of nowhere and we are now getting 75-80 degree days and the heat is slowly rising. after an uncomfortably wet spring and no time to adjust to the newly arrived heat, business at the Japanese Garden has exploded and the people are streaming in.
The Garden is hosting an exhibit on netsuke. these are small, golf ball sized ivory figures that one would use every day as a toggle to secure a purse or bag to their kimono.
since kimono don't have pockets, and men's have elbow-length sleeves, the Japanese merchants had to find a solution for carrying their personal belongings. a 3-5 tiered narrow box, able to hold herbal medicine and tobacco, was attached to the netsuke by string and one would slip the ivory toggle under their belts so it would not fall out.
i find these little things fascinating because they're not like porcelain figures you would display in your house to collect dust. these were ornate and detailed items one would use and wear EVERY DAY to stroll around town.
what does this have to do with bonsai? I'm not quite sure yet. i get exited about things like this so i thought i would share with the rest of you. maybe it's the fact that netsuke, like bonsai and so many other things, are personal. they're yours forever and only you get to enjoy it.
netsuke were custom carved one-of-a-kind pieces made by professional carvers. the buyer/wearer would ask for a custom piece to be made after is profession or zodiac sign or any other good luck sign. netsuke were like tattoos. they were yours forever and only you knew how special they were. bonsai are the same thing because only you can take care of your plant. only you can truly enjoy how significant it is. only you can care so much about such a valuable item that you carry with you for the rest of your life.
- Portland, Oregon, United States
- I have 15 formal Bonsai trees ranging from 5-25 yrs old which include conifers, deciduous', tropicals, and shrubs. i try and buy one of everything and i dig up whatever i can find. if you want to get into bonsai quickly, find the book call POP BONSAI by Lisa Tajima. go out and buy a little rosemary shrub, prune it down and expose the branches and you're on your way.