There was an important international event at Crespi Bonsai Parabiago. I like to decide on things at the last minute which of course is great for me, but I need to get my head round the fact that not everyone is as free and available as I am, so sometimes it’s difficult to find company. However on Sunday I was really lucky. Mind you there was a bit of difficulty hooking up with my friend, my tomtom wanted me to go to church, to crash barriers and generally behave badly! In the end I called her and she came and rescued me! The amazing thing was that the gps had got me about 500 metres from our meeting place. Off to Crespi’s. It was a special day: the guided tour round the museum was offered free, so we took it and Attilio showed us the intricacies of this extraordinary discipline which combines horticultural techniques and art. The extreme care they take to match the vases which are an essential part of the whole experience, to the essence. There are two different strands running through the world of bonsai. The classic stance which emphasises the “tree-ness” according to Zen ideas, or the more modern one which is not necessarily botanically correct but the artistic qualities are underlined and there is a sense of work -in- progress, an unfinished oeuvre .There’s a kind of running diatribe between bonsai buffs and the tender -hearted people who see the art as cruelty, but I believe the profound love which first caused men to miniaturize these trees in order not to be parted from them while journeying, or to take nature inside a temple, does a lot to offset this kind of criticism. The idea of family, of continuity is very strong, they are passed from father to son through the hundreds of years they live. In fact the chef d’oevre in the museum is a group of one -thousand -year-old trees. I’m sure you know more about them than I do so let me get on to a couple of things which were relatively new to me and which I found quite moving. Kintsugi or “golden joinery”. There was one small pot, seamed with gold. Broken but mended with the technique which makes the pot even more precious broken than whole because it becomes startllngly unique, one of a kind, emphasising the cracks instead of trying to disguise them and is an ecological lesson to us all. I think I might have learnt this lesson many years ago when I was a girl; I tore my school dress which was new and so my mother mended it with a beautifully neat patch. I was so proud of this dress, it was unique different from those of the other girls’ and my mum had made a lovely job of the patch, so I’m now complimenting myself for having understood the concept of wabi-sabi (to see beauty in the flaws) at a very early age. The other things which really floored me were the breathtaking rocks presented like precious artifacts and given a place of honour in Japanese homes. Suiseki( the art of appreciating stones formed by wind and water and suggesting stability,longevity and immortality) It’s interesting how these extremely costly items are born of……nothing (the little tables they’re exhibited on plus the shallow vases they stand in on beds of sand or water are worth thousands of euros ) And they are just a bits of rock picked up and contemplated until they surrender their meaning. The equilibrium, the structure, the colours give them their power of suggestion
Published by englishthatgrows
I have been living in Italy for a long time and I'm grateful for all the opportunities this beautiful, varied country has offered, especially art and music....oh! and food too. I also work here, doing the most exciting job possible (for a people-person like me) I teach English. New people, new ideas ,new methods to investigate,what more could anyone ask for! View all posts by englishthatgrows
2 thoughts on “Bonsai”
Reblogged this on Wolf's Birding and Bonsai Blog.
I’m so pleased that you liked and re-blogged my very humble comments! Reading yours I realised that you are the deal. I just went to look but I enjoyed Crespi bonsai so much that I’ve decidede to take the guide’s advice and go several times a year to enjoy the seasons. Thank you again.