Friday, January 29, 2010

Saikei: Living Landscapes in Miniature

Saikei: Living Landscapes in Miniature
by Toshio Kawamoto HC pp.133
ISBN Nil (Published 1967)

This book is dated, so much so, it doesn't even have an ISBN number. This book was featured at Bonsai Bark. It is the following photo that captured my interest. The composition was so natural looking, I needed to see more and ordered the book from Alibris.

The trees (29) are Cryptomeria and the Suiban
measures 27x19 inches.

I have always had a deep penchant for Saikei, and have several books on the subject. What makes this book different than others? The plans for duplication!

Many folks do not believe in reproducing work that has already been created. This, for artistic reasons if nothing else. However, for those looking for inspiration there are several colour plates (similar to the one above) complete with a material listing and plans to create each landscape.

The book is broken down into 8 Chapters:
  • Masterpieces (16);
  • Materials and tools;
  • How to plant trees;
  • Use of stones and soil;
  • Rock-grown Saikei;
  • Raising seedlings;
  • Controlling tree growth; and
  • Care of Saikei.
The book is informative but dated. Newer refinement techniques have evolved. It does contain a good list of (better suited) materials to create these miniature landscapes. The artistic and aesthetic considerations to their creation is well explained, for even aspiring young enthusiasts.

I was able to acquire this hard-cover book in excellent condition for the modest price of $9.00, a pretty good investment considering the book retailed for $6.95 when first published in 1967.

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