Singapore Sand Art Sharing – Bonseki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonseki

Bonseki

Bonseki (盆石; lit., tray rocks) is the ancient Japanese art of creating miniature landscapes on black lacquer trays using white sand, pebbles, and small rocks. Small delicate tools are used in Bonseki such as feathers, small flax brooms, sifters, spoons and wood wedges. The trays are either oval or rectangular, measuring about 60 by 35 centimeters in size. Oval trays have a low rim while rectangular ones are flat.

Bonseki scenes often depict mountains, seashores, and gardens. Small stones are used to represent mountains, shore lines or rocky islands that waves break upon. Miniature structures, usually of painted copper, are sometimes added to the work to make houses, temples, bridges, and the like.

Bonseki scenes by design are generally meant to only be temporary. Sometimes, by using special methods, a Bonseki scene can be preserved. This is called either Bonga (“Tray Picture”) or Suna-e (“Sand Picture”).

History of Bonseki

The origins of Bonseki are unclear but it is believed Emperor Temmu, who reigned in the mid-7th Century, made use of Bonseki techniques to describe natural objects and landscapes. It is also believed that a number of gardens in Kyoto were planned and designed with the use of Bonseki as a type of temporary blueprint.

The c.1300 rhymeprose essay, Rhymeprose on a Miniature Landscape Garden, by the Japanese Zen monk Kokan Shiren, outlines the aesthetic principles for bonseki and garden architecture itself.

Under the aesthetically minded Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1443–1490), Bonseki became popular among members of the aristocracy. A century later, Sen no Rikyu, the famed master of the Tea Ceremony, practiced Bonseki[citation needed] and one of his students, Hosokawa Sansai, set up a school dedicated to Bonseki with established techniques.

The Edo Period (1603–1867) saw many Bonseki schools set up as it gained in popularity. Bonseki was particularly popular with many ladies of the Shogunate court in old Tokyo.

With the restoration of Imperial rule, Bonseki declined sharply as more emphasis was placed on modernity and Western culture.

Modern Revival of Bonseki

In recent times, Bonseki has seen some revival as new groups continue to improve upon the Hosokawa techniques, while preserving its traditional elegance. One such group is the Tokyo Kuyo-Kai of the Hosokawa School. The Tokyo Kuyo-Kai is a group of students of the late headmasters of the Hosokawa school.

According to the Tokyo Kuyo-Kai group the object of Bonseki is not in the completion of the scene itself, nor in its preservation. The Tokyo Kuyo-Kai states: “The importance of Bonseki is the peaceful feeling and satisfaction you derive from creating a Bonseki scene and not the result of the work.”

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About sanddreamer

Lawrence Koh – International sand art virtuoso and multi-disciplinary artist specialized in both the visual art and the performing art. Utilizing an awe-inspiring combination of sand, music and light, Lawrence created countless stories as a sand artist during his local and international performances as well as prestigious events such as award ceremonies, official launch, grand opening, dinner & dance, festive celebrations, meetings, seminars and anniversary celebrations. Lawrence’s performance is often graced by foreign delegates, local VIPs and international guests; while also received positive responses from notable guests such as the Former President of Singapore Mr S.R Nathan, Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister Lee Yi Shyan, Minister Heng Swee Keat, Dr Ng Eng Hen, MP Tin Pei Ling, International Model Sonia Couling, Dr Chan Mei Yoke, MP Low Yen Ling and Film Director Eric Khoo. Some of Lawrence’s notable performances: MSH International Official Thailand Opening, Gourmet Abu Dhabi, Platts Top 250, Monetary Authority of Singapore Inter Central Bank Games, OCBC Regional Seminar, United Engineers 100 Years Anniversary, Shell Groundbreaking Ceremony, National University Health System Charity Gala Dinner at Gardens by the Bay, Lee Ming Wei’s Luminous Depths Installation Opening the Peranakan Museum, NTUC U Picnic, People’s Association’s New Year Countdown, Singapore Turf Club’s SIA Cup, BCA Awards, Institute of Mental Health 85th Anniversary, Kajima 25th Anniversary, Zurich Global Life Awards, BCI Asia Awards, Daido (Japan) 110th Anniversary Commendation Ceremony and many more. Some of Lawrence’s previous clients: Mandarin Oriental, McDonald, KFC, Pizza Hut, Panasonic, Singapore Armed Forces, National Heritage Board, Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, National Arts Council, Lian Beng Group Ltd, 7 Eleven, Abbott, Daikin, Melchers, Singex, National Library Board Singapore, Singapore Expo, Bosch, Ministry of Education, Sentosa, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, GlaxoSmithKline, National Healthcare Group, Sonangol, Mediacorp. Being a celebrated artist in Singapore’s entertainment and art scene, Lawrence’s career spans across theatre productions, cultural fusion performances, short films, corporate videos, television programmes, television commercials, documentaries and live concerts. Lawrence was given the honour to have a special collaboration with the renowned Bhaskar’s Arts Academy during their major theatre production “CHAKRA”, featuring a captivating fusion of Indian dance, ballet, live Indian orchestra and sand art. The performance was graced by the presence of former president Mr. S.R Nathan and the tickets sold out completely; receiving standing ovation from the audience. Under National Arts Council’s request and support, “CHAKRA” was restaged once again at the Toa Payoh Amphitheatre with Lawrence being part of the National Arts Council’s “Arts for All” programme. Lawrence’s collaboration journey with Bhaskar’s Arts Academy also includes “Nalanda” a multi-disciplinary theatre production at the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay and “Ramayana” during the Diwali Festival of Lights Performance in Wellington, New Zealand. Lawrence captivated the audience once again with veteran storyteller Kamini Ramachandran and live fusion musicians (keyboardist Serene, bansuri flutist Ragha and table player Kumaran) during two sold out performances of “Forest Fables” – a multi-disciplinary English theatre production presented by Esplanade Theatres on the Bay. Under the invitation from Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Lawrence performed his very own live concerts with the amazing “Tze N Looking Glass Orchestra” with talented string ensemble from ACS Independent during “Celebrate December 2013”. The performance was extremely well-received with full house for all three shows. Amidst his sand art journey, Lawrence and his sand art has received numerous article features and write-ups on Straits Times, Lian He Zao Bao, Business Times, AsiaOne.com, 8 Days Magazine and Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery’s “Awaken Magazine”. Lawrence and his sand art were also featured extensively on Singapore’s television programmes. He was featured as a guest artist on Mediacorp Okto channel’s “Art Bites” and “Arts.Music.Performances”; in which he performed his original sand art with DJ Shawn Fluctuate. Subsequently, Lawrence’s sand art also caught the attention of Mediacorp’s “Artless Travelled Season 2” – an award winning international documentary about the lesser seen art forms of Asia, with Lawrence and his performances being featured on the show as one of Singapore’s unique art forms. Other television involvements of Lawrence includes the Starhub E-City’s television commercials as well as Mediacorp Channel 5 and Suria Channel’s “Remembering SARS” - a telemovie that featured Lawrence’s sand art portraying the stories of Singapore’s battle against SARS. With great privilege, Lawrence’s original sand animation tribute film to Singapore was featured on Vasantham Central’s Tamil News, Channel NewsAsia’s official Facebook page, as well as Channel NewsAsia’s “Singapore @ 6” and “Singapore Tonight”. On top of that, Lawrence was also invited to be the guest artist on Channel NewsAsia’s “AM Live!” and “Artyfacts”. He is also honored to be invited to perform on Mediacorp Suria Channel’s “Fiesta Muzik” – a prestigious live telecast music concert featuring popular artists from Singapore and Indonesia. Mr Aubeck Kam, Singapore's Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and Dr Basuki Yusuf Iskandar, Indonesia's Secretary-General of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, attended “Fiesta Muzik” as the Guests-of-Honour. “Fiesta Muzik” was broadcasted as a live telecast on Singapore and Indonesia’s TV channels with Lawrence’s performance receiving excellent responses.
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