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The Spirit of Bonsai DesignBOOK REVIEWS

The Spirit of Bonsai Design
Combine the Power of Zen and Nature

Chye Tan
Cameron House, distributed by Bookwise International

THE painstaking appeal of bonsai may escape us Kiwis, accustomed as we are to prolific space. But with the quarter-acre section besieged by infill housing and urban apartments, this creative Japanese art of rendering nature in miniature could be the "next big thing".

Don't be deterred by the book's sub-heading: "Combine the power of Zen and nature", as the explanations of the relevance of this form of Buddhism to bonsai are illuminating. The spiritual doesn't eclipse the practical, either. There's an excellent section on technique, with details of the tools needed for shaping.

The Spirit of Bonsai Design is a worthwhile read. By the way, there's a Kiwi connection for author Chye Tan. He admits to inventing his own bonsai style after being inspired by Lord of the Rings. One scene in Peter Jackson's masterpiece - showing the enormous gnarled roots of a tree where the hobbits took shelter from their enemies has spawned - you've guessed it - Tan's "Hobbit style" of bonsai.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 136, 2003, Page 36

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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