William N. Valavanis wrote:
There are many ways in which to classify bonsai. Yoshimura was the first to sit down and organize the styles logically, and ever since most people have just accepted his classification system. I have built on my teacher's system:
One group is by trunk design which includes formal upright style. There is only formal upright trunk design, straight.
Another group is by "feeling" which includes three different "styles" of bonsai: Literati, Windswept and Broom. There is no one form of these three styles. But, there are formal upright, informal upright literati, slanting, cascade, group plantings, rock plantings etc. in the literati feeling.
Some are getting these confused. The formal upright ONLY describes the trunk shape/line. Literati describes the feeling and one can have ANY style with the literati feeling.
Exposed roots are another grouping by focal point. Dead wood is another group of the focal point. Shohin bonsai is by size.
Therefore one can have a cascade style (by trunk design), exposed root (by focal point), with deadwood (by focal point), literati style bonsai. Each of these terms describes something different. Unfortunately most people do not understand these terms and try to collectively "lump" them together.
Just my thoughts this morning...
This is the most comprehensive classification that I've seen so far, and should clear up most of the confusion.
Trunk design, focal point, and feeling.
The first two are based on strict formal requirements - more in line with what we calle "rules" . A slanting tree has to slant, a cascade tree has to cascade, a formal upright has to be straight, these are rules, with no exceptions.
The third group is akin to what I would call "style". Any form can be made in the literati "style", even the formal upright one. And, in accordance with what Bill said, any form can be made into windswept style.
And, regarding the discussion before, I totally disagree that a literati style has to be feminine. It can just as well be masculine: a trunk line with jagged, strong movements (zig-zag) is very masculine in nature. A trunk line with soft curves is feminine in nature. Literati can be both. I do agree, however, that most of the literati trees are feminine.