Fair enough. To some it wouldn't matter. That's fine. I can't argue it on the basis that its an opinion. However, to be fair, your statement was not worded in a way to suggest it was opinion. "who cares if the artist used his hands or his teeth, none of it matters in the least." To who?
I will reword my thoughts. I think
that the manner in which a work of art is created is just as important as the final result.
Here is an example.
If you find the time, try to find a copy of the animated film "The Old Man and the Sea" by Alexander Petrov. Its an adaptation of the story by Ernest Hemingway. Petrov created this film by painting with oils on sheets of glass. He worked nearly every day for 2 years, and there are roughly 29,000 frames, all painted by hand. Now he could have simply used computer software to create the film. It would have been faster, cheaper, and easier. The end result could have been very similar. But to know that each frame of that film is hand painted, and that the artist actually physically touched every image you see makes the end result that much more powerful to me. Of course, not everyone would agree, and some would argue that it doesn't matter at all.
Now don't get me wrong. I understand where you are coming from. You were using painting merely as an example to further your point that, to you, it doesn't matter how
a bonsai was created. Feel free to correct me if I've misinterpreted your conclusion.
I d o want to know if the big jin on the tree is real.It would be embarrassing for the vendor if that jin one day fell off due to lack of adhesive and he did not tell the buyer about the little "trick".
An extreme example, but the point is pretty clear. At some point, I think it matters what techniques are applied to create a bonsai. Perhaps this hypothetical tree was aesthetically successful, and living, but would you say that gluing a fake jin to a tree is acceptable? Perhaps it is, perhaps not. I suppose, again, it will all come down to who is looking at the tree.
We could look at phoenix grafts or "tanuki" bonsai. To some its perfectly acceptable, to some it isn't. Some would argue that its as valid as carving existing branches into deadwood, or bleaching it with lime-sulfur. Really, its all just a simple matter of what works for someone.
"A living, artistically created, idealized vision of a tree, cultivated in a container" is a good definition of bonsai. It leaves enough open, and does not impose creative restrictions. Again, ideal does not always mean an archetype to be imitated, it can also mean of the imagination.