'BONSAI: Its Art, Science, History & Philosophy'
by Deborah R. Koreshoff
Boolarong Publications (Australia): 255pp., USD$59.99**
First published 1984
ISBN: 0 86439 194 3
Timber Press, Inc. (USA)
Reviewed by Hector Johnson*
In the pantheon of bonsai books there are a few that stand head and shoulders above the rest: John Naka's 2-part series is one; Yuji Yoshimura's first book, from 1957 is another; Deborah Koreshoff's 1984 publication is the third.
This clear, concise, beautifully illustrated manual is unique, in the bonsai publishing field. It gives a thorough understanding of the fundamental differences between Eastern and Western art, particularly from the viewpoint as to how Eastern art has influenced the development of bonsai styles.
It is particularly useful for the reader who wishes to learn more of the philosophy of styling and shape of bonsai. It also provides a valuable insight into the methods and requirements of showing and judging bonsai.
In addition, 31 colour plates and 223 ink drawings (by the author, incidentally) give a very well rounded look at the various methods and techniques used to style and maintain good quality trees. Ms Koreshoff and her family have been involved directly with bonsai since the early 1900s, which makes her one of the foremost Western bonsai experts, if only through sheer longevity. Their nursery complex, in Sydney, Australia, has been at the forefront of the art of bonsai, in Australia, for many years.
Carefully indexed, comprehensively written and exhaustive in its breadth of information, "BONSAI: Its Art, Science, History & Philosophy" remains a timeless must-have for the serious enthusiast, or ardent beginner. This is, and deserves to be, one of the books by which others about bonsai are judged.
If I were to point to a shortcoming, it would be that I could not get enough of the simple, straightforward information provided herein. Nor does it portray enough of the author's huge collection of show quality bonsai, in my view.
**Prices are subject to some fluctuation, with offerings from http://www.amazon.com and Stone Lantern Publishing being substantially cheaper than the RRP.
*About Hector Johnson
Hector Johnson is an amateur bonsai enthusiast from Brisbane, Australia. In 16 years of involvement in the art of bonsai he has managed to amass a modest collection of trees of reasonable quality. His recent involvement with the Art of Bonsai project, as editor of print articles, is a rewarding and welcome activity, allowing him to contribute to the development of bonsai on the worldwide scene.