Between Nature and Art:
the Wonderful World of Bonsai
A bonsai is not simply a miniature plant, it is an entire natural scenery contained in a pot, a living symbol of a meeting between man and nature. A bonsai is a work of art and it would be wrong to consider it only a decorative object. It is a living sculpture, ever-changing and transforming as it reflects the succession of the seasons, always in harmony with nature. Being able to observe at such close range this wonderful demonstration of the power of nature, one cannot feel but a strong sense of awe and respect. Above all, every bonsai that enters into our homes brings with it its eaestern serenity to our always more frenetic western world.
The art of bonsai, which springs from a deep love and respect for nature, was born in ancient China but it was in Japan that its techniques were refined to levels of absolute perection. In the West the last few decades have seen an upsurge in our appreciation of this wonderful art-form. Bonsai has by now acquired a huge following of enthusiasts and interest continues to grow.
Creating the illusion of spaciousness when the disposal of space is limited is one of the features peculiar of the Japanese garden. The compposition of the elements is carefully planned and nothing is left to chance, yet the impression is of absolute naturalness. This is because the garden, inserted as it is in the original environment, is perfectly blended with it so as to become not an expression of man control over nature, but rather of a deep harmony with it. The oriental garden is created for contemplation and meditation and in it man immerses himself spiritually, discovering himself to be an integral part of nature which sorrounds him.
CRESPI BONSAI: A MEETING POINT BETWEEN EAST AND WEST
A Passion Becomes Business
Luigi Crespi, founder of Crespi Bonsai, became interested in bonsai in 1959 at a time when in Europe this fascinating art was still practically unknown. Having nurtured this passion for nearly twenty years and after much travelling in the Far East, he decided to transform his interest into a commercial activity in 1979.
At that time in our country there were still very few enthusiasts and Crespi Bonsai was the only company to import bonsai to Italy. The ambition was not only to spread an interest in those beautiful plants but also, and more importantly, to make known the oriental culture in which this ancient art-form has its roots.
Today the interest in bonsai is enormously increased as is demand for a more authentic relationship with the environment in which we live. Crespi Bonsai has also growth but its philosophy has not changed. Originating as corner of the orient at the doors of Milan, it has become a fertile meeting point between the different cultures of East and West in a deep and shared respect for nature.
A Reference Point
From the Crespi Bonsai Museum to the Bonsai University, from the periodic exhibitions to the meetings with the most famous Japanese masters, the initiatives are numerous and always inspired by the aim to spread in the best way possible the art of bonsai. It is this which makes Crespi Bonsai a fundamental reference point for all who are interested in bonsai, whether they are collectors, experienced botanists or simply those who are curious to approach this art for the first time.
Crespi Bonsai Museum: an Extraordinary Collection Open to All Enthusiasts
Opened in 1991, this museum is fruit of the passion and thirty-year committment of Luigi Crespi. A permanent museum unique in the world, it originated from the willingness to offer to all those with an interest in bonsai the opportunity to admire a precious collection that includes centuries-old plants, antique pots and books and manuscripts from the Far-East.
The materpiece of the collection is the millennial Ficus retusa linn, placed at the centre of a pagoda, once between two ninteenth-century wooden Chinese temple dogs, and now between two copies of the soldiers of the Terracotta Army. On a table of solid slate are displayed numerous other authentic specimens, many well over a hundred years old and trained by famous Japanese masters, among which are the works of Kaneko, Kato, Kawamoto, Kawahara, Ogasawara.
The collection of bonsai containers includes antique Chinese pots from the Ming and Ching dynasties. Of extreme value also is the library which houses both antique ad modern volumes, precious incunabula and rare texts from all over the world.
A plce of importance is occupied by a reconstruction of the “tokonoma”, the corner which in every Japanese house is set aside for the displaying of objects of spiritual significance. This beautiful collection is tastefully complemented with authentic furnishings among which are antique Japanese lamps.
The Bonsai University
The Bonsai University, founded by Luigi Crespi in 1991, is the only one if its kind in Europe. It originated from the desire to offer amateur enthusiasts a professional and complete teaching structure. Courses are directed by an international committee of scientific advisers and are under the supervision of the master Kajiwara who also lectures.
The principal course is of three years duration and takes place in the Parabiago complex. It deals with all aspects of the art of bonsai, from the technical to aestethic, from the fundamental principles of botany to the complexities phyto-pathology. It offers students the opportunity to apply practically the techniques studied in class using plants supplied by the University.
The Bonsai University also offers a range of shorter courses from a brief introduction to the art of bonsai to workshops on flower arrangement.
Educational Initiatives: Publications, Exhibitions, Meetings
As part of a coordinated education programme, Crespi Bonsai has established a specialized publishing firm. Among its many publications to date are the “Bonsai & news” magazine, the popular “miniguide” to the most widespread species, various volumes about bonsai collections, techniques and culture, and “Kazari”, a first-of-its-kind volume that tries to analyze and explain the art of the display inside a tokonoma. In addition there have been numerous publications on different aspects of bonsai, suiseki (viewing stones), the gardens and general Japanese culture.
Other initiatives already undertaken by Crespi Bonsai include the organization of meetings with some of the most famous Japanese masters among the speakers. Periodic exhibitions like the Shohin and Satsuki Festival have been arranged, including displays created specifically for children. Such events have been very well received by enthusiasts and general public alike and have made a significant contribution to increasing awareness, understanding and appreciation of oriental culture and in particular of the fascinating world of bonsai. The International Meeting of Bonsai and Suiseki, also known as Crespi Cup, hosts every two years some of the best trees, rocks and pots of the European scene, while offering a unique environment of exchange and learning for everyone who wishes to participate or visit the show.
CRESPI BONSAI: UNIQUE IN ITS FIELD
A Leader Company Offering the Highest Standard of Services
Crespi Bonsai was the first company in Italy to import bonsai and now holds a position of solid leadership in its field. Through its countrywide network of over a thousand outlets (which includes its own shops as well as affiliated outlets) and a thriving mail-order division, Crespi Bonsai offers the highest standard of service and expertise to its customers.
The philosophy of the company has always been the most rigorous attention to detail and the provision of a professio al and ccomplete service to its customers from pre-sale advice to after-sale assistance.
The Widest Range
At Crespi Bonsai there is huge variety of species and thousand of plants (both indoor and outdoor) to choose from. Bonsai materials and accent planting are also supplied.
At Crespi Bonsai all plants are selected with care, imported directly from the Far East and Europe, handled exclusively by experts and guaranteed in respect of quality and declared age.
A Complete Programme of Assistance
Crespi Bonsai offers a complete programme of assistance to its customers from guidance in choosing the right plant to after-sale advice in dealing with any problems concerning its care. There is a telephone, e-mail or Whatsapp information service and Crespi Bonsai can even arrange to have your plant looked after while you are on holiday!
An exclusive programme that allows privileged access to the Crespi world and a range of interesting services.
Thousands of Bonsai Containers
A very wide choice of bonsai containers and saucers, all of the highest quality. Among those which stand out are the precious Tokoname containers, hand-made in Japan, as well as the exclusive pots of Peter Krebs.
Tools and Materials
From practical kits for the beginners to the widest range of tools and materials for the more experienced enthusiasts (including the valued Masakuni) quality is always assured.
Bonsai Care – Healthy Plants
The Bonsan line, an original brand from Crespi Bonsai, is a range of specialized and all natural products for the care and health of the bonsai plant that includes fertilizers and decalcifying solutions. Also loams different types of sand, gravels, peat, akaadama, ketotsuchi, etc., are supplied.
Numerous accessories and items are available for the display and enhancement of the plant, from small natural cherrywood tables (antique and modern) to Japanese mats and suiseki and kikkaseki viewing stones.
CRESPI GARDENS: GREEN PROJECTS BETWEEN EAST AND WEST
Natural Creations, Sophisticated Technologies.
Luigi Crespi has worked for decades in the area of landscape creations, both for open spaces and within the smaller confines of blaconies and terraces. This is the field in which experience, artistic flair and love for nature merge perfectly, giving rise to results of great effect and visual impact.
From this passion originated the Crespi Gardens, a highly specialized division that uses and original and effective process of design based on computer graphics. All elements of the morphology, sorrounding environment and architecture are taken into account and the customer can see immediately what will be the end-result of the proposed project.
Crespi Gardens is devoted to the design and realization (with immediate effect) of traditional and Japanese gardens, using sophisticated technology but always with the greatest respect for the natural environment.
Attention to Detail and a Love for Nature
Every landscape creation is planned in the smallest detail from the sources of light to the solutions of watering. Careful thought is given to the choice and placing of such items as garden ornaments, benches and play areas for children so that the garden is not only visually beautiful but welcoming – a place to live and enjoy.
An even more rigorous study of all the composing elements (trees, grass, flowers, sand, stones, water, etc.) marks the Japanese garden. The results are always of great charm and, through clever use of perspective, the illusion of spaciousness is created in even the smallest area. With its specialized nursery, Crespi Gardens is able to offer the widest variety of species as well as accessories for the Japanese garden including decorative lanterns, ornamental stones, foot-bridges and tsukubai.