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Vietnamese Bonsai Landscapes - Hon Non Bo and Tieu Canh

Hon Non Bo, are a complete mountain scene in miniature, these are often an island mountain scene, in a shallow concrete container with water to represent the sea. In Vietnamese, Hon means Island, Non means mountain, and Bo an artful combination of water, mountain range and forest. Hon Non Bo is a mountain landscape reduced in scale, usually set in an area of the sea close to the shore, often with full, lush vegetation.

The inspiration for Hon Non Bo comes from the real world and from cultural beliefs. Making a modern day Hon Non Bo builds on and continues a long tradition of interest in and the belief of the power of rocks and the beauty of mountains and plants. Throughout Vietnamese history, Hon Non Bo have been built by emperors, kings, generals, and other important people as monuments, decorations, personal vistas, and cultural icons.

In Hon Non Bo, the rocks are arranged always to look like a mountain or a range of mountains and have features that make it different from other forms of living art. Hon Non Bo are designed to be seen from all sides so the mountain must look good not just from four sides but also from the top.

Tieu canh are mini scenes. The Vietnamese people also enjoy mini scenes and miniature plants, both of which have a close relationship to miniature landscapes. The difference between a mini scene and a miniature landscape is that in a mini scene, the trees must be higher and bigger than the rock, which functions as the background for the trees. A mini scene is part of a more complete landscape. For instance, a steep cliff, a cave, a beach, a bank of the river or stream or a lake, and so on are subjects of mini scenes. The tree in a mini scene is usually in a bending, inclining or growing-down positionand have to be old, weather-beaten and faint.

Vietnamese Bonsai Landscapes - Hon Non Bo and Tieu Canh
I would like to thank Lew Buller, Lit Phan and Mai Dinh for allowing me to present this information here. Please click on this link to see more about Hon Non Bo.

Van Lit Phan, Lew Buller have also written a book about Hon Non Bo and Tieu Canh called
Mountains in the Sea: The Vietnamese Miniature Landscape Art of Hon Non Bo
The book begins with an introduction to the scenic highlights of the landscape and unique geography of Vietnam. Subsequent chapters provide historical details on cultural and philosophical traditions of Hòn Non Bô., followed by in-depth information of both an aesthetic and practical nature on how to create elegant and meaningful examples of miniature landscapes. The detailed text is complemented by fine color photos documenting the creative process and providing excellent samples of finished work. Both inspirational and practical, this handsome book is sure to introduce many new devotees to the art of Hòn Non Bô.

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Vietnamese Bonsai Landscapes - Hon Non Bo and Tieu Canh

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