京都府は宇治市のお宅にて細川流盆石の道具を買い取らせていただきました。

盆石とは、盆景とも呼ばれますが、鎌倉・室町時代から続くとされる日本の伝統芸術です。黒い盆の上に数寸の自然石を置くことで山々を表し、白砂をまき、羽根や小さなホウキで流れや波を描くことで、雄大な海や川を表す、日本古来の縮景芸術の一つです。金閣寺、銀閣寺の庭園をつくる時に浅い木箱にその原型をつくったと言われており、これが箱庭の始まりとも伝えられています。

世界的に見るとサンドアートにも似ている芸術ともいえますが、そこに石など自然物を加えて、より本物の自然に近い景色を表現していくところに特色があります。

江戸時代に入ると盆石の流行に伴い多くの流派がおこります。細川流もその頃から今日まで続く代表的流派として現在も伝統の技を継承し続けています。

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We visited Uji city of Kyoto prefecture and purchased a set of Bonseki kit.

Bonseki (盆石aka Bonkei 盆景 tray landscape) is the ancient Japanese art of creating miniature landscapes on black lacquer trays using white sand, pebbles, and small rocks. Small delicate tools are used in Bonseki such as feathers, small flax brooms, sifters, spoons and wood wedges. The trays are either oval or rectangular, measuring about 60 by 35 centimeters in size. Oval trays have a low rim while rectangular ones are flat.

Bonseki scenes often depict mountains, seashores, and gardens. Small stones are used to represent mountains, shore lines or rocky islands that waves break upon. Miniature structures, usually of painted copper, are sometimes added to the work to make houses, temples, bridges, and the like.

Bonseki scenes by design are generally meant to only be temporary. Sometimes, by using special methods, a Bonseki scene can be preserved. This is called either Bonga (盆画 “tray picture”) or Suna-e (砂絵 “sand picture”).

The origins of Bonseki are unclear but it is believed Emperor Tenmu, who reigned in the mid-7th Century, made use of Bonseki techniques to describe natural objects and landscapes. It is also believed that a number of gardens in Kyoto were planned and designed with the use of Bonseki as a type of temporary blueprint.

The Edo Period (1603–1867) saw many Bonseki schools set up as it gained in popularity.

Hoskawa-ryu (細川流 Hosokawa school) is one of such schools that were founded during in the beginning of Edo period. In recent times, Bonseki has seen some revival as new groups continue to improve upon the Hosokawa techniques, while preserving its traditional elegance.