Living Art of Bonsai: Principles of Design

Living Art of Bonsai: Principles of Design picks up where our 2018 exhibit,  Elements of Design, left off. We’ll add-on more advanced principles of bonsai art—movement, rhythm, proportion, unity, contrast, balance (both symmetrical and asymmetrical) —and demonstrate each principle in bonsai, in trees, and in other works of art. Explore the exhibit and gain a deeper appreciation for the living art of bonsai. Opens May 11; runs through September 29, 2019. We will try to keep this exhibit viewable as a whole, with all the associated interpretive materials, through mid-October 2019, but the trees may move around the collection and/or go on- or off-view as autumn sets in.

View and download our Living Art of Bonsai: Elements and Principles of Design Exhibit Guide.




Gnarly: The Dan Robinson Retrospective

Gnarly honors a lifetime of work by local, international legend Dan Robinson. As Robinson turns 80-years-old, Pacific Bonsai Museum looks back on his still-flourishing career as an American bonsai renegade who pioneered unorthodox techniques and championed the gnarly, twisted forms of aged trees in nature. From his days with the ‘Bonsai Bums’–who helped establish the Pacific Northwest bonsai scene–to the groundbreaking of his unique local attraction, Elandan Gardens, see a slice of Robinson’s world displayed in installations of bonsai, rock, and wood representing each decade of his career. Opens May 11; runs through September 29, 2019. We will try to keep this exhibit viewable as a whole, with all the associated interpretive materials, through mid-October 2019.


Stone Images X

Presented by the Puget Sound Bonsai Association’s Viewing Stone Study Group, Stone Images X is an exhibit of naturally formed ‘Viewing Stones’ (Suiseki). These stones are valued for their shape, color, beauty, pattern, and/or for what they can be seen to represent, such as natural scenes, scenic vistas, animals, or naturalistic imagery within the face of the stone. After being collected, viewing stones are typically displayed on wooden stands (daiza); some stones are polished. The practice of collecting and viewing stones originated in China about 2,000 years ago; it was introduced to Japan in the sixth century CE and is now practiced worldwide. The exhibit runs October 15, 2019 through January 5, 2020.

World War Bonsai

In 2020, to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, Pacific Bonsai Museum will tell the story of how war forever changed bonsai culture in the United States and Japan in its special exhibit World War Bonsai. From the incarceration of Japanese Americans on the West Coast, to the challenges of bonsai cultivation amidst rationing and bombing raids in Japan, to the American GI’s who developed an appreciation for Japanese culture while stationed overseas, there is a direct connection between the events of World War II and the practice of bonsai that we enjoy today.

Call for photographs, objects, & information related to bonsai culture, 1935–1950

Examples include:

  • Photographs depicting bonsai, bonsai nurseries, or bonsai exhibits during this time frame, both in Japan and the United States. 
  • Names, oral/written histories, and photos of bonsai from Japanese American teachers/practitioners who experienced incarceration. Photos of bonsai within the camps. Objects, such as bonsai tools or pots, made or used in the camps.
  • Names, oral/written histories and photos of Japanese bonsai teachers/practitioners who lived in Japan during the war and/or who served in the Japanese military.
  • Names, oral/written histories and photos of bonsai teachers/practitioners who served in the U.S military during the War. Specifically, those who were stationed in Japan during the occupation. 

People of interest include:

Kiyozu Murata, Keibun Tanaka, Yuji Yoshimura, Ken Sugimoto, Mas Imazumi, Jizaburo Furuzawa, Taki Nagasawa, Kelly Hiromo Nishitani, James Masao Nakahara, Ted Tsukyama, Tom Yamato, Fumiko Frank Nagata, Sam Doi, Morihei Furuya, Sobuku Nishihira, Homei Iseyama, and Toshio Saburomaru.

If you have information or objects to share, or are interested in volunteering to help locate, collect, and conduct research pertaining to these subjects for use in this exhibit, please contact Curator Aarin Packard at aarin@pacificbonsaimuseum.org or +1.253.353.7345 at your earliest opportunity. Exhibit materials will be finalized by December 2019.

Past Exhibits

Stone Images IX

OCT 16 – DEC 16, 2018

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Living Art of Bonsai: Elements of Design

APR 21 – SEPT 30, 2018

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APR 8 – OCT 8, 2017

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Stone Images VIII

FEB 18 – MAR 26, 2017

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APR 30 – OCT 2, 2016

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stone images vii

MAR 26 – APR 24, 2016

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MAY 8 – SEP 30, 2015

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Stone Images Vi

APR 3 – MAY 3, 2015

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