GLENCOE, Ill. (October 21, 2013) – Japanese tradition gives us the three friends of winter—pine, bamboo and plum—as symbols of perseverance, resiliency and hope in the face of hardship. The centuries-old tradition will be celebrated during the Three Friends of Winter bonsai silhouette show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, January 24, through Sunday, January 26, 2014 in Nichols Hall.
A series of family activities on Saturday and Sunday will enable children to create their own scrolls inspired by the endurance and longevity of the pine, the strength and flexibility of the bamboo and the optimism embodied in the winter-flowering plum. Families can also take part in an interactive suminagashi—or marbleized paper— demonstration and listen to traditional Japanese storytelling.
"Children will be able to explore the symbolism embodied in the Three Friends of Winter, and engage with nature from a new cultural perspective," said Eileen Prendergast, director of Youth and Family Programs.
Pine, bamboo and plum will be incorporated into the bonsai silhouette exhibition, a display of deciduous bonsai trees in their dormant phases. The leafless state draws attention to the artfully shaped branches of the trees.
Bonsai from the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Bonsai Collection will be displayed in the nontraditional modern style on benches made from cottonwood trees that once grew where the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center now stands. Each bonsai will be exhibited with complementary accent objects, such as incense burners and suiseki, small stones that suggest mountains and other natural scenes. Pine, bamboo and plum plantings will be arranged to create a Japanese Garden, or tsubo-niwa, beneath the natural light of the skylight in Nichols Hall.
“The thoughtful arrangements highlight the beauty of nature, which is revered in the Japanese culture,” said Stephanie Lindeman, manager of horticultural events at the Garden. “The indoor exhibition will also give visitors a respite from winter, and may even inspire some fortitude and hope.”