root stands and Ji-ita


One of Robin Jehan's accent plants on a wooden Ji-ita


There will be very many more examples in the Exhibition on 27th May 2012




The Japanese term “Jiita” refers to a thin (usually hardwood) wooden board
or sheet, and is used to display a bonsai on, or any accent item such as a
Kusamono or  Shitakusa planting, Tenpai (bronze figures) or Suiseki (stone).

Jiita are considered to be one of the many varieties of ”taku” (tables)
for bonsai display. The shape, size and colour of a Jiita can vary greatly,
and shapes vary from rectilinear types to circular, elliptical, hexagonal
and irregular. Some of the larger ones are often a complete slice from a
tree or from a root extension or distortion.

Quality and price vary considerably.  The price is according to the size,
quality, and type of wood as well as the grain, colour, maker and the edge
detail which can be very ornate and intricate.  As in most things, you get
what you pay for.

In the Shohin context we usually see them used in Shohin display for
displaying a tree on, or for an “accent” item.  They are particularly useful
too when used in a multi tree display when you need a stand for the tree but
do not want too much height.

When using a Jiita in a display, do pay particular attention to the
“direction” of its shape within the context of your display. So when
selecting Jiita to purchase, it is worthwhile bearing in mind the display
that you may want to use them for.

Another more specialist and very attractive type of taku are “root” stands
or “ne-taku”. Again these come in various colors, shapes and sizes.  The
quality of the carving in man-made ones greatly affects the price.

They can range in height from just a centimeter or so tall to several
hundred cm tall.  Even relatively small root stands can be very expensive,
but can look absolutely delightful when used with a cascade or semi-cascade
tree. Again, you get what you pay for, and old, large, high quality root
stands command eye watering prices.

That reminds me of when I saw a nice Shohin size root stand in Japan not
that long ago.  It was on the sales table of a famous Shohin nursery at the
Kokufu Green Club.  I had been (and am still) looking for a nice Shohin
sized root stand, and the one I saw then looked perfect.  After doing the
calculation from Yen to £ and thinking to myself that it was expensive but
fairly priced, I then realised I was out by a factor of ten, and the price
was in fact about £2,000!

© Mark Cooper


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