I thought this was an interesting tree for discussion because it was both an uncommon species and an unusual style. From the Internet: Corylopsis spicata (aka Spike Winterhazel) is by far the most handsome of all the Corylopsis and the earliest to bloom. Beginning in March, pendulous 2 inch chains of lemon-yellow blooms appear on the bare branches. They are somewhat reminiscent of wisteria blooms in shape, but on a much smaller scale. The fragrance is spicy and sweet, similar to that of witchhazel to which winterhazel is closely related. New foliage will soon appear, unfurling a dark purple and maturing to a deep blue-green with lightly felted undersides. Corylopsis spicata will slowly develop into an attractive, broad mass of horizontal branches, reaching 6 to 8 feet tall and wide.
From the auction listing on Yahoo! Japan: "The thing to consider when bidding or exhibiting are the times when the state changes. The blooms, the fruits, the scattering of the petals; the tree changes from day to day. There are also the four seasons, with the tinted autumn leaves, the winter outline, and the fresh green seedling that returns in the spring."
So much silence. I though I'd get more discussion - at least about the style. I think it is interesting to see how they used an odd number of trunks, and yet the design is not symmetrical. I guess the official term would be "balanced asymmetry". The base is nearly seamless; just needs another couple of years for it to bulk up. The pot is interesting - I would prefer something darker and shallower though I'd like to see the tree with foilage first before making a final decision.
Clump style is one of my favorites. And I love this species.
The advantage of clump style is that it can be created from young nursery stock in a relatively short time, using juvenile material that doesn't have much character. And yet, the result is very pleasing. So, for people that want to do bonsai on a budget, this is a great way to start.
If you take any single tree from the clump, the result is uninteresting. One will have to grow the single trunk tree for a long long time before it gains any character.
However, multiple trunk styles create extra interest, as a whole, by the virtue of the more complex design.
It's the same scenario as in the case of a young forest, when the individual trees wouldn't cut it as bonsai, but as a group, they create a pleasing result.
Clump is very easy to create, and it is a vastly underused style. One needs to buy 5 young nursery trees of varying size and thickness, chop one side of their root system in order to be able to pack them together, and tie them together with a wire. In a few years, you have a powerful fused nebari, and plenty of design options. You could never achieve the same result with an imature individual tree in such a short time. The other advantage is that it is virtually impossible to create a bad surface root system, since you are using multiple trees and can twist them any way you want for a perfect nebari.
It only has one tree with 5 trunks and grown as a clump.
I also would have liked to see it with foliage. I prefer the back to the front. Unfortunately, all the back branches are now obsolete and would need to be regrown should the front be changed. The pot I reserve comment because of the lack of foliage but shallower would indeed be nice.