Auction Bonsai of the Month - October, 2007

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
9,206
Reaction score
16,854
Location
Charlotte area, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7B

Cork Bark Black Pine, Yahoo! Auction Japan
 

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
9,206
Reaction score
16,854
Location
Charlotte area, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7B
And now back to our "classic" bonsai designs. Here is a Japanese "Cork Bark" Black Pine from Takamatsu. According to the description, though 99% of all cork bark pines come from grafting or cutting, if properly designed they can have the character of a mountain collected tree. Given the difficulty of working with the stiff and heavy bark, it is important to develop the trunk line and branch placement early. The aged character of the bark (including the presence of moss and lichen), the trunk line, and the branch placement are considered the strong points of this bonsai. Do you agree?







 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
13
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
This tree has a lot going for it, but there is something about that trunk that kind of puts me off. The first two bends seem a little artificial or forced to me. It's possible that this was a function of the bark corking up, or that the future might fix that as the cork gets thicker. Right now, though, i would look for a better planting angle or something.

In the meantime, it's nice to know exactly how tall the thing is. My wife is absolutely against me getting one of these high-tech measuring devices. I'm not sure why.
 

Attachments

  • cigarette measure.JPG
    cigarette measure.JPG
    67.9 KB · Views: 39

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
9,206
Reaction score
16,854
Location
Charlotte area, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7B
Haha nice Chris :)

I agree about the trunk. I think there is a slight reverse taper in the section just above the roots up to where the old graft scar is. (I think it is the old graft scar because of the change in the nature of the bark). But it is really not bad at all. It may just be due to the fact that the grafted portion is corking up while the lowest section will always be standard black pine.
 

Attila Soos

Omono
Messages
1,804
Reaction score
33
Location
Los Angeles (Altadena), CA
USDA Zone
9
If it wasn't for the shape of the trunk, I would say "awsome", one can't create such a tree even in a whole lifetime. You need about two life spans to do it. The branches, bark and needles are all exquisite.

But, for me personally, I don't dig the S-curve in the trunk. Not that there is anything wrong with it. But the proverbial Moyogi S-curve is the biggest bonsai cliche' that one can get, and I've seen enough of it in my lifetime, so that it doesn't get me excited anymore. After seeing a gazillion S-curves, I am ready for something different... such as a simple and plain old natural-looking trunk.
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
13
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
If it wasn't for the shape of the trunk, I would say "awsome", one can't create such a tree even in a whole lifetime. You need about two life spans to do it. The branches, bark and needles are all exquisite.

But, for me personally, I don't dig the S-curve in the trunk. Not that there is anything wrong with it. But the proverbial Moyogi S-curve is the biggest bonsai cliche' that one can get, and I've seen enough of it in my lifetime, so that it doesn't get me excited anymore. After seeing a gazillion S-curves, I am ready for something different... such as a simple and plain old natural-looking trunk.

You know, it's not even just the S-curve. Notice at the second bend, the branch comes out right at the inside of the curve. Now I know that trees do this in nature. It's not the old saw that those branches don't survive, but the fact is that branches on the inside of curves actually tend to diminish those curves over time. They fill in the curve with new wood. So what would this tree look like without that branch?
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
13
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
If it wasn't for the shape of the trunk, I would say "awsome", one can't create such a tree even in a whole lifetime. You need about two life spans to do it. The branches, bark and needles are all exquisite.

But, for me personally, I don't dig the S-curve in the trunk. Not that there is anything wrong with it. But the proverbial Moyogi S-curve is the biggest bonsai cliche' that one can get, and I've seen enough of it in my lifetime, so that it doesn't get me excited anymore. After seeing a gazillion S-curves, I am ready for something different... such as a simple and plain old natural-looking trunk.

You know, it's not even just the S-curve. Notice at the second bend, the branch comes out right at the inside of the curve. Now I know that trees do this in nature. It's not the old saw that those branches don't survive, but the fact is that branches on the inside of curves actually tend to diminish those curves over time. They fill in the curve with new wood. So what would this tree look like without that branch?


In fact, what would the trunk do without that branch? Look at the narrowing of the trunk between the two curves. Not exactly top material. How would someone fix that?
 

Attachments

  • bp1.jpg
    bp1.jpg
    62 KB · Views: 21

Attila Soos

Omono
Messages
1,804
Reaction score
33
Location
Los Angeles (Altadena), CA
USDA Zone
9
It certainly looks like the branch is coming from the inside of the curve. However, there might be a possibility that it is actually a back-branch, and just an optical illusion.

I see the narrowing of the trunk where you mentioned. That part doesn't bother me that much, I know that with the cork-bark pine, the formation of cork and the so-called wings can cause reverse taper on certain portion of branches and trunk (the biggest one is usually at the site of the graft, although in this case the graft is very good). I remember once seing a corkie from John Naka with a huge reverse taper at the base, it is not looked upon as a fault in the Japanese community. And I can see why, it's the nature of the material.

Once I examined some old Nakayama azaleas with Tak Yamaura from Vancouver (he imported them), they had a lot of "muscles" on the branches and trunks, causing reverse tapers in certain areas. But these revese tapers corrected themselves right away at the next bend. When I pointed them out to Tak, he said that those are perfectly all right, they are part of the character of the material adding charm and movement to it. I took the rule too literally, but he was looking at the overall picture. Yes, it broke the rule, but made the material more interesting without ruining the design. He said that there is nothing worse than a perfect tree, where you absolutely can't find anything odd. It is the proverbial "too good to be true".
 
Last edited:

Attila Soos

Omono
Messages
1,804
Reaction score
33
Location
Los Angeles (Altadena), CA
USDA Zone
9
I also have to admit something, in defense of this pine:

When you are in the presence of a large bonsai with very old bark and great character, there is something that I would call a "presence". It is absolutely impossible to describe with words, since you have to be next to the tree to feel it.

When we look at the picture of this pine, and dissecting its faults, we are totally unaware of this "presence". Were we standing next to this tree, our perception of it, with all its faults, could be totally different.

So, we may be totally unfair to this tree, in our criticism. As a comparison, try to imagine that you are punched in the nose. Now compare this imagiary hit with the actual feeling when you are really punched..
This picture on our computer is pale symbol of the actual thing.
 

Attila Soos

Omono
Messages
1,804
Reaction score
33
Location
Los Angeles (Altadena), CA
USDA Zone
9
I also have to admit something, in defense of this pine:

When you are in the presence of a large bonsai with very old bark and great character, there is something that I would call a "presence". It is absolutely impossible to describe with words, since you have to be next to the tree to feel it. This presence is much more significant in the case of larger trees, and as the tree gets smaller, the visual stimulus gains more importance. It is not as significant in the case of shohin and mame (although, with the very small trees, the "cuteness factor" kicks in, which is also very important). Due to this lack of "presence" in case of pictures, it is possible to get tired of looking at hundreds of masterpieces in a Kokufu-ten catalogue, but we would never get tired of them if we saw them live.

When we look at the picture of this pine, and dissecting its faults, we are totally unaware of this "presence". Were we standing next to this tree, our perception of it, with all its faults, could be totally different.

So, we may be totally unfair to this tree, in our criticism. As a comparison, try to imagine that you are punched in the nose. Now compare this imagiary hit with the actual feeling when you are really punched and drenched in blood...
This picture on our computer is pale symbol of the actual thing.
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
13
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
I also have to admit something, in defense of this pine:

When you are in the presence of a large bonsai with very old bark and great character, there is something that I would call a "presence". It is absolutely impossible to describe with words, since you have to be next to the tree to feel it. This presence is much more significant in the case of larger trees, and as the tree gets smaller, the visual stimulus gains more importance. It is not as significant in the case of shohin and mame (although, with the very small trees, the "cuteness factor" kicks in, which is also very important). Due to this lack of "presence" in case of pictures, it is possible to get tired of looking at hundreds of masterpieces in a Kokufu-ten catalogue, but we would never get tired of them if we saw them live.

When we look at the picture of this pine, and dissecting its faults, we are totally unaware of this "presence". Were we standing next to this tree, our perception of it, with all its faults, could be totally different.

So, we may be totally unfair to this tree, in our criticism. As a comparison, try to imagine that you are punched in the nose. Now compare this imagiary hit with the actual feeling when you are really punched and drenched in blood...
This picture on our computer is pale symbol of the actual thing.

I completely agree with you about the "presence." This is so true, and it really shows the disconnect between photographic representations of bonsai and the real thing in person. A tree that might win every photographic competition in the world could prove to be less than all that in person. Or vice-versa.

That being said, it's hard to believe this one doesn't really come out of the pocket. On the other hand, it looks like an important branch, and one that I would be loathe to remove under almost any circumstances.

 

Attila Soos

Omono
Messages
1,804
Reaction score
33
Location
Los Angeles (Altadena), CA
USDA Zone
9
That being said, it's hard to believe this one doesn't really come out of the pocket. On the other hand, it looks like an important branch, and one that I would be loathe to remove under almost any circumstances.

Yep, you are right. The magnified picture leaves little doubt.
 

Similar threads

Top