The Return of the Straight Trunk Literati..

october

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Hello all...
This is a tree I found at the bonsai nursery about 1 1/2 years ago.. It was very overgrown, but was very old looking and incredibly ramified with long, cascading branches..I knew the tree had specimen potential and being so unusual, put it in a class by intself... Although, some things may be considered flaws. It is these things that make this an exceptional bonsai. Some love this tree, others are on the fence about it. It is probably 40-50 years old and a little over 2 feet tall.

I have posted this tree in the past. However, over the last week. I have worked on it very meticulously to really bring out its beauty since it had reverted back into a bush almost.

I think that most of this tree was styled with a vision that the previous owner had. I just kind of went along with that vision. Some points of interest are ....the bottom back branch, it is there on purpose to break up the long look of the trunk and to add aesthetic balance and stability. The first left and right side main branches are actually not what they seem. It is a front branch where the sub branches have been pulled to different side to elicite the look of side branches.

Here are some pics, the first 2 are the whole tree then the last are of some of the ramification.

Rob
 

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Paul H.

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I really like the tree .Its reminds me of a very old pine in Fl. where I live for most of my life .
 

Mortalis

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I see alot of old pines here in east texas that look much like that.
 

october

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Thanks for the replies.... and yes, even though it is a shimpaku juniper, it does sort of mimic the very old very tall, thin pines that you see sometimes growing in groups. Also, If I am not mistaken, there is a drawing of a literati very similar to this in one of John Naka's books.

Rob
 

greerhw

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I will be the first to admit I don't much about this style. Most I've seen pictures of, just have foliage on th apex of the tree, while yours has foliage in the center of the trunk, is that an acceptable. Nice job, by the way.

keep it green,
Harry
 

Ang3lfir3

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is that an acceptable.

does the tree look nice? is it pleasant? do you find it interesting to look at? does it not bother you that there is foliage there?

then it is acceptable. I really gotta work on getting you unstuck from those "rules" .


and yes Rob its beautiful
 

greerhw

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does the tree look nice? is it pleasant? do you find it interesting to look at? does it not bother you that there is foliage there?

then it is acceptable. I really gotta work on getting you unstuck from those "rules" .


and yes Rob its beautiful

Ah so, Ang San, good ruck..........:p

keep it green,
Harry
 

Bob O

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Glad I finally found this site, looks like many of the folks from bT are here. :D

This is a very nice literati! :)

When it comes to literati you get to throw out a lot of rules. That lower branch adds to the "lonesome pine" effect. I've seen trees similar to this on top of many mountians in the Blue Ridge.

Bob O
 

subnet_rx

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I'd love to do something like this, reminds me very much of a pine tree that I would see in my area.
 

noissee

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I think the mid-way branch is actually very natural. The more I see literati trees, the more I am convinced that this is actually one of the most natural bonsai "styles."
 

Tachigi

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October as a re-creation of a pine in a specific geographic location that generally grow sparse its a good representation. As a "literati" I'm not really convinced, I feel very little visual tension. The foliage is a bit full for my taste as it pertains to a literati.

I do think that it has the potential to be a good bunjin and I'm sure it will show itself to you as you mull over the possibilities.

Thought I'd give you a different perspective than I like this tree. I do believe your on the right track.
 

october

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Thanks for all the comments...

Hello Tachigi..Actually, the pics make the foliage look fuller than it really is... Every secondary/tertiary branch throughout the tree only has the little tuft of foliage on the end. Also, most of them have the patern of 2 tufts per branch..To strip this tree down further, may compromise the health of the tree...

The style the tree is in now, will, pretty much, be what it will always be......Someone must have spent quite a bit of time with this tree before I got it... Most of the structure was set in place..and since it is probably 40-50 years old, Someone took much time with it before me. I am basically following the essence of the tree and the artists vision before me... I could be wrong, but from the structure I see, someone could have started training this tree over 20 years ago.

Rob
 

Dwight

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The only problem I have ( well actually there are lots but not with this tree ) is the midlevel foilage. I wouldn't remove it but would move it to the right side of the trunk some more. It looks too balanced as is.
 

october

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lol... Yes, it does almost look too balanced... However, this tree, I feel, is just in it's own world.. It breaks rules, it has illusions going on, it is old and elegant,.it is balanced and wild. All these things encompass this tree's beauty.. This tree usually sparks a few pages of replies when ever it is posted..lol. Some love it, soem are on the fence.. Some don't like it.. Only a unique and elegantly powerful tree could illicit so many different opinions..

Here are some older pics.The first 2 are of the tree untouched, right after purchase 1 1/2 years ago. The second 2 are of the initial styling and placement in the pot. Unfortunately, about a year ago, the tree blew off the ledge and the pot broke. There was no damage to the tree itself, which is incredible... The tree is in another, more stable pot now.. Not necessarliiy my first choice, but it looks ok and the tree is now more stable.

rob
 

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noissee

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The foliage is a bit full for my taste as it pertains to a literati.

I do think that it has the potential to be a good bunjin and I'm sure it will show itself to you as you mull over the possibilities.

Could you explain the difference between Bunjin and Literati?
 

Ang3lfir3

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Could you explain the difference between Bunjin and Literati?

We use the words interchangably to mean the same style. The term literati refers to the ancient chinese literati who were artists and poets and scholars who often depicted trees with these similar traits. long flowing trunks with little or no taper but impecable character. They usually have little foliage. They are not subject to the same "rules" as are standard bonsai and instead are often bizzare and thought provoking. Tastes in literati/bunjin are subjective and each person will often find the same tree vastly different.

I believe bunjin is the official japanse term and literati would be the more chinese term for the design. Anyone who knows better please correct me.
 
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Tachigi

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Bunjin (also bunjin-gi) as Ang3 referenced is a Japanese term for an educated person or ; a tree grown in this style, usually emphasizing a thin trunk, with a lean, elegant look, and with rough-hewn appearance. The last two descriptions seem to be a oxymoron:D

Literati is of Latin origin and means about the same thing. Merriam Webster definition is: 1: the educated class; 2 : persons interested in literature or the arts.

Not sure how this decidedly western term was applied to this style of bonsai....guess it boils down to translation much later on down the time line. So as Ang3 said take your pick .


Now I have a question.....can some one give me an example of elegant and rough-hewn
;)
 

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