Dead for One Thousand Years 1/25/11


Only countless years and the ceaseless ravages of weather born hardship can account for the character that this astounding dead tree displays. It looks like a Bristlecone pine from the White Mountains just east of Owens Valley in California (I found it on Bonsai Mania and they’re not saying anything, but I’d bet my first born grandchild on it).

Dead for one thousand years?!
I’ve heard that Bristlecones can stand for up to a thousand years after they have died. It’s hard enough to fathom living for up to five thousand years (really!), but dead trees standing for another thousand years? That’s some pretty tough wood and a kind of postmortem determination that you don’t see everyday.

The limits of bonsai
The closest I’ve ever seen a bonsai come to looking like the tree above is where the ravages of time and the expert eye and hand of a very talented human (and a power tool or two) have come together. But still, nothing this perfectly wild and dramatic.


Gnarly Branches, Ancient Trees. Speaking of ‘the expert eye and hand of a very talented human.’ I think Dan Robinson is one of the very best at collecting and developing trees that exhibit that wild and dramatic look.

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One thought on “Dead for One Thousand Years

  1. I received my Gnarly Branches, Ancient Tree from you a few weeks ago and I love it. Thank you! It is hard to buck hundreds or thousands of years of bonsai in Japanese or Chinese tradition but Dan Robinson certainly has and very successfully. Certainly we all need to know the techniques but the way Dan maintains the natural look of his trees is very inspiring to me.

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