Super Mario is at it again. From Mario Komsta’s facebook photos.
How many trunks can you count?
Does this magnificent tree have four or five trunks? Does it even matter? Actually, I think most of us would say that it does matter and that even though there are only four trunks at ground level, the effect, thanks to the tree on the left, is that of five trunks.
What’s the big deal about even numbers?
Generally, the Japanese abhor the number four, at least when it come to trunks in bonsai. The same can be said for six, eight and ten, though the more trunks there are, the less the number seems to matter (interestingly, two trunks doesn’t seem to bother them, as long as one is clearly stronger than the other).
In general, we seemed to have adopted the Japanese aversion to even numbers when it comes to trunks. To most of us, this convention makes sense. Aren’t threes and fives more dynamic than fours or sixes? Still, you might wonder just how much this convention reflects a genuine principle and how much it simply reflects a cultural preference.
What about nature?
I just had an imaginary conversation with our Mother (Nature, that is). Wanted to double check with her to see if she cared how many trunks there are in a stand of trees. Not surprisingly, she said she never gives it a thought.
Before. Apologies to Mario Komsta (who happens to be a very talented and accomplished bonsai artist). That’s an almost half-Mario on the right; just to give you a little perspective (though it’s hard to tell exactly how far behind the tree he is). You can go here if you’d like to see the original photo with a full-Mario.