Continuing Kokufu

quince2

Whoa! This magnificent Chinese quince (Pseudocydonia sinensis) was a prize winner at the 2013 Kokufu-ten. There's so much you could say about this tree, but we'll just leave it at 'magnificent!' This photo and the two photos below, are from Phoenix Bonsai.

Continuing with our Kokufu series from the last couple days…

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koku

Whoa again! This Kokufu prize winner is a Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora).

 

jbp2

Japanese black pine. A great Japanese white pine, like the one above, deserves a great Japanese Black pine (Pinus thumbergii), and this Kokufu prize winner certainly qualifies.

 

B1PINE605-500x6475Speaking of Japanese pines

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Before we go any further, here’s my disclaimer… I’m the owner of Stone Lantern. I’m also the one who gave these remarkable tools their Roshi name, which means ‘Old Master’ in Japanese (they were originally branded Corex to help you better understand why the new name). And of course, I stand to benefit when you purchase our Roshi tools and the rest of our large selection of bonsai and related items, though because of low markups, this benefit is often tenuous at best

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Long Live the Bonsai King

kurocascadeFull cascade Japanese black pine (Pinus thumbergii). Japanese for Black pine is Kuromatsu (kuro is black and matsu is pine).

Yesterday we resurrected trees from the famous Kokufu Exhibition and the response has been very positive, so why not keep digging in the same vein? 

Japanese black pines are sometimes referred to a the king of bonsai. This may be in part due to their natural strength; they tend to have powerful trunks and thick lush foliage. Rugged bark doesn’t hurt either. King or not, the best of the black pines are undeniably among the most impressive bonsai in the world.

All the photos shown here are from the 89th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition. We found them at Michael Bonsai.

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kurosemi

Is this Black pine or a semi-cascade or full-cascade? What distinguishes full from semi-cascade, is full cascades reach below the bottom of the pot. In the case the lowest point is just barely below the bottom of the pot.

 

JBP

Short, squat and powerful. Is that a trunk or a massive hunk of living wood with bark and branches?

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JBP2Another powerful trunk, though this one has bit more of a trunk-like form. And then there are those prized deep furrows.

 

JBP3Another massive, strangely shaped trunk.

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Bonsai Yesterday, BONSAI TODAY, Bonsai Tomorrow

Billkoku31-1

Though any Kokufu bonsai might work to lead with, there's something about Quince flowers... Here's Bill Valavanis' caption: A small size Toyo Nishiki Japanese flowering quince, Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Toyo Nishiki’ with multiple colored flowers. Although red, pink and white blossoms are common for this great cultivar, I’ve often seen red branches grafted onto specimens to improve color distribution.

Getting a late start today, so I’ve decided to take the easy way out and show you some photos that we originally featured in February 2015. They are all from the 2015 Kokufu Bonsai Exhibiton and were lifted directly from Bill Valanis’ blog, Welcome To My Bonsai World.

Continued below…

koku6I've got a soft spot for short muscular trees. Especially short muscular trees whose scarred bark and hunched stance that tell a story of hard times and harsh conditions, while lush foliage and vibrant strength tell a story of better times and full recovery.

 

koku5

Another Quince ("Chinese quince, Pseudocydonia sinensis, created from air layering the top off another bonsai"). No flowers this time, bit plenty of action nevertheless. At the risk of stating the obvious (and once you've gotten past the tree's sheer compact power), you might notice the exfoliating bark. Not to mention (but to mention) that most amazing pot.

 

koku2

We could have titled this post Quince and Kokufu. Like the tree just above it's a Pseudocydonia sinensis.

 

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koku4

Not a quince, but a Japanese grey-bark elm (Zelkova serrata).

 

koku

You might get the impression that Kokufu is mostly about deciduous bonsai, but I don't think that's really the case (though winter is a great time show off these beauties in their leafless splendor). This one with its massive nebari could only be a Trident maple.

 

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Bonsai that Don’t Bust Your Bank Account & an Important Natural Phenomenon You Might Not Be Aware of

yew6-1-1

We've featured this tree before, but because I don't think you'll see many bonsai quite like it, it's worth another look. Two photos just below show the natural phenomenon behind this type carving. The tree is a yew. The artist is Harry Harrington.

All the photos in this post are courtesy of Harry Harrington, an artist who specializes in what you might call found bonsai (bonsai from the wild or from hedgerows and gardens or wherever else the original stock might come from that doesn’t bust your bank account). Harry is also the author of The Foundations of Bonsai, a book that explores the development of some these found bonsai

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s1

An example of a natural phenomenon that explains a lot about the type bonsai carving in this post. Here's Harry Harrington's caption from a trip he took to Sweden a couple weeks ago... "Back to editing images and video from Sweden this morning, I came across these two excellent examples of how the sun-hardened outer shell of deadwood can remain intact while the interior rots away (seen on Picea/Spruce high up on the treeline)"

 

s2

 

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HC

Arbor obscura (just kidding). Actually it's a Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) that Harry carved just the other day from an old stump. You can see more here, including the old stump

 

hh

Another example of Harry's carving. This time it's a Privet

 

yewcu

A closer look at the fine carving from the lead photo

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Bonsai Times 2,500 and Counting…

jun

I found this impressive root-on-rock juniper in one of our favorite places. No mention of variety or artist, so we won't mention our source either (see below). Btw, Image Search came up empty

If my math is correct, this should be our 2,500th post, give or take. Putting that rather astounding fact aside, today marks the day that we (that’s me) will no longer attribute our source in cases where our source doesn’t bother to attribute theirs or make any effort to identify the variety or provide any other pertinent information. There’s no good reason to credit someone for simply finding a bonsai and posting it

What we will do, is put every unattributed image we use through Google Image Search. If we find the real source, we’ll share any useful information we can dig up.
Continued below…

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jun2

I know I've seen this one somewhere, but memory being what it is (or isn't).... Image Search suggested Crespi Bonsai Museum and a quick journey through their excellent book (we sell it btw) turned up a Shimpaku juniper that looks a bit like this tree, but no cigar

Continuned from above…
If you’ve bothered to read this far and you’re thinking who cares about sourcing?… well some of us do and I can think of several good reasons why sourcing and attributing bonsai and other works of art is important. But we’ll pick that up later. Meanwhile if you are interested, here’s a post of ours from 2010 on this very issue, and here’s one on Web Pirating, a related issued

 

hem

This beauty looks like it could be one of Michael Hagedorn's Mountain hemlocks, but a quick journey through Michael's most excellent Portfolio came up blank and so did Image Search. And don't take Mountain hemlock to the bank; it's just a guess

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Deadwood Wars

dwmain

Deadwood anyone? No matter your opinion about excessive deadwood, you must admit this is a very powerful bonsai. Beyond sheer power and no matter your opinion, it's hard to deny that the artist posses first rate skill when it comes to carving and styling bonsai. This and the other photos shown here were posted by Naldo Nolder (another Brazilian - see our 9/22 and 9/23 posts). He doesn't say who the artists are.

You’ll have to excuse me for the title; Deadwood Wars is little extreme. It’s just I’ve heard so many complaints over the last few years about excessive deadwood. I’m inclined to call people who think that way purists, with only the slightest insult intended (smiley face).

Allow me to walk this back a bit.. I can see liking one art form or style more than another, but rejecting masterful works of bonsai art based on a concept about deadwood eludes me (not a very long walk…).
Continued below…

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dw2

This magnificent tree is a little less sculptural than the one above. This might have to do with the prominence of the living vein, the more aged look of the deadwood (not as white) and the way the foliage covers some of the wood. Btw, this tree is no doubt a juniper, as is the tree at the top of the post. To some artists, junipers just beg to be carved (there's a story here, but we'll save that for another time)

Continued from above…
John Naka, who is often called the Dean of American bonsai and was a remarkable teacher and human (Mr. Naka died in 2004), is often quoted as having said “a bonsai should look like a tree.” Hard to argue with that, but whether we like it or not, there are those who lean towards what you might call sculptural or highly stylized bonsai (see The Magician, Masahiko Kimura, probably the most famous and revolutionary bonsai artist in the world), where the point is not necessarily to make bonsai look exactly like trees (though there are some very unusual trees in this world). Some of these highly stylized bonsai are to my eye at least, powerful works of art and nature.

 

B1DEADWOOD-2Bonsai Deadwood by Francois Jeker

dw3

One more deadwood demon. You can only see a somewhat small piece of the living vein. Overkill?

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Brilliant Bonsai Berries and Something for Cat Lovers

pryahand

Two bunches of brilliant berries on either side of central gap... In this shot, almost all the berries and foliage are parted down the middle, which provides a clear view of the trunk all the way from the base to the apex. This is quite unusual. Most bonsai will show the lower third or half of the trunk while most of the upper regions are hidden, or at least partially hidden. The tree is a Pyracantha. The pot is Japanese and the artist is Christian De Ross

Today we’re picking up where we left off yesterday, with the bonsai of Christian De Ross, our new found Brazilian bonsai hero. Yesterday it was small (Shohin) one handed bonsai. Today it’s one size up, sometimes called Katade-mochi . Still one handed (with the exception of the tree at the bottom), but a little big for shohin. Btw, these terms are from a Japanese classification systems that you might find useful (see below). Both tree shown here are Pyracantha.

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pyraflowers2

Same tree, different pot and with early summer flowers (the berries show up in the late summer and fall). As you can see the trunk is a little more obscured than in the photo above

pyraflowers

Once again, the same tree. Different background and the top of the trunk is now completely obscured. A little more like what you might expect

 

pyracat

Once more with berries. This time for cat lovers

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prya2hands

Different pyracantha. Looks like it's too big for one hand

 

bonsai sizes

Bonsai sizes. Courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia

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A Bonsai in Hand…

cparth

When it comes to fall color, this little Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) puts on a pretty good show, with the contrasting brilliance of the pot and leaves being nothing short of spectacular. All the trees shown in this post are by Cristian De Ross, a first timer here on Bark.
I always feel a little lucky when I stumble upon superior Shohin bonsai. Especially when they’re hand held. The hand gives perspective on size without the distraction of the awkward drink cans you sometimes see. In this case the superior Shohin belong to Christian De Ross. Christian lives in Caxias do Sul, Brasil. You can see more of his remarkable shohin and other bonsai here

 

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ctri

This tasty little Trident maple presents another case of pot/leaf color awareness

 

cuni

Christian calls this one Nativa não identificada (Unidentified native tree) and refers to the pot as Vaso izumi (Vaso is Portuguese for pot and Izumi, which means spring or fountain in Japanese, refers a type of Tokoname bonsai pot)

 

cjun

A sweet little Shimpaku juniper. Would you remove the little branch growing in toward the trunk?

 

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