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Worlds Within Worlds 2: Black Pines

by Andy Rutledge | Photos by Boon Manakitivipart

Bonsai at its highest level is a fine art. But fine art begins with great craft. Westerners aspiring toward bonsai art excellence would do well to follow the craftsmanship found in excellent bonsai examples.

This presentation, the second in a series, showcases excellent bonsai from the very best artists in the world.

I sincerely hope you enjoy them.

Black Pine 1

Notice the powerful surface rootage and terrific bark texture. This is an example of the moyogi form.

Black Pine 2

This is a very old and mature specimen. The ropes are to keep the bonsai on the stand in the event of an earthquake.

Black Pine 3

Stout and robust exemplifies black pine bonsai. This specimen is in excellent health and of excellent quality.

Black Pine 4

This is an old pine, but it is not quite mature as a bonsai. In time the foliage will greatly increase in densiy and the tree will take on a more elegant quality.

Black Pine 5

An interesting collected pine. There is a very ancient and natural quality to this bonsai. In time, when the branches match the quality of the trunk it will present an even more impressive image.

Black Pine 6

The poweful roots, the ancient and heavy bark and the emerald green of the foliage. These qualities epitomize black pine bonsai. Even on this rather "regular" shaped tree, the quality stands out.

Black Pine 7

This pine makes for a powerful statement. The only lacking quality is in the bark. When the bark matures (over a long time) this could be a top specimen.

Black Pine 8

This pine recently won the Kokufu Prize. It is a wonderful example of pine bonsai and a living testament to the fine work of the late Kihachiro Kamiya and his students.

Black Pine 9

This powerful pine is very old and quite refined. Nonetheless, the artist is continuing to work on improving the bonsai. Notice the young shoots at the base. They are likely there as root development grafts.

Black Pine 10

This is a mature speciemen. Powerful but elegant. The maturity of the tree is evident in the profusion of branches and shoots coupled with the aged bark and excellent surface root structure.

Black Pine 11

This powerful pine looks quite old, but it is still early in bonsai development. The artist's craft has laid an excellent foundation. One day this will be quite an awesome bonsai.

Black Pine 12

This pine is rather plain, but it is still a fine speciemen. Notice how full the canopy is and the excellent health of the foliage. That alone makes this an outstanding bonsai.

Black Pine 13

This powerful and mildly dynamic pine is an example of the moyogi form. The trunk is quite old, but as a bonsai this tree is still in the early to mid stage of development.

This pine is a good example of the important traits of a good black pine bonsai; powerful trunk, aged bark, strong rootage, strong and dark green foliage. Notice how compact the growth is.