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Bonsai Galleries

Worlds Within Worlds 2: White Pines
& Other Insights

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.

White Pine 1

Nary a needle out of place on this white pine. Such meticulous arrangement of the shoots is a very time consuming process. The lack of visible structure lends this bonsai a youthful appearance.

White Pine 2

The visible stucture of the branches gives this white pine the image of a very large tree. This is because of the evocative perspective we often encounter when standing under a great tree.

White Pine 3

Now, the tree is still quite young, in bonsai terms. In the distant future, the structure will become more open and the design more interesting and evocative.

White Pine 4

This pine could well be a 80' tall tree at the foot of a mountain. This old collected specimen presents a very evocative image, due, in-part, to the visible structure under the foliage pads.

White Pine 5

This old white pine has a rare quality. It is at the same time powerful, tranquil and profound, yet elegant.

White Pine 6

The chopstick marker in the soil of the pot indicates that this bonsai is soon to be redesigned. It is an old specimen that presents a subtle, humble image.

Other Insights

This series was photographed entirely in Japan. Many thanks to Boon Manakitivipart for allowing the use of these photos.

A brace of beautiful beech potensai

When looking at such an array of bonsai at a nursery, it becomes quite clear that the grower is a formidable technician. This work shows evidence of great skill and great patience.

The beautiful base of a Chinese quince

A terrific surface root structure and skillful placement of the moss on a quince being readied for a show. Notice how the artist used cleverly placed lighter colored moss to highlight the network of surface roots.

Ancient pine bark formation

Ancient bark like this cannot be faked. It comes only from centuries of growth.

An evocative hillside planting

This is one of the more distinctive bonsai in existence. The result of the artist's work is quite evocative.

A spectacular array of bonsai in a nursery yard

A portion of a top bonsai nursery in Japan. Few or none of these trees are owned by the nursery. They're instead owned by the artist's clients.