Make a Statement— Jin your Bonsai!

Make a Statement— Jin your Bonsai!

Posted by Bonsai Outlet on 18th Mar 2014

Deadwood on a bonsai in the form of Jin adds an effectively realistic feature to a bonsai design. Jins on trees in nature are naturally created when branches are broken by strong winds, by the weight of snow or by lightning strikes. When styling a bonsai, branches that are not required as part of the foliage mass can instead be used to create Jin; the use of Jin on a bonsai implies to the viewer an increased age and shows the struggle of the tree to survive which symbolizes the balance between life and death. Mimicking the harsh conditions found at higher elevations, the trees bark is bleached by the sun over the years. Jin mimics this condition and offers a beautiful opportunity to increase the appeal of your bonsai.

Unfortunately, though the process of creating a Jin is straightforward, its design can be difficult. A successful Jin must look natural; a Jin that has been done hastily can ruin your bonsai’s appearance. For Jin to be successful, it must look as though it has been created by nature in order to compliment and not detract from the tree. The Jin should communicate to the viewer a story or scenario from life; it should look as if the tree has endured the struggle of the elements.

Take into consideration the size of the tree that is to be Jinned. A large Jin could overwhelm the tree. As such, you will want to plan carefully to use only the best portions of the dead branch. Also take into consideration the natural flow of the wood on the bonsai. Following the grain prevents artificial and ugly looking Jins. Using hand tools to Jin your bonsai will provide hours of contemplative pleasure without risking damage with power tools.

The driftwood effect of a proper Jin can be created by a bonsai artist much quicker than nature by removing bark from the trunk and branches with a sharp knife and applying a solution of lime sulpher to bleach the wood an appealing white. The Lime sulpher is applied undiluted to the dead wood, once in the summer and then again in the winter. The benefit of lime sulpher is incomparable for the Jin technique. First, it bleaches the wood giving the impression of great age. Second, it preserves and protects the dead wood from fungus and insects.

When working with lime sulpher, you must be sure that you are in a properly ventilated area and are adequately protected with goggles and gloves. Clean the dead wood before applying the lime sulpher with a paintbrush on a hot, dry day to insure that it will be absorbed. It is vital that the tree is protected from absorbing the lime sulpher into the soil as it may damage or even kill the tree. Do not water any areas that have been treated with the lime sulpher until it is dry as it would wash off and contaminate the soil. When your bonsai has been properly jinned, you should have a creation that is a wonder to behold, creating a sense of awe and wonder for the life-force that is so perseverant within creation.