of Bonsai Trees
Everybody has heard of the Bonsai tree but very few people know
anything about the history of the miniature shrub or where the tradition
Bonsai is a Japanese term which, in its native language, translates
to mean "tray gardening". This term describes exactly what bonsai
is as it is a tree which is grown in a small pot or tub enabling
it to be kept indoors. These trees are not always genetically predisposed
to be small and so they are kept this way through careful pruning.
The ability to care for a bonsai tree, keeping it small and healthy,
is an art form in itself. The trees are commonly pruned in to an
aesthetically pleasing shape, another reason why they are seen as
works of art and not just as plants.
The term bonsai is widely known and understood and yet the art
was originally found in China, by the name of penjing. The Japanese
art of bonsai stemmed from this and so is actually more modern than
the Chinese. However, the Japanese version is the one which is more
Discoveries have been made in Egyptian tombs of sketches showing
miniature trees in pots. These are thought to have been kept for
decorative purposes and the pictures date back to 4000 years ago!
After this time there is evidence to suggest that trees were transported
in the caravans of Asia as they travelled around as they were used
for their medicinal properties should someone have fallen ill.
The art of bonsai as we know it stems from the Chinese art of
penjing, which is a 2000 year old tradition. It was brought to Japan
somewhere between the 7th - 9th centuries by the Imperial Embassies
to Tang China. Initially it was enjoyed only by the nobility and
was not a hobby which was enjoyed by the masses. However, over time
it began to filter down through the social hierarchy and became
something which much of the population enjoyed.
The practise of pruning and shaping miniature trees is still in
place in both China and Japan. However, the Chinese tend to keep
them for outdoor displays and so, although still smaller than normal
trees, they are somewhat larger than the Japanese versions, who
create the pieces of art to be displayed primarily in the home.
For anyone considering turning their hand to this hobby, it is
well worth reading up on the subject beforehand as the trees require
careful nurturing. It is not just the leaves which require trimming,
the roots need to be tended to also and the amount of water they
require is practically an art form in itself. Information on this
is widely available on the Internet, meaning that anyone serious
about trying this should be able to do so successfully.
About the Author
The author is a regular contributor to Bonsai
Supply where more information about bonsai trees, plants, pots
and other bonsai supplies is freely available