Bonsai Gardening Secrets. Bonsai Arrives in Japan from Chinese culture.

The practice of bonsai is sometimes confused with dwarfing, but dwarfing generally refers to research, discovery, or creation of plant cultivars that are permanent, genetic miniatures of existing species.

Bonsai does not require genetically dwarfed trees, but rather depends on growing small trees from regular stock and seeds.

Bonsai uses cultivation techniques like pruning, root reduction, potting, defoliation, and grafting to produce small trees that mimic the shape and style of mature, full-size trees.
Bonsai Arrives In Japan From Chinese Culture.

Bonsai Gardening Secrets.

This indicated use of a fairly deep pot, rather than the shallow pot denoted by the eventual term bonsai. Hachi no Ki (The Potted Trees) is also the title of a Noh play by Zeami Motokiyo (1363–1444), based on a story c. 1383 about an impoverished samurai who burns his last three potted trees as firewood to warm a traveling monk.

The monk is a disguised official who later rewards the samurai for his actions. In later centuries, woodblock prints by several artists depicted this popular drama. There was even a fabric design of the same name. Through these and other popular media, bonsai became known to a broad Japanese population.
Through these and other popular media, bonsai became known to a broad Japanese population.

Bonsai cultivation.

Bonsai cultivation reached a high level of expertise in this period. Bonsai dating to the 17th century have survived to the present. One of the oldest-known living bonsai trees, considered one of the National Treasures of Japan, can be seen in the Tokyo Imperial Palace collection.

A five-needle pine (Pinus pentaphylla var. negishi) known as Sandai-Shogun-No Matsu is documented as having been cared for by Tokugawa Iemitsu.The tree is thought to be at least 500 years old and was trained as a bonsai by, at latest, the year 1610.
Read also: Bonsai Gardening Secrets: The art he describes has its origin in the chinese empire.
By the end of the 18th century, bonsai cultivation in Japan was becoming widespread and began to interest the general public. In the Tenmei era (1781–88), an exhibit of traditional dwarf potted pines began to be held every year in Kyoto. Connoisseurs from five provinces and neighboring areas would bring one or two plants each to the show in order to submit them to visitors for ranking.
Ulmus minor Mill. is by far the most polymorphic of the European species, although its taxonomy remains a matter of contention.


Along with China, Japan also plays an important role in the history of Bonsai, having been introduced during the Heian period from 794 to 1191 through Zen Buddhist monks.

The Japanese adopted most of China’s cultural trademarks, quickly influencing the fine art for which Japan is so famous, something the Chinese had not yet achieved.
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Eventually, the Bonsai trees expanded beyond the Buddhists monks and monasteries, reaching to the representative of the aristocracy where they became a symbol of honor and prestige.

As this transition occurred, the philosophies and ideologies of the Bonsai changed dramatically. For example, with the Japanese, the Bonsai is associated with strong ancient beliefs whereas Eastern philosophies believe Bonsai to be a harmonious connection between man, the soul, and nature.
For many, it is believed that growing Bonsai in Japan during the Kamakura period was something done by the influential class. 

For many, it is believed that growing Bonsai in Japan during the Kamakura period was something done by the influential class. This belief is based on a translation taken from an ancient Japanese scroll that reads, “To appreciate and find pleasure in curiously curved potted trees is to love deformity.

Then by the 14th Century with the Chinese invasion of Japan, the Bonsai was established as a sophisticated form of art. For the elite people of Japan, Bonsai would be potted and then displayed indoors, often adorning a home while sitting on a specially designed shelve. However, at this time, the Bonsai was still a wild tree, one not yet trimmed and pruned.

The popularity of the Bonsai.

The popularity of the Bonsai continued until the 17th and 18th Centuries, at which time they were at the peak of popularity.

To refine the appearance of this tree, the majority of the tree was removed, leaving only the essential elements, which was in alignment of the Japanese philosophy of simple beauty. Interestingly, we know there was Chinese influence on the early Bonsai masters because the characters used to represent Bonsai are the same in Japanese form as in Chinese.

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2 commenti :

  1. Excellent series of articles on the origin of bonsai.

    1. Thank you very much for commenting and participating in the disclosure of bonsai Hugo. Regards.