Japanese Natural Art Heritage: Bonsai Trees – History and Care

by ebazaar 9 September 2009 No Comment

Japan is one nation that can never be separated from nature. As a matter of fact, they take pride in nature. They see and define the natural environment around them as holy beings. To the Japanese, all of the elements of nature possess spirits and emotions, aligning some the similarity to that of a human attributes. One that had been taken into deep particular interest by the Japanese is the bonsai plants.


Bonsai in Japan


Bonsai is a type of small plant (any kind of small trees!) that is nurtured in a small pot served as an aesthetically harmonious container. The pot is usually made of ceramic and sometimes can be as deliberately designed as the bonsai plant itself. Being in a pot is exactly why the term ‘bonsai’ is named after this particular plant, because the term itself derived from two Japanese language syllables that literally mean – a tree in a pot. In this pot, this plant is being taken care of tactfully and has been subjected to a number of horticultural and sculptural techniques to give this small plant a tree like image. Most people would think that bonsai is a certain type of tree but it wasn’t. it could be any small tree but once it’s being nurtured and cultured in a pot, we can simply call it a bonsai. One famous type of starter tree is the Japanese Red Maple.

Previously I thought that bonsai is a plant that originally looks like the way it always was, but I guessed wrong. If not for proper care and knowledge, it is quite hard to maintain and keep a single bonsai healthy and attractive notably. Great skills and patience are needed to restrain the growth, and techniques include trimming of the roots, regulating the amount of water provided, and pruning the branches. This is also the reason why bonsai is considered as an art too with high heritage value.

Bonsai is something that gets better as it age more and more. If it’s taken properly, the bark texture, trunk paper, branch structure, fine twigs and so on will development wonderfully over a period of time, which can involve a great deal time actually. However, a poorly designed young tree can only become a poorly designed old tree, so if you’re thinking of ‘petting’ a bonsai, you should equip your bonsai knowledge of the basics right from the start.

History and Origin of bonsai

Many of Japanese cultural aspects are initially indebted to the ancient chinese elements, and so does the concept of bonsai. During the Han Dynasty (200 BC), the chinese temple murals were seen with drawings of miniature landscapes in shallow containers. That was the first pictorial records. Later the concept of single tree planting in a pot was discovered but when exactly is pretty unclear. It was then called as pun-sai, the chinese root of the Japanese word Bonsai. Through Zen Buddhism, which by attribute seen nature as divine, bonsai was introduced to the Japanese. It happened around the time of the Kamakura period (1185 -1333). You can read more detailed history of Bonsai.

Like I said, if you’re thinking of choosing bonsai as your new hobby, you’ve got no other way but to learn the basics about planting this natural beauties, right before getting started.

Check out this site to learn more – Bonsai for Beginners

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