The idea behind the art of bonsai ...
For the Japanese exists, without no doubt, a link between Bonsai, Nature, Man
and God. This fact origins in the Zen Buddhist philosophy in which the
simplicity and minimalism is the main expression. This simplicity should
be applied when a new bonsai is being styled, process that nowadays
has been refined by the Japanese and Chinese. Some of the bonsai philosphy principles
(excerpt of "Bonsai No Kokoro" - "The spirit and philosophy
of bonsai" by Saburo Kato):
"Bonsai is enlightenment and brings peace."
"Bonsai lovers appreciate the beauty of nature."
"Nature should inspire you to portray it's utmost beauty, so you have to learn from nature."
Bonsai, which, by the way, is pronounced "Boun-sai", means
—planted in a bowl— or —in bowl planted tree miniature—.
Don't forget that Bonsai is a living art. Bonsais are often compared with
painters' or architects' creations, they work with oil colors, marble and metal,
Bonsai artists work with wood, bark, leafs and colors. The observer sees the
beauty in the combination of the bowl, the plant, the color and the
Nobody knows exactly where this art was born, first bonsai where probably raised
in ancient China where they are known as "Pen-jing"
or "Punsai". Researching ancient scripts have shown
that a man named Fei Jiang Feng was able to create nature-miniatures
with little trees. He is to be placed in the Han dynasty, 200 b. C.
Other scripts dated between 3rd and 4th century a. C. describe that
little Bamboo's, pines and other plants were grown in pots.
Many different cultures have cultivated the combination between Nature, human culture
and gardening. Among others, in the ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia
and in the hinduistic India potted plants were raised and modeled. People
learned of their experience transporting plants over long distances
and the fact that plants only survived if they were planted in big enough
Today, for many people the art of raising bonsai trees is more than a hobby.
As you will know on your own, the joy you experience, pruning your favorite
tree or finding a new plant and convert it into a Bonsai, has nearly
no limits. It relaxes, you forget everything else and concentrate on
the difficult task you are carrying out.