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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 form.

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 pots.

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.



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