Bonsai Tree History

Practiced for centuries in China and Japan, Bonsai is the reproduction of natural tree forms in miniature. bonsai trees are living miniature trees which increase in beauty and value as they mature over the years, bringing hours of enjoyment which many other gifts simply cannot rival!  

The History of Bonsai trees can be traced back to the earliest documented proof of bonsai which was discovered in the tomb of Prince Zhang Huai, who died in 706 during the Tang Dynasty. Two wall paintings discovered in the tomb show servants carrying plants resembling bonsai. In one of the paintings a servant is seen carrying a miniature landscape and in the other painting a servant is shown carrying a pot containing a bonsai tree.

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Contrary to popular belief, bonsai is not the art of stunting a tree's growth. The characters for "bonsai" translate, roughly, to "pot" and "to plant." As such, bonsai tree history shows us it is the art of growing trees in a confined space (usually a pot or a tray) to simulate certain environmental conditions such as great age, extreme weathering, twisted or contorted form, landscape, or other factors. Accordingly, bonsai are modeled on, and often take inspiration from, nature. The idea of a bonsai trees is to recreate some of nature's most stunning and beautiful effects on trees in a reduced scale.

With the end of World War II, Bonsai started to gain in popularity in the west with soldiers returning from Japan with bonsai in tow sparking western interest in the art. The large Japanese-American population was invaluable to Americans in this respect. Their knowledge in the art of growing bonsai trees was of great interest to many Americans learning the art. Today, bonsai are sold over the internet, in department stores, garden centers, nurseries and many others places.

When undertaking bonsai, you are beginning an experience that will expand your horizons in countless ways. You may find a new sense of appreciation for nature, you may start looking at trees, bushes and shrubs differently.  How the art of bonsai will change you is as unpredictable as nature itself, but be assured of one thing: Bonsai will change the way that you look at things.

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