Brief History of Bonsai
By: Atish Dipankar Sarker, CoE
Edited by: Virginia G. Mata, MA
Bonsai came into existence in China a thousand years ago. It was derived from the Chinese word “PUNSAI” which means the practice of growing single specimen trees in pots. These early specimens displayed thin foliage, rugged trunks and twisted branches which often looked like dragons, coiled serpents and birds.
Side by side with Japan’s adoption of Chinese culture, bonsai was also introduced in 1195 A.D. The introduction of the bonsai art in Japan gained a marked development and refinement which China did no attain. In the mid 19th century, after more than two centuries of isolation from the rest of the world, Japan became famous far and wide for the miniature trees in ceramic containers which mimicked the aged or mature trees in the nature.
The evolution of bonsai over the past two centuries is indeed great and wonderful – now a well known and respected horticultural art form that has sprawled throughout the globe from Europe, America, South Africa, Australia and the rest of Asia, where the Philippines is included.
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