The other day I was visiting a friend, he had a friend over and they were talking about plants and landscaping for aquariums. The friend of my friend then started to tell me about Bonsai tress and proceeded to show me pictures of his collection.
I would leave my friend’s house thinking about what I had been shown earlier and why it had been shown to me. Early the next morning about 4.30, I went on a website the brother spoke about in his introduction of Bonsai to me, to find out more about Bonsai. After browsing through the site, looking at images of Bonsai trees, I started to feel drawn to the works of art I saw within them. Fascinated by what I was seeing I decided to research the history of Bonsai trees.
In my research I found that Bonsai is a Japanese art form that has transcended from the Chinese art of Penjing over a thousand years ago. As an art form, Penjing has been around for over a thousand years. The earliest historical records of a scene created in a tray container using stones and plants date from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Penjing artists draw their inspiration from nature and other arts associated with nature such as painting and poetry. By the early years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) the art of Penjing had become very popular and the first manuals appeared. With this increasing popularity, however, more commercial, folkloristic and regionally defined strands of Penjing sprang up alongside the more sophisticated, artistic forms. In addition to aesthetically refined Penjing, one could find trees whose trunks had been coiled to represent dragons, or whose canopies were designed to depict cloud layers, or trees shaped to resemble the strokes of fortuitous characters. The variations were endless.
Bonsai utilizes horticultural techniques along with artistic applications to cultivate miniature replicas of trees as they’re found in nature. The tradition has been refined over the last millennium to reflect the aesthetic qualities found in nature through balance, simplicity and harmony. The aesthetic element of age is also predominantly symbolized in bonsai, utilizing various techniques applied to the design and cultivation of each creation by the artist. Symbolism is also employed to describe the relationship between the stylized bonsai and trees found in nature.
In bonsai, simplicity is found in the design of the tree as well as the container that houses the tree. Even the color of the pot or container is in a neutral tone which expresses simplicity found in nature. Bonsai predominantly focuses on the principles of aesthetics. It simply states that nature and creation should remain free from unnecessary ornamentation and the bonsai showpiece should remain as the focal point of the piece.
Bonsai pieces, no matter how simple or profound, has a sense of simplicity. The piece is usually the center point and the grower or bonsai master uses artistic skills in deviating the eyes of the beholder to look at the simple beauty of bonsai. From the intricate aerial roots, the curves and creases of the trunk to the lovely plumes of leaves and flowers, there is balance and simplicity in the bonsai design. There’s no need to use a colorful pot or add ornamental elements on the soil. The tree is already strikingly-beautiful on its own.
After delving some more into the symbolism and aesthetic’s of Bonsai, it then hit me, and I knew what would be my new hobby. I really should not call it a hobby as I can see that it will be a spiritual journey of sorts. I have some more studying to do soon I will be ready for my first Bonsai tree.
If you would be interested in attending a workshop on Bonsai contact me at email@example.com or whatsapp me at 260-4795. Should four or more of you be interested in this workshop, I will try to arrange one with the brother that introduced it to me.
Here are some Bonsai trees that I really love.