The bonsai tree originated thousands of years ago in China. Here it was called a bun-sai and the art was of a very basic level. Yet over time, as artists became more skilled and passed on their techniques, Bonsai evolved and artists began to create more complex works.
As Japan adopted the cultural traditions of China, the bonsai tree was further developed and desired. Bonsai was introduced to Japan during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), the period known for the development of the samurai solider and the widening practice of Buddhism.
Here, the Japanese monks and their monasteries cultivated the art of Bonsai. Soon after, the practice spread to the aristocracy, with Bonsai often indicative of great wealth, prestige and honour. The art of Bonsai only spread to the lower echelons of society, at a much later time.
Since the art forms conception, Bonsai designs and practices have greatly changed. Their symbolic meaning too, will often vary depending upon the cultural and geographical context. Eastern philosophy, for example, views Bonsai as symbolic of the relationship between man, soul and earth, due the delicate balance of sunlight and water needed to survive.
Shaped by geographical, spiritual and religious influences, the practice of Bonsai will continue to reflect cultural shifts though time.
If you would like to find out more about the art of Bonsai or are considering purchasing your own, get in contact with the team at Boutique Bonsai, Sydney’s most experienced and passionate Bonsai artists. Phone:0416241930 today or make an enquiry here.