Like many other plants and trees with unique characteristics, the bonsai tree has a rich history. And throughout its history, from long ago to where we are today, it has evolved dramatically. The bonsai tree’s story includes fascinating details which play a large part in the massive popularity of bonsai. Here, we’ll discuss some of the basics on the origin of the tree and where exactly it came from.
The Meaning Of Bonsai
Bonsai is a term derived from Japanese, meaning “planted in a shallow container.” “Bon” is specifically referring to the shallow container, whereas “sai” is referring to a planted tree. The inspiration behind the name comes from the fact that bonsai trees represent replicas of trees found in nature but on a much smaller scale due to their miniature size.
It also represents a type of art form that connects life and nature with beauty. This symbolism is a driving force behind the bonsai tree’s popularity. This is exemplified when a juniperus procumben, a type of bonsai tree, was featured in the film The Karate Kid. It was meant to reflect inner peace and to teach the protagonist the concept of peace throughout life.
Where They Originated
Bonsai trees originated from China before eventually transitioning to Japan and other parts of the region of Asia. Although these trees were first cultivated in 600 A.D., some believe they go as far back between 500-1000 B.C. Regardless, they were first implemented with spiritual practices like Buddhism before eventually being linked to many other art forms of life.
How They Acclimated With Western Culture
It wasn’t until the late 1960s that bonsai trees became more extensively researched and taught in Western culture. Their popularity increased in the Western region when people from Japan and China migrated to countries like the United States; and vice versa, people from the U.S. traveled to Asia to learn about bonsai trees in various nurseries. After a while, the popularity of these special plants spiked heavily through means of mass production. Bonsai trees became more recognizable everywhere, not just in certain regions.
Today, there are many different styles of bonsai trees, each influenced by a piece of history in bonsai’s long journey. Due to so many cultivation techniques being shared among various people, these trees will continue to add more to bonsai’s rich history as time goes on.
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At The Bonsai Resource Center, our goal is to equip you with everything you need to grow and maintain a truly beautiful bonsai tree. This is our passion, and we want it to be yours as well! Whether you are a bonsai beginner or are looking to hone your skills, check out our other articles and visit our shop for all your bonsai needs!