Bonsai Tree History
Bonsai trees have a great history. Here’s what’s known about them:
About a thousand years ago (or two thousand years ago depending on whom you talk to), the Chinese came up with a type of pot plant that they called ‘pun-sai’. This is the forerunner to the more sculpted tree that we know of today. This type of tree was less sculpted, and more allowed to be wild. They looked like dragons with their crazy, wicked branches and they were highly regarded (and they still are).
Many of the Japanese traditions came from China, and in that came the Bonsai tree. The Bonsai seems to have first appeared in Japan around the year 1000AD, perhaps a little later. Zen Buddhism was the main group that took up Bonsai creating. The Zen Buddhists were moving rapidly through that part of the world, and this took Bonsai with it.
In Japan, they took the art of Bonsai to a new level. People learnt how to style the trees to look like proper trees, and this was a very popular activity.
As all things do, the art of Bonsai spread like crazy, and before long the Bonsai became a symbol of wealth and power, and the Bonsai tree was a collectable item. They were offerings to those in command.
Over time and especially in the 17th and 18th century the pruning and real structure that we know now really became set in stone. The Japanese continued to lead the way, however with globalization just starting to happen (in that ancient, let’s go around the world in a sailing ship sort of way) the Bonsai moved off shore and into new lands.
The Bonsai tree history has moved very rapidly in the last few years. With the advent of the internet, many many people are beginning to take up the art of Bonsai.