Bon who? What’s Bonsai?
“The word “Bon-sai” (often misspelled as bonzai or banzai) is a Japanese term which, literally translated, means “planted in a container”. This art form is derived from an ancient Chinese horticultural practice, part of which was then redeveloped under the influence of Japanese Zen Buddhism.
It has been around for well over a thousand years. The ultimate goal of growing a Bonsai is to create a miniaturized but realistic representation of nature in the form of a tree. Bonsai are not genetically dwarfed plants, in fact, any tree species can be used to grow one.
In short, the definition of Bonsai can be explained as:
“Bon” [left character] is a dish or thin bowl (“a modified vessel which has been divided or cut down from a deeper form”).
“Sai” [right character] is a tree or other growing plant which is planted – “planted,” as would be a halberd or spear or pike stuck into the ground.
“Bonsai” thus means or denotes “a tree which is planted in a shallow container”.”
At the Museum
It was an amazing experience to see trees hundreds of years old and to have this art ably demonstrated by a Bonsai Master who had won many awards globally.
I also got to try out the wiring effect on a small tree – which lost a few leaves in the process and may never recover – but definitely showed this bonsai thingy was not as easy as it looked when the Master did it.
The shapes of the tree trunks became more and more intricate as they defied gravity yet flourished under the Master’s care.
Next up, what I did after I wired my tree 🙂