Research Paper Example on Bonsai Tree

Published: 2021-07-01
1198 words
5 pages
10 min to read
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Research paper
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The Japanese brought to perfection the art of growing dwarf plants. Each sapling requires a master of many years of work, attention and patience. This art developed by Buddhists who believed that a man who breeds a bonsai is equated with God, because in their vision the world looks like a Buddha's garden, where he is a gardener.

The Japanese garden is an organic part of the whole Japanese culture, at the base of which lies an amazing synthesis of the national Shinto religion and a special kind of Buddhism - the Zen philosophy. Zen preached the inseparable unity of man with the space, nature, spirit. The Japanese garden embodies one simple and great idea in its simplicity - man is a part of nature. Therefore, the Japanese garden, just like nature, cannot be either "old" or "new." The rules of laying down the Japanese gardens, the location of all the elements were formulated in the Middle Ages and remained unshakable until now. They develop, are enriched, vary, but the essence remains the same: the garden is the embodiment of ideas about the eternal, full of symbolic riddles and metaphors. In the Japanese garden you cannot run, have breakfast or play ball. People created it for contemplation and meditation.

The Japanese like to see at the stones and water for a long time, which, in their opinion, have magical powers. Unbroken contemplation and admiring the beauty of nature allows you to forget about the hardships of everyday life, relax and come to a mental equilibrium. In one of the ancient Japanese myths, the deity of the Ishumo land, realizing that the land that he controlled, was small, decided to increase its limits. But not at the expense of the conquest customary to Europeans, it simply took and attracted other territories with its mythological rope. So did the Japanese and with nature, "pulled" to their dwelling part of the natural world, while greatly reducing its size (Yagi, 82). So in the Heian times there were famous Japanese ornamental gardens - a miniature cast from wildlife. In these gardens there are also the sea, and islands, and mountains, and rivers, and forests.

The formation of the foundations of Japanese gardening occurred under the influence of the evolution of Japanese architecture, as well as religious and philosophical representations of the Japanese nobility. Initially, the garden was an integral part of the residences of aristocrats, but later it was borrowed by Buddhist monasteries and notable samurais. Since the XIX century, it has spread among Japanese commoners, becoming an integral part of many private homes. In the XX century, the construction of Japanese-style gardens became popular outside of Japan. If in the Middle Ages the presence of a garden near the house indicated the social status of the family, so now this place can be considered as a corner for philosophy and thoughts (Rutledge, 2009). The Japanese garden is a small corner of natural nature, consisting of five components: the spiritual - the idea - and the four material - stones, water, plants and architectural elements denoting the connection between man and nature. The idea of creating a Japanese garden is based on the concepts of Eastern religion and philosophy, which is expressed in various compositional solutions. This is a garden of hills, ponds and islands; it is also a place for tea ceremonies, walks, a philosophical garden and other Japanese gardens with varying degrees of complexity.

The care of bonsai trees fascinated people for thousands years. Although, sometimes we do not understand why people spend thousands of dollars just to grow a tiny tree. A few things may help such people in discovering the serenity and mystical appeal that many find in the bonsai tree. It is both a hobby of challenge and of aesthetics.

Bonsai trees gradually became the subject of collecting from wealthy merchants, samurai and officials. The word pensai eventually transformed into bonsai, although its essence has not changed. Samurais liked to meditate contemplating nature, it calmed the nerves and helped to understand themselves, and dwarf trees were suitable for this as well as possible. To be popular bonsai became in the XVI-XVII centuries with the development of foreign trade in Japan. By that time, Chinese masters had developed about thirty styles. The Japanese perfected them and began to develop the art of miniature trees themselves.

Despite the fact that the art of bonsai has spread all over the world, the leader in the number of masterpieces still remains Asia. Not surprisingly, the most famous and impressive trees are in the collections of Japanese masters. One such tree is the 800-year-old tree in the Shunkaen museum, the owner is Kunio Kobuyashi. Also to the list of famous bonsai trees can be attributed Japanese white pine, which is more than 400 years old. This tree was under the supervision of the Yamaki family and was looked after by 6 generations! But its peculiarity is that the tree was in Hiroshima in 1945. It survived and was later donated to the National Museum in Washington.

One of the modern people who grow bonsai today is Matthew Quinn, a gardener from the Montreal Botanical Gardens and a big fan of miniature trees, lived in China for six months to study this art, much less known than bonsai. He loved trees from childhood, spent a lot of time in the woods: "The trees amaze me with their strength, ability to adapt, I like to grow a tree in a pot, and it will resemble big trees."

Matthew Quinn was interested in breeding miniature trees in pots, and after many years of growing small trees he decided to make his hobby a profession and earn it for living. This dream was embodied only partially, because the botanical garden hired him as an employee only for the summer seasons.

For more than four decades, the interest in bonsai that has flared up in various parts of the world has not weakened (Terry, 6). Today, museums and collections of this undying art have appeared in Spain, Italy, Australia, Thailand.

In 1974, President R. Nixon, who first visited China, receives a collection of Chinese mini-trees as a gift. In 1975 in Washington appears one more collection - from 53 compositions of bonsai, presented by the Japanese government to the 200 anniversary of formation of the USA. These two collections served as the basis for the opening of the National Museum Penjing and Bonsai in the country's capital. One of the best national collections of Japan's bonsai, Juppu-An, is in Nagano Prefecture and annually opens its doors to tens of thousands of tourists from all over the country. It is led by the world-famous bonsai master Sh. Suzuki, who, according to experts, has become a link between classical and modern design; This museum constantly updates its exposition. Here are unique bonsai, representing a variety of design schools. The whole space of the museum is divided into five zones, symbolically representing the main parts of the country, their plants and aesthetic trends in garden art.

Works cited

Yagi, Koji A Japanese Touch for Your Home (Kodansha 1982)

Andy Rutledge, "Bonsai Display 101", The Art of Bonsai Project. Accessed 18 July 2009.

Terry, Thomas Philip, F.R.G.S. Terry's Japanese Empire. Houghton Mifflin Company.

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