Bon: tray, pot.

Sai: trees, plant trees.

Japanese: 盆栽

Bonsai is a tree planted in a pot, a tray, pruned and shaped according to a special method, full of aesthetic elements and natural impressions available, or in other words, a Bonsai is a tree or a tree. The group of plants in nature is shrunk by a few inches but still has the ancient features, grown in pots, trays or on rocks with a separate technique and art. That’s why people say Bonsai is an art, a living work, or a living sculpture.

The beauty in Bonsai is simple, adequate, and the most important is to suggest and suggest something rather than affirmation. The Japanese often compare bonsai with their classical poem “Hai-Kai” which has only 17 syllables, expressing in a concise and hidden way a feeling or a spiritual state of abundance and intensity.

There is also the notion that bonsai is a unique art form because it is the harmony between art and horticulture. Some people say that bonsai is the art of beauty, others say that bonsai is a characteristic form of horticulture.

In short, depending on the concept, while this person considers bonsai as one of the most sacred and meaningful ways of life of thought, philosophy, and religion, others see it as just a leisure time. idle.


Bonsai is a feature of Japan, but the cradle of this art originated in China.

Ancient paintings and sculptures showing miniature ornamental plants existed in China during the Qin Dynasty, Third Century AD. Ancient Song Dynasty paintings (960 -1280) depicting dwarf plants in pots used for interior decoration. These are real dwarf trees in nature that have been molded by the wind and snow and are planted in pots.

Chinese culture had a profound influence on Japanese culture throughout the 8th century AD, and it seems that the Japanese viewed bonsai as an art at that time, but documentation at this early stage is scarce. There is a Bonsai brochure from the 6th century AD and scrolls from the 13th century, depicting the growth of potted plants, showing that bonsai is an art. After that, Bonsai appeared a lot in Japanese painting and literature.

Bonsai appears in the painting Kasugaaoongen – Gengi by Takakane Takasshina painted in 1309 in Kasuga Shrine, Kamakura period (1192 – 1333).

A famous Nong opera called Hachi-no-ki (potted plant) featured this ornamental plant. This period was heavily influenced by Zen on art and daily life. Religious themes inspired the creation of Bonsai, which are displayed outdoors as religious symbols of nature rather than living art forms.

By the Muromachi period (1334 – 1573), the artistically purely Japanese Zen nuances began to appear. Zen thought is expressed in architecture, landscape creation, flower arrangement, tea ceremony, etc. Bonsai of this time are smaller in size and are displayed indoors.

The Tokugawa period (1603 – 1867) also known as the Edo period was the golden age of bonsai recorded in many illustrated books, combined with the Buddhist philosophy of merging the self with nature led to the development of techniques. techniques in the art of bonsai. Professional bonsai collectors appeared, looking for beautiful natural dwarf trees on the rugged mountains and cliffs of islands. Bonsai is often used as a subject in painting, woodcarving, Haiku poetry, tea ceremony, flower arrangement… The deep and delicate silence, the discreetly beautiful shape and lines are typical of bonsai of this time.

During the Meiji period (1868-1912), there was a technique of winding metal wires to bend tree trunks. During the 1870s and 1880s the West began to admire. In 1914, the first bonsai exhibition was held in Tokyo. And from 1934 onwards, there is an annual exhibition of bonsai works organized by the Tokyo Art Central Museum.

Bonsai business in the nursery industry in many parts of Japan, there are hundreds of thousands of young bonsai trees planted for sale.

For a long time bonsai was a pastime of the nobility. Today it is considered as an art and also a pastime of everyone.

Art is a process of bringing a message to a unified world by depicting the true face of life in aesthetic constructs constructed according to the concept of beauty and perfection. Eastern civilization places art in a more dignified position than Western civilization. Bonsai is symbolized as an art form in a perceptive style with a more abstract means of spiritual expression. Bonsai has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries, and each era has different reviews. Pine, bamboo, peach apricot appear first, followed by rhododendron, tea. The Japanese maple tree appeared in the 17th century. In the 19th century, many books were written about hybrid trees with beautiful foliage. Since then, the tree has a special leaf shape that is also noticed.

By the 20th century, bonsai was really introduced to Europe, America, Australia, but there were books written about Bonsai in European countries in the late 19th century. In 1909, in England a Bonsai exhibition was held. office. In the US, Bonsai quickly gained popularity after the Second World War. A huge Bonsai technology is developing in CA. In recent decades, all continents have also shown interest in bonsai through bonsai associations established in many localities, including central. There are many bonsai collections in Botanical Gardens around the world. The demand for tools, equipment, technical manuals is increasing day by day. The book “The Art of Japanese Bonsai” by Yuki Yoshimura and Giovanna M. Halford has been reprinted over 30 times. The book “Technology of Bonsai” by Le Cong Kiet and Nguyen Thien Tich has been reprinted over 10 times.

In Vietnam, the first Bonsai technical training class was held at the General University in March 1991, since then there have been many books and articles written about Bonsai and Bonsai has become a widespread phenomenon. Even in Ninh Hoa, many bonsai artists appeared, they went to the deep mountains with the same cup, the cliffs to collect and bring home. They also go to Phu Yen to hunt and buy. Bonsai has become even more popular in recent years thanks to the help of some overseas Vietnamese fans who have sent money to invest, from which beautiful bonsai gardens have sprouted.

Before 1975, when I went to Long Son island in Ba Ria province, the islanders both had long hair and braided their hair. They worshiped Saint Tran at the largest church on the island called Nha Lon. a house overlooking the sea. The front yard is very large, displaying nearly 50 large potted plants, the beautiful ornamental plants with beautiful foliage like ancient trees are shrunk in pots, but the life expectancy according to the islanders must be 100 years or more. Many Australian soldiers have come here to ask for a very high price, or to exchange for anything the islanders want, but the islanders consistently refuse to use the excuse that they are the Treasures of worshiping Saint Tran handed down by their ancestors. On the other hand, as descendants, they have the duty to protect and preserve. Hearing the story told me was so inspiring!

In recent years, in addition to the collections in China and Japan, there are four main collections on display: The American bonsai collection garden in Washington, D.C., a gift from Japan to the US in 1976, The Brooklyn Botanical Garden in New York, the Montréal Botanical Garden in Canada and the Bonsai Museum in Heileberg Germany are among the best in Europe with many wonderful works.

Post Author: Vinh Ho

(Orlando, October 14, 2003)