What is Bonsai?
The word “Bonsai” (it is often misspelled as bonzai or banzai) is a Japanese term which means “Planted in a Container”.
“Bon” is a dish or thin bowl or a tray-like pot.
“Sai” is a tree or other growing plant which is to be planted.
“Bonsai” thus means “a tree which is planted in a shallow container“.
The goal for growing a Bonsai is to create a miniaturized (small) but realistic representation of nature in the form of a tree (miniature tree).
Bonsai Meaning is Explained in Different Ways…
- A profile that is not as detailed as a real tree but it has enough features to easily suggest a type of grown tree.
- Relative smallness, compared with those original trees, for ease of transport and ability to keep anywhere, particularly inside the home.
- A sense of naturalness which has been created by human intervention for landscape.
- A particular representation of something much more than itself, and allowing each viewer to interpret what is shown and to build upon based on someone’s experiences and memories.
Courtesy - 123rf
- Something held in such high regard and to be brought temporarily into the house for honored guests even though it contained soil from the garden.
Courtesy - Shutterstock
- A portable or transportable miniature tree / garden which can represent the seasons and favourite landscapes close at hand for meditation or contemplation (act of looking thoughtfully to something).
Courtesy - alleyesonshanghai
Containers for Bonsai
The containers for these miniature trees can be an interest in themselves. Traditionally made in China and then Japan, these shallow bonsai containers of mostly fired earthenware are increasingly crafted by both professional and amateur artisans around the world!
The matching up of a container to a designed bonsai tree can be a incredible challenge. The container must support the bonsai tree as well as be an attractive but non-intrusive frame to a “Bonsai picture”.
The ultimate goal of Bonsai is to create a realistic picture of nature. As a Bonsai tree gets smaller (few inches), it increasingly becomes abstract, resembling the nature in a more precise way!