Carpe Diem #1156 Bonsai, the Japanese Tree-scaping Art

Carpe Diem #1156 Bonsai, the Japanese Tree-scaping Art

This month at Carpe Diem I’m exploring the “Motherland” of haiku, Japan.

Today we are taking a look Bonsai – Japanese Tree-scaping Art

Bonsai  “tray planting” is a Japanese art form using trees grown in containers.

Similar practices exist in other cultures, including the Chinese tradition of penjing from which the art originated, and the miniature living landscapes of Vietnamese.


Photo Credit – Japanese Black Pine in an informal style.

The Japanese tradition dates back over a thousand years. “Bonsai” is a Japanese pronunciation of the earlier Chinese term penzai.

Bonsai aesthetics are the aesthetic ( aesthetic meaning a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty, and taste, with the creation and appreciation of beauty), goals and characteristics of the Japanese tradition in the art of growing a miniature tree in a container.

Many Japanese cultural characteristics, particularly the influence of Zen Buddhism and the expression of wabi or sabi, inform the bonsai tradition in that culture.


Photo Credit – Japanese tea house which reflects the wabi-sabi aesthetic in Kenroku-en Ishikawa, Japan.

My tanka poem using the study of Bonsai – Japanese tree-scaling as inspiration.

bonsai trees beauty

miniature trees air of age

showing graceful bows

feeling like an ant moving

through the blades of grass slowly


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