A bonsai [bɔn'saj] (from Chinese pen-saï盆栽via the Japanese, bonsai, spelled "bonzai" by the French Academy) is a tree or a plant in a pot. The word literally means a plant (usually a tree or shrub) grown on a shelf or in a pot (盆good mean cutting or tray and栽sai, plant). This tree is miniaturized by pruning and tying its branches and leaves. On the compost regularly to prune its roots in and the surface of the pot (the nebari) to make a work of art aesthetic resembling a tree in nature. The word bonsai is pronounced [bonsai] Japanese. In French, pronounced / bɔzaj.

The cultivation of plants in pots began in Egypt there are about 4 000 years, mainly for practical reasons, utility and mobility. The Greeks, Babylonians, Persians and Indians copied the technique. The Chinese were the first to cultivate trees in a pot but aesthetic, in the era of the Han dynasty (-206 to 220). At that time we did not yet have a bonsai but Penjing (pénjǐng盆景) (representation of a landscape in a cup). Soon after, under the Qin Dynasty (220 - 581) appear盆栽pénz (tree in a single cut).

For evidence of this art at that time, archaeologists have discovered in 1971 in the tomb of Zhang Huai prince who died in 705, under the Tang dynasty (618 to 907), a fresco painted on the walls of his grave. It represents two valets on, one a landscape in miniature and the other a vase in the shape of lotus containing a tree with green leaves and red berries.

The codification of the most famous bonsai in the West is that of Japan.

The art of bonsai won the Japan around the sixth and seventh centuries with the monks, who also brought Buddhism. This event is confirmed by the roll of famous Buddhist monk Honen Shonin of the Kamakura period (1192 to 1333), the representation of small trees lined up in cuts. But you must know that this works especially monk retrace life in the Heian period (794 to 1191). It is therefore reasonable to conclude that this art came to Japan later in the year 800.

Under the Yuan dynasty (1279 to 1368), ministers and merchants will bring Japanese trees in their country. But this art will be truly integrated in Japan that when a Chinese official, Chu Shun-sui, fleeing the Manchu domination in 1644, will carry his collection with him. He and introduce some Japanese culture to future potted trees called bonsai.

Long bonsai were reserved for dominant classes, feudal and religious, especially enjoying the colorful bonsai. Today, it is no longer the case and many Japanese engaged in the cultivation of bonsai, thus reviving the ancient traditions.

The first national exhibition of bonsai in Tokyo date of 1914. The culture of bonsai has been recognized as an art in Japan in 1934. Since then an annual exhibition is held at the Museum of Art in the capital.

In Europe, the bonsai was first introduced at the Third World Exhibition in Paris in 1878, then in a private exhibition in 1909 in London. The first reference to bonsai was made by Paul Sedille in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts in September 1878.

In 1902, Albert Maumene published the first test on bonsai.

In 1904, a slightly more serious was made by Henri Coupin. It can be seen on these records that bonsai had absolutely different forms of modern bonsai. Their current date of consolidation after the last World War and was mainly used by John Naka.

Although this form of culture potted tree existed in the Middle Ages in our regions (see orange), we had never attempted to recreate nature in small scale. There has only distant relations between the two types of cultures. We can not see bonsai as an art topiary although mainly Vietnamese bonsai at a time have submitted forms animal guided by son.

In the United States during and after the Second World War, bonsai are massively imported from Japan. From 1965, the bonsai will be imported in large quantities in Europe by Gerritt Lodder in the Netherlands and then by P. Lesniewicz in Germany. It was not until a few years and Remy Samson to see the bonsai make its appearance in France, where he will sweep marked in the mid-1980s.

The dimensions
Coupons are usually grouped into three categories on their size, many Japanese names accurately distinguish the different levels, but there are often "the number of hands needed to bring bonsai, as follows:

* Mame or Shôhin: bonsai to a high of 5 to 15 cm, often very exciting for amateurs, we often talk about "miniature bonsai." This size significantly limited the number of varieties that are likely to be worked mame, too large sheets that would be difficult reducible to give the tree a disproportion unsightly (some varieties prevalent: Buxus, Lonicera nitida, Acer palmatum, Pinus pentaphylla, Ulmus parvifolia, Juniperus chinensis, and Serissa, Carmona, Portulacaria).

Culture is more sensitive than for a larger tree, the bonsai pot is small, the land will dry up very rapidly and demand constant care, for example in summer as it requires more waterings per day.

* Kotate-mochi or Komono: bonsai with both hands, 15 to 60 cm to 130 cm, then chùmono up to 60 cm is probably the most popular among enthusiasts, its size can work with much more finesse and the branching structure of the tree and thus gives more creative freedom to bonsailliste. Virtually all varieties suitable for this category.

* Ômono: bonsai four hands (it takes two people to carry these large bonsai), 60 cm to 1.20 m or more in Japan was once a sign of prosperity of the owner, today it remains a bonsai imposing and often by his venerable age.

The styles
The bonsai shown in the retail, by their mode of production have a major flaw (in addition to large wounds often indelible): they all look alike and so we have trouble speak of Art about Plants grown in individual but not mass. There is a classification of bonsai according to the form it will be given.

Often a bonsai is part of several different styles, there is no rigid law in creating a bonsai view of aesthetics.

The creation of styles constantly refers to the shapes of trees in the wild, professionals also advise not to inspire others to create bonsai, but directly trees in nature.

Thus bonsai does not mimicry with nature, but in miniature evocation of the power of the tree, it must have the essence of a great tree.

The styles are not ranked in order of importance, it is subject to controversy, however, the first styles are most common.

Trunk formal right. Very appreciated by purists, the line that draws the trunk is difficult to obtain, it must be tapered while remaining perfectly straight.
Tachiki (or Moyogi)
Trunk informal law. The trunk reveals some curves, it is sometimes the result of a Chokkan missed, however, the tree can be very aesthetic.
Trunk bent, as discussed by the wind.
Trunk cascade, it falls below the pot. Many trees growing on the side of the mountains give the impression of "falling in a vacuum."
Trunk semi cascade, in general, the top of the tree lowest does not exceed the edge of the pot. We see in some cases another summit rising but still low enough.
Trunk tortuous enrolling on itself twist. It is the popular image that people have of bonsai, in France at least "a tree that suffers, it is true that draws trees that have had difficulties in their growth.
Bunjingi style of "literate"
This style differs significantly compared to others, the bare trunk remains thin over much before showing some masses of foliage only in the air. The whole gives an impression of lightness and great elegance. In our regions can be compared with Scots pine or pine laricio (Corsican pine).
In a broom, the trunk right circulate any foliage from the same point (located at third or half of the tree). The foliage spreads on both sides drawing a round or oval. The carpinifolia Zelkova (Zelkova serrata or) the tree is representative of this style in nature, and we often treat as well as good, its fine branching highlights this style in winter.
Beaten by the wind, unlike the Shakan, branches and trunk express the same movement. It is the only style for which it is assumed that the branches intersect the trunk.
The roots are exposed above the soil level.
The roots surround the rock before plunging into the earth.
The tree (or trees) are planted in rock (which contains the earth).
Trunk split and torn.
Trunk bark in the manner of trees subject to natural disasters.
The trunk partially tortuous, sometimes coiled on itself as the pomegranate in some cases.
The trunk and branches are tortuous.

Bonkei or Saikei
Miniature landscapes

Read also The Folk Tale from Japan


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