20 Aug
Posted in: Bonsai/Garden
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Bonsai History, Where did Bonsai Come From? Oldest Bonsai Tree

Bonsai History:

Some Container-grown pants and trees can be traced back as far as the Egyptian times. Rock carving and drawings from as far back as 4000 BC show plants/trees growing in containers.

The word Penzai is Chinese for “Plant in a Pot” which was being used as far back as the Jin Dynasty which was between 265 AD – 420 AD.  Later during the Song dynasty in China, container-grown trees were popularized in Japan and spread to many other cultures. This is where the term more known to westerners was developed – Bonsai.

From Wikipedia –

At first, the Japanese used miniaturized trees grown in containers to decorate their homes and gardens. During the Tokugawa period, landscape gardening attained new importance. Cultivation of plants such as azalea and maples became a pastime of the wealthy. Growing dwarf plants in containers was also popular. Around 1800, the Japanese changed the term they used for this art to their pronunciation of the Chinese penzai with its connotation of a shallower container in which the Japanese could now style small trees.

Oldest Known Bonsai Tree

Oldest Known Bonsai Tree

One of the oldest-known living bonsai trees, considered one of the National Treasures of Japan, is in the Tokyo Imperial Palace collection. A five-needle pine (Pinus pentaphylla var. negishi) known as Sandai-Shogun-No Matsu is documented as having been cared for by Tokugawa Iemitsu. The tree is considered to be at least 500 years old and was first trained as a bonsai by 1610. Older plants have been made more recently into bonsai as well. (Wikipedia)

Photo Credit – http://www.users.qwest.net/~rjbphx/BigPicture/IemitsuPine.jpg

1 Comment

  • Penzai (pronounced pay-zai) means “tray plant” but the more accurate term is Penjing (pronounced pay-sching) meaning “tray scenery”

So, what do you think?