Traditional Arts and Crafts-Bonsai

Bonsai (dwarf trees) is one of the original art forms of Japan, and consists of planting a tree in a ceramic pot and then, through a process of cultivation that draws on and accents the plant’s vital powers, producing a natural elegance of form pleasing to the eye.

Ordinary potted plants can only be appreciated for a short time, but bonsai last for periods ranging from decades to centuries, gradually gaining in character as they age. Special cultivation me thuds are used for this.


The main points involve periodical retransplanting of the tree, at which times the roots are trimmed and the soil renewed; careful regulation of the amount of fertilizer and water; moving the tree in response to seasonal changes in the weather; and protecting it from disease and insects. In addition, fast-growing shoots have to be removed and small branches and leaves suitable to the size of tree fostered to maintain an overall form pleasing to the eye. Thus, the essence of the art of cultivation lies in skillfully controlling the growth of the tree through promoting and restraining techniques.

Pine trees are typical bonsai subjects; but many other types of trees can be used, such as various evergreens and deciduous trees, and trees that bloosom and bear fruit, and each has its own unique attractiveness.

The ability to produce that can live for centuries in a small pot is the result of careful study of plant physiology and long experience, and can be said to spring from the resourcefulness of the Japanese people who, in their love of natural beauty, have tried to bring it closer to their lives.

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盆栽

盆栽は陶磁器の鉢に樹木を植え、その生育する力を利用して適切な培養を行い、自然の雅趣をかもし出すように姿を整えて観賞するもので、日本で創造された芸術の一つである。

草 木を鉢に植えて短期間観賞する鉢植えとは異なり、盆栽は数十年から数百年もの長期にわたって枯らさずに保ち、しかも次第に古木の風格を作り出していくもの であり、そのために特殊な培養法を用いる。その要点は、周期的に植えかえて伸びすぎた根を取り去り、用土の更新をはかるとともに、肥料と灌水を調節し気候 の変化に適応した置場所の移動、病害虫の防除などを行う。また、徒長する枝は切り落とし、樹木の大きさに見合った小枝や小葉を育て、観賞に適した樹形を持 続けさせる。このように成長の促進と抑制の巧妙なコントロールが培養技術の根本である。

盆 栽の素材の代表格は松であるが、常緑樹、落葉樹、花や実のなる樹など多くのものを盆栽に仕上げることができ、それぞれに捨てがたい味わいがある。盆栽が小 さな鉢の中で幾世紀にもわたって成育し得るようになったのは、植物の生理についての注意深い研究と永年の経験の蓄積によるもので、自然の美を愛し、これを 身近な生活に取り込もうとした日本人の生活の知恵の所産といえよう。

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