Jonathan's passion for the living art of Bonsai began twenty years ago when he was first introduced to the craft.  Over the years he has honed his skills by growing and cultivating a large private collection.

Jonathan's main focus with bonsai is the potential of Australian native plants for bonsai.  Many sacred bonsai trees are from global climates with greater temperature extremes, meaning many exotic trees that are suitable have definite and recognisable periods of growth and dormancy.  This is not so with Australian natives, with less temperature variations meaning you have to read the tree and understand its unique ecological and environmental circumstance, ie, vegetation type, soil type, water requirements, growth habit in more detail as the variation is harder to recognise.  We have many varied soil types, vegetation types and climatic variation to understand to properly develop quality Australian native bonsai species (not all though).

Notwithstanding, the inclusion of exotic specimens, and the understanding of their habits, including which style they are suited to, will further unlock the understanding of bonsais and their intrinsic deep relationship to natural form and structure.

Under the 'Jonsai Bonsai' banner, Jonathan's creations are sought after by commercial and residential clients.  Call Jonathan on 07 3856 0233 to discuss how you can include a bonsai into your landscape design or to hire one for an event or business circumstance.

The History of the Art of Bonsai

Bonsai trees are intriguing with their twisted and unusal shapes and it is not surprising to learn that this delicate art originated over a thousand years ago in China.  In fact, Chinese bonsai masters would practice their art, known as pun-sai, on trees for decades and often pass down the skill to their sons.

These ancient artists took great pride in the sculpting of their trees often shaping them into images of real animals as well as birds and even sometimes mythical beasts such as dragons.  While we see bonsai trees twisted and sculpted into their flowing forms today and think they are quite beautiful, one can only imagine how awe-inspiring these trees shaped into the form of animals must be.

During the 12th century, the art of bonsai migrated to Japan where it evolved into one of the highest skilled arts.  Practiced at first in the monastries, it was well suited to the cloistered monks and scholars who practice the art with the patience and intricate skill it required.  These beautiful trees were highly revered and often times the nobility regarded bonsai trees as treasured objects.

During the 19th century, bonsai art became known to the general public and as Japan began to trade with the western world this beautiful form of agricultural art drew the attention of travelers and tradesmen.  Soon, the bonsai was exhibited in many Western museums and bonsai art became very popular in the big cities such as Paris and London.  In fact the 1900 Paris World Exhibition included bonsai trees.

While many of the bonsais of today are not as old or beautiful as those ancient trees in China and Japan it is still a highly skilled art that requires years to learn and much patience.

Bonsai artists are still practicing their art today and these trees are still much revered.  While modern times have brought on new farms of this living art, the ancient forms still persevere.  Bonsai trees can be seen desplayed around the world in Asia, the United States, Europe and Australia as well as anyplace where the many varieties of trees used in bonsai art can grow.

As modern times march on, this ancient art will always be practiced but perhaps with a unique twist and new forms of sculpting created by the modern artists.

Source: The History of the Art of Bonsai | Charles Hopkins | Published 27/05/2007


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