Visiting one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site gardens in Suzhou, amusingly called The Humble Administrator’s Garden, we saw a sublime collection of bonsai trees.
While the art of bonsai has long been associated with Japan, it actually first originated in China around 600AD and then spread eastward to Japan and Korea. We have Buddhist monks to thank; they wished to bring the “outdoors” into their temples.
The development of beautiful Chinese containers has also played an important role in bonsai tree’s popularity, the name of which which literally means “tree in a tray”. So the Chinese ceramic industry has had a big influence on bonsai and continues to do so today.
Interestingly, the Chinese have been infatuated by miniaturisation, believing that miniature objects have magical powers concentrated within them.