The word Bonsai literally means planted in a container. This form of art is a derivative of a primordial Chinese practice, a part of which was revived under the sway of Japanese Buddhism. The ancient dwarfed trees were discovered in the mountains of China and were cherished due to their contorted appearance and exceptional age. During the same era, Chinese monks traveled to Japan and carried with themselves the art of making miniature trees, which was quickly learned by Japanese monks. The art later acquired its name as the Bonsai. The Japanese established their own techniques for creating various versions of Bonsai trees that represented coherence between man and nature.
Bonsai trees have always been considered as a status symbol. By the 14th century, bonsai trees were considered a form of art. Initially, they were outdoors but later, people started creating distinct shelves for them to be placed inside their homes. During the 1600s, trimming techniques were used that removed all unnecessary plant parts. The Japanese believed that an individual should remove unnecessary elements from his life in a similar way.
In the middle ages, bonsai trees were accessible to common man. Due to the high demand of customers, more artists acquired the skills to create the bonsai. Bonkei was the term used for trees combined with people, buildings or rocks. Replicating a particular area of a landscape was termed as Saikei. By 1700, provinces in Japan started holding exhibitions of bonsai trees.
Nowadays artists make bonsai trees by using grafting techniques. Numerous nurseries cultivate and distribute diverse ranges of bonsai trees. There are about a dozen different styles that are indigenous to a specific region. Although bonsai trees are shaped under severe conditions but with appropriate maintenance and care, they can last for an indefinite period. Even today, centuries-old bonsai trees can be found in Japan, which represent their culture.