Bonsai, with its history for over a thousand years in Japan, is a miniature tree in a pot, cultivated and shaped to create a specific form. It is both the art of creating and enjoying the miniature tree.
Bonsai needs great care in cultivation and shaping, and trimming stems and leaves changes its appearance greatly. The long-term care is necessary to create a bonsai one desires, both in terms of healthy growth of the tree and making it into an desirable design.
Often times the bonsai is displayed indoor, for example, in a traditional Japanese style room – having tatami mats and an alcove. The bonsai will be placed in an alcove in front of a hanging scroll that depicts (sun, moon, mountain, etc.). This creates a virtual landscape with a fore and a background, an outside atmosphere inside the room. Just like the Japanese garden where fore, middle, and background is consciously taken into account, bonsai display follows this rule of an aesthetic beauty.
If you are interested in seeing an actual Bonsai, visit the Bonsai Art Museum in Omiya City, Saitama Prefecture. They display bonsai collection, pots and stones used in creating bonsai, in addition to art works such as ukiyo-e that depicts bonsai seen in the Edo period along with other valuable historic materials.
Bonsai Art Museum (Omiya, Saitama):