It is believed that the art of developing Bonsai trees arrived to Japan during the Heian Period. During its beginnings, Bonsai trees were known as hachi-no-ki, a term that can be translated as “tree in a pot”. According to historians, these trellising were not called Bonsai as we know them nowadays until the 19th century.
Japanese Bonsai trees are based on a principle which combines three forces: truth, essence and beauty, and which are based on “heaven and earth in one unique container”. As it can be seen, these trees have a lot of symbolism and growing them implies balancing the forces and elements which are part of their principle.
Bonsai trees can be based on several different plants and trees, among which we can name, for example, azalea, flowering apricot, pine, flowering cherry, Japanese wisteria, elm, juniper, and maple. In order for these trees to combine the main elements of the “heaven and earth in one unique container” principle, they must always look natural and the intervention of humans should not be noticeable.
Chinese Bonsai trees are based on the principle of yin and yang which expresses that the universe is composed by two complementary and opposite forces. In this case, Bonsai trees also should not show the intervention of the human hand, and they should be able to grow as naturally as possible, allowing its own opposite and complementary forces to interact freely.
Bonsai Trees are classified by size and style. Bonsai trees can show different sizes, some of them so small that can feet in thimble-sized pots and are known as minuscule. There are many different styles of Bonsai trees, such as, for example, the Slant style, The informal and Formal Upright style, the Raft style, the Semi-Cascade and Cascade styles, the Literati style, the Broom style, and the Root over rock style.