"Dwarfed Tree at the Chicago Fair" from Scribner's Magazine


       "Foreground and Vista at the Fair" by W. Hamilton Gibson (1893) includes these two paragraphs:

       Japonica!  Japonica!  How continually does the spirit of the flowery land hover here!  It is, indeed, scarcely a surprise that the actual, familiar outlines of its quaint massive gables suddenly confronts us, looking down above a mass of the Mikado's own chrysanthemum, and we suddenly find ourselves transported to Tokio or Yokohama, surrounded by a veritable epitome of Japan, embracing all the actual features, floral, ornamental, and utilitarian,with which, through the educational influence of painted fan and screen and household gods [sic] of vase and kakemono, we have become so pleasantly familiar.
       The long, low-roofed wooden temple is surrounded from its foundation by a characteristic terraced garden, embracing many examples of those "precious goods done up in small parcels," which have always been the particular fad of the Japanese horticulturalist -- tiny giants of trees, so to speak, arranged in miniature parks which, for the moment, make the beholder seem to be upon a mighty cliff or in flight with the soaring falcon, else how could he thus gaze down upon the summit of such a huge, lofty pine as this which he now sees beneath him!  A fine example of one of these arboreal paradoxes is to be seen in the Japanese exhibit in the Horticultural Building -- an aged dwarf of an arbor vitæ (Thuja) like a gigantic cedar of Lebanon, which, while having all the inherent characteristics of an actual age and dignity of over one hundred years, is still, with the big vase which it occupies, barely the height of one's shoulders. 1




NOTES

1     Gibson, W. Hamilton,  "Foreground and Vista at the Fair," in Scribner's Magazine, Vol. 14, Issue 1, July, 1893, pg. 34.  Illustrations by the author.  Above illustration from pg. 33.



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