"Japanese Landscapes" in Scribners monthly, an illustrated magazine for the people

       "In and about the Fair" by Donald G. Mitchell (1876) includes these paragraphs:

       Among the conifers will be noted young plants of that Japanese species which may be seen under the wing of the Japanese building, -- quaint pigmies of trees, not three feet high, yet over seventy years old.  They are gnarled and twisted as if they had fought the winds and caught their picturesqueness of form -- as old oaks catch theirs -- by battling with tempests and wintry storms upon the hills.  And yet these dwarfed trees are thoroughly creatures of art.  By examining closely the specimens in the Japanese ground, you will see traces of the dwarfing process.  The leading shoots have been clipped, or bent downward; the lateral branches turned in and tied back; lusty limbs twisted and wrenched into quaint postures; marks of the torturing-pins, and bands and cuts are still observable; it is a crippled dwarf of a tree, made quaint and picturesque by its years of struggle against the toils of the gardener.
        Is there a compensating beauty in them?  Not, surely, as we reckon the beauty of plant-growth.  But consider -- that the Japanese, in their horticultural system, have offices for such dwarfed monarchs of trees to fill.  With them, no homestead is complete without its garden; a few square rods may be all at command, but this area must have its garden treatment, and the gardens are modeled after nature.  " San-sui "(mountain and water) is the term which in Japanese describes the gardeners' work.  The aim is -- within however limited an area -- to present a complete landscape, with rock, valley, plain, water, and mountain.  Under such miniature presentment, trees and plants must be dwarfed to bear proper relations to the dwarfed valleys and rocks.  To such an extent is this copying of nature in little carried by enthusiastic gardeners that a rocky landscape, with its heights and level spaces and trees, is wrought out, with nice attention to proportions, within the limits of a great bronze basin.  We doubt if gardeners of the West will emulate them in their mimicry of nature; but they may well emulate the painstaking skill which makes such small successes possible, and the assiduous care, and the close study of plant-life, which are enforced by such arts. 1


1     Mitchell, Donald G.  "In and about the Fair" in Scribners monthly, an illustrated magazine for the people,Volume 13, Issue 1, November 1876, pg. 118

"From Temple to Terrace, The Remarkable Journey of the Oldest Bonsai in America" by Peter Del Tredici (Jamaica, MA: Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University: Arnoldia 64/2-3, 2006), pg. 7 contains the following passage from J.S. Ingram's The Centennial Exposition, Described and Illustrated (Philadelphia: Hubbard Brothers, 1876):

        "In a box of blue porcelain, with white raised imitations of beets, carrots, etc., on the outer surface, and having porcelain supports of the size, shape and color of turnips, was a stunted cedar tree sixty years old and not more than thirty-two inches in height.  The spread of its branches was four and half feet in the widest part.  The trunk was eight inches in diameter."

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