© Robert J. Baran


Introduction     i
Format     iv
About the Transliteration Used     vii

PART I (To A.D. 1100)
        General History and Ecology (part 1)     1
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 1)     11
        General History and Ecology (part 2)     16
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 2)     30
        General History and Ecology (part 3)     33
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 3)     41
        Portrayals in the Arts     49
        Some Gaps in the Record     51
        End Notes     52
        General History and Ecology (part 1)     60
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 1)     68
        General History and Ecology (part 2)     70
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 2)     74
        End Notes     75
    Some Other Lands
        General History and Ecology     77
        India     89
        Some Gaps in the Record     194
        End Notes     95

PART II (1100 to 1800)
        General History and Ecology (part 1)     97
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 1)     100
        General History and Ecology (part 2)     104
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 2)     112
        Portrayals in the Arts     123
        Western Commentators     127
        Some Gaps in the Record     130
        End Notes     131
        General History and Ecology (part 1)     137
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 1)     142
        General History and Ecology (part 2)     151
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 2)     157
        Portrayals in the Arts     165
        Western Commentators     180
        Some Gaps in the Record     183
        End Notes     185
    Some Other Lands
        General History and Ecology     196
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees     204
        End Notes     209

PART III (1800 to 1945)
        General History and Ecology     211
        Portrayals in the Arts     214
        Western Commentators     216
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees     228
        Some Gaps in the Record      229
        End Notes     230
        General History and Ecology (part 1)     233
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 1)     235
        General History and Ecology (part 2)     240
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 2)     243
        General History and Ecology (part 3)     252
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees (part 3)     255
        Portrayals in the Arts     264
        Western Commentators      270
        Some Gaps in the Record     291
        End Notes     292
    Some Other Lands
        General History and Ecology     305
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees     308
        Some Gaps in the Record    315
        End Notes     316
    North America (from early colonial times to 1945)
        General History and Ecology     319
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees     332
        Some Gaps in the Record     350
        End Notes     351

PART IV (1945 to present)
    China, Hong Kong and Taiwan
        General History and Ecology     356
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees     359
        Portrayals in the Arts     374
        Some Gaps in the Record     376
        End Notes     377
        General History and Ecology     381
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees     384
        Some Gaps in the Record    402
        End Notes     403
    North America
        General History and Ecology     409
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees     413
        Large Collections     445
        Some Gaps in the Record     454
        End Notes     455
    Some Other Lands
        General History and Ecology     466
        Dwarfed and Potted Trees     467
        Some Gaps in the Record     491
        End Notes     492

Part V - Futures      497
        End Notes     506

        Chronology of Notable Previous Histories and Future Studies     507
        Books About     509
        By-Lined Specialized Periodical Articles     526
        Historical Articles About     533
        Other     537
        Technical Terminology     550
        Index     558


    PART I (to the year 1100 C.E.; 22% of main text)
    The pen bowl of neolithic pottery became one of the bronze ritual vessels and then a ceramic tray for miniature landscapes.  An outgrowth of the primitive religions developed into a more sophisticated theology/cosmology formalized by Confucius and Lao Zi into Confucianism and Daoism, respectively: these evolved with the different political influences until Confucianism gained court favor.  Daoism then merged with the primitive religious beliefs; Buddhism was introduced and gained a hold, and these two went back-and-forth in political favor.  Daoism influenced the Dhyana school of Buddhism from India, which became "Chan" in China, emphasizing meditative and mystical experiences over book learning.  Both faiths sought out isolated locations for temples where nature was mystically embraced.  Representations of these locales were developed in smaller scale as private and royal gardens (which had developed from earlier royal hunting grounds) and also as tray landscapes.  Both forms were concentrated symbols of the universe.  Depictions of the sacred mountains in bronze or ceramic gave way to stone models, xiao-shan, which sometimes used miniature plants, pen-wan.  Dwarf potted trees had early portrayals on wall murals and scrolls.

    The primitive foundations of Shintō became more sophisticated as the neolithic tribes developed into clans, with the Yamato clan achieving political and spiritual authority over the others.  Contacts with the continent brought Chinese civilization to the islands.  Many characteristics were replicated or adapted to Japanese needs, including Buddhism with its use of floral altar arrangements and incense burners in the form of miniature mountains.

    Egypt, Sumeria, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, Greece, and Rome -- the development of gardens and botanical knowledge in each of these Chinese trading partners is briefly described to show what each might have contributed to the idea of miniature tray landscapes.  Civilization in India is also reviewed, including the birth and development of Buddhism, and what might have been passed on with that religion.

    PART II (1100-1800; 24% of main text)
    The Northern and Southern schools of painting and classical art of gardening developed through the centuries of native and outside rule (Mongols, Manchus).  Horticultural writings showed attitudes toward viewing stones and miniature landscapes (xiezi-jing and pen-jing) of increasing sophistication, and related religious-philosophical concepts.  Individually potted trees were termed pen-cai.  Styles of pottery in use changed.  Scrolls, paintings, woodblock prints, and porcelains portrayed some of this development.  Initial European contacts with China commented upon the Asian horticulture.

    The arrival of Chan Buddhism, here developed and pronounced as "Zen,"  had a vast influence upon political and cultural life.  The rising warrior class gained power and embraced Zen.  There was additional Chinese input, but also influence of nationalistic and/or Shint_ philosophies.  The literati/bunjin philosophy was developed, while other gardens and dwarf potted plants (hachi-no-ki) were Buddhist meditational aids.  These were partially recorded in horticultural writings and portrayals in scrolls, paintings, woodblock prints, Noh theater, and lacquers.  European/Christian activities were persecuted as some missionaries become more influential and intolerant.  The lone foreign outpost/window was then at Deshima in Nagasaki harbor.  Initial European contacts commented upon Japan's horticulture.

    The West's comprehension of the East was primarily due to legends and myths.  There was increasing appreciation of native botany.  The topiary revival of the Renaissance continued the development of horticulture which eventually included first attempts at Chinese styles based on missionary and trader reports.  Three missions from Japan to Europe brought some exposure to both cultures.  What would have been required to bring dwarf potted trees to Europe successfully is reviewed, including the early botanical collection logistics.

    PART III (1800-1945; 28% of main text)
    The decline of the Imperial power and civil unrests (Taiping, Boxer) were followed by the Republic and then the rise of the Kuomintang and Communists.  Much of the dwarf potted tree art from this time is known by way of Western commentators: Livingstone, Fortune, Wilson, McClure.  Painting and photographs provided limited portrayals.  The Lingnan School of wireless training was established.

    The opening of its doors to the rest of the world was followed by the Imperial Restoration and Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa eras.  Bunjin influenced a now true art of trained dwarfed potted trees, tentatively called bon-sai.  Scrolls and paintings depict changes in cultural tastes and increased public interest.  Containers and newer plants were developed, wire became an important training aid, and organizations and magazines were started.  The Bonsai Village at Ōmiya was established because of the 1923 Earthquake, and there were major pre-war exhibitions.  European commentators included Siebold, Fortune, Rein, Farrer, Du Cane, and Newsom.

    Colonial and post-colonial botanical studies and horticulture were added to by the influential China trade.  The States' growth included California and the territory of Hawaii.  International Expositions and lesser bonsai displays led to the few pre-war teachers and Westerners who attempted the art or its cousin, dish gardening.  Asian immigration restrictions culminated in WWII internment.

    Improved collection and transportation techniques brought a rich bounty of Eastern flora to the West.  The Industrial Revolution gave rise to International Exhibitions which provided the first large scale experiences with dwarfed potted trees from Japan and China.  A few Europeans imported or cared for some of these trees.

    PART IV (1945-present, 24% of main text)
    The national culture and arts were influenced by the Communists, who acted both as patron and destroyer.  Post-Mao exhibitions and clubs began, including Wu Yee-sun's work in Hong Kong, and some activities in Taiwan.  The basic Northern and Southern schools of pen-jing/artistic pot plant design are summarized.

    The Occupation Period and economic rise provided a background for restoration of trees and renewed interest in bonsai, bonseki, and related arts.  The Nippon Bonsai Association was established and assorted magazines and books were published, including a few in English.  Newer national exhibitions and modern day masters are reviewed.

    The postwar culture saw the early independent and club activities with bonsai.  More and more books in English coincided with national and international organizations, conventions, and trips abroad.  The large public collections are covered.

    Interest, developments, and native styles in some other countries in the Americas, Asia, Europe, South Africa, and Australia/New Zealand are reviewed.

    PART V (Futures; 2% of main text)

    Speculations on the continuing development of these related arts: displays, standards, materials, documentation, history updates, workshops and education, etc.

Note: Pagination and main text percentages are based on different versions and do not necessarily match "final" manuscript.