for the Development of Magical Miniature Landscapes,
Year 2000 to present

© 2005-2017  Robert J. Baran
All Rights Reserved.

Up to Year 1
1 to 899
900 to 1499
1500 to 1799
1800 to 1999
Notes (cont.)

Baran, Robert J.  "A Suggested Timeline for the Development of Magical Miniature Landscapes,"
http://www.magiminiland.org/BigPicture/Timeline3b.html, version dated 13 April 2017. 

2000 *2000, Hong Kong Baptist University opened Man Lung Garden to promote Chinese heritage of penjing (a permanent location would be set up in February 2005); David Ren's The Imperial Rocks published in Chinese w/English. (482)
The "Northern" style of penjing actually refers to those trees -- mostly conifers and certain deciduous or evergreen species such as maples, azaleas, etc. pruned and wired -- created in Yangtze River Valley of central provinces along Eastern seaboard. The "Southern" style are those styles of broadleaf evergreens and tropical species pruned w/very little need for wiring, and encountered in Pearl River Valley of China's Southern Provinces. Chinese trees are more free flowing and relaxed [than Japanese trees], energy appears to extend outward w/more room for individual expression, sometimes not so interested in every final detail, less predictable, and w/very few rules that artists must absolutely adhere to. They are much wider context, landscapes possibly w/stones and water, and sometimes also include small clay miniatures similar to figures and structures found in Chinese landscape paintings. Very few Chinese penjing artists have had opportunity to visit Western countries to display and demonstrate their art, and most Chinese artists are not [yet] used to performing in public. Particularly in Southeastern coastal provinces penjing is developing market w/huge potential. Lot of exchange and cooperation among artists and penjing association members from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. Overseas Chinese, particularly from other Asian countries also form part of this exchange. (483)
* 2003, first Duo Lun Stone Appreciation Festival in Shanghai.
* 2004, The collections of penjing masterpieces of Shanghai Botanical Garden published, as well as Chinese pen jing of the Nantong style, Chinese pen jing of the Suzhou style, Chinese pen jing of the Yangzhou style, and Chinese pen jing of the Zhejiang style.
* 2005, Global Bonsai Stone Collection magazine began in collaboration w/Bonsai Clubs International; Sun Huaibin edited An Assemblage of High Quality Lingbi Stones in Baocheng Museum in China.
* 2006, "China is a place where there is a lot of money coming in at the present time from exports. Some people with money are buying bonsai from all around the world, so there are lots of great trees coming in. But the problem is that there are not enough experts who know how to properly maintain them." -- Masahiko Kimura; Wang Shi edited A Complete Collection of Chinese Viewing Stones published. (484)
* 2008, First Chongqing Viewing Stones Culture Exhibition was held from Feb. 2-15 in the China Three Gorges Museum in Chongqin; Yu Ying edited Mi Fu and Stone Appreciation Culture in Xiangyang and Wu Xinmin's Kun Stones of China published.
* 2010, Zhang Wei edited 6-volume Zhongguo Shangshi Mingjia (Chinese Stone Appreciation Masters) published.  Some recent Western observations:"People who do bonsai and suiseki are held in high regard. There are over 5 million people who do bonsai in China. The Chinese did not care one iota about the conventional standards adopted for bonsai. For example the rule of conifers in non-glazed and deciduous in glazed is not a recognized principle. Some of the conifers in glazed pots looked fantastic! The freedom of expression in bonsai enjoyable. Both bonsai and pen-jing tend to be large in size. The first impression was simply the fact that stones are displayed everywhere; shopping centers, hotels, street corners, they are there! The many of the stones are powerful in size and appearance. Some the size of a Volkswagen beetle. The daiza carvings and sheer size to handle the sizes of rocks collected are incredibly artistic and intricate." (485)
* 2011, View Stone Association of China Staff's 2 vol. China Viewing Stone Resource Maps published.
* 2012, Zhao Qingquan's Penjing: The Chinese Art of Bonsai: A Pictorial Exploration of Its History, Aesthetics, Styles and Preservation published in English; also, Zhang Wei's Practice in Stone Appreciation: Selected Works of Stone Appreciation and Vol. 2 of his Chinese Stone Appreciation Masters, plus Wu Yu Wei's Lingbi Appreciation Grand Book.
* 2013, observation of recent years trends: "China is now very active. They dig up the old bonsai tradition. They are very rich in old tree and variation in styles. They combined the old styles they have with the neat arrangement of Japanese bonsai." (486)
* 2016, Shou Jia Hua's 6 vol. China Stone Catalogue published; Bonsai Without Borders (BWB) Global Summit and Black Scissors Bonsai Creators Convention held in Nanxun with 70 demonstrators from 35 countries.(487)
* 2000, Marushima, Hideo and Hu Yun Hua's The World of Chinese Penjing published in 3 volumes.
* 2001, World Bonsai Friendship Federation's Bonsai of the World II published.
* 2002, Kunio Kobayashi opened Shunka-en Museum in Eastern Tokyo's Edogawa City. (488)
* 2004, Lisa Tajima's Pop Bonsai, Fun with Arranging Small Trees and Plants published, and Tokyo's Showa Kinen Park, 444 acres of former U.S. Air Base, opened Japan's first government-sponsored bonsai garden. (489)
* 2005, Suiseki - An Art Created by Nature, The Nyogakuan Collection of Japanese Viewing Stones published. By this time version of bonsai -- recently seen as tired pasttime for elderly -- becoming popular among younger generation with easy-to-care-for mini-trees and landscapes, unwired and wilder-looking, using native plants. (490)
* 2006, Masakuni II and III's The Secret Techniques of Bonsai published.
* 2010, Omiya Bonsai Art Museum opened in Saitama. (491)
* 2011, 9.0 earthquake of March 11 off of NE Honshu's Miyagi Prefecture, resulting tsunami, and damage to Fukushima Nuclear Plant initially caused relatively slight damage/loss to bonsai community... but the story continues.
* 2012, Kunio Kobayashi's Japanese/English Bonsai published.
* 2013 observation of recent years trends: "Japanese bonsai prolonged sleeping. So far, they ignore bonsai. Now they have to fight hard. They do not realize that now the world has changed... Influence of Japanese bonsai is still big in Europe, but not anymore in many countries. If they do not work hard to foster youth, later people just know that ancient Japanese bonsai good, but now there's nothing as... Some time later the Japanese began to actively among others [and] will host ASPAC bonsai contest. They also aspire to hold WBFF in 2017. Some young artists to begin shipping them overseas, but I've never met them in the international arena. They probably wish there was a new figure to replace Kimura or Saburo Kato, but it was not easy. To be a substitute Kimura or Kato, Japananese bonsai need a people who are good at diplomacy and also has a high morality."
A different perspective is that "Japanese bonsai is still alive and new bonsai are being created. However, the Japanese bonsai world is making as much money as in the past because of the economy." (492)
* 2000, first symposium of newly formed Association of British Bonsai Artists (ABBA) held (ongoing); Awakening the Soul published by U.S. National Arboretum; the first Nöelanders Trophy was awarded in Belgium (ongoing). (493)
* 2001, Bonsai Online Magazine started; first North American Bonsai Pot Competition held; Phan Van Lít w/Lew Buller's Mountains in the Sea about Vietnamese tray landscapes Hòn Non Bô published, along w/five translations of Bonsai, Spirit and Substance (What Color is the Wind?) by Salvatore Liporace and Patrizia Cappellaro De Martino, Dr. John L. Creech's The Bonsai Saga: How the Bicentennial Collection Came to America, Jack Douthitt and Warren Hill's Bonsai -- The Art of Living Sculpture, and Saburo Kato's Forest, Rock Planting & Ezo Spruce Bonsai in English; 13-part "Lindsay Farr's The Way of Bonsai" broadcast on television in Australia. (494)
* 2002, First African International Bonsai Convention held in Pretoria, South Africa, and first biennial International Stone Appreciation Symposium (ongoing); Craig Coussins' The Bonsai School, Martin Treasure's Bonsai life histories, and Kemin Hu's Scholars' Rocks in Ancient China published. Dr. Thomas S. Elias presented detailed "History of the Introduction and Establishment of Bonsai in the Western World" at International Symposium in Washington, D.C. (then expanded it for 2005 WWBF Convention). (495)
* 2003, Sung Bum-young's Spirited Garden published in Korean, then English edition. During past five years spending on plants and pots for container gardening in general increased 45% in U.S. (496)
* 2004, First Annual Philippine Bonsai Society, Inc. National Bonsai Exhibition and Open Competition held (ongoing); Michel Phaneuf's Bonsai Montreal: Célébration Des 25 Ans de la Société de Bonsaï published, as well as Jerry Meislik's Ficus, The Exotic Bonsai. (497)
* 2005, Jack Billet-supervised John Naka's Sketchbook, Mary Miller's Bonsai with Tropicals, Ken Norman's The Complete Practical Encyclopedia of Bonsai, Robert Steven's Vision of My Soul, Lew Buller's Saikei and Art: Miniature Landscapes, Bonsai of Indonesia: Twenty Five Years of Indonesian Bonsai Society, and Robert J. Baran and Paul Steele's The Bonsai Coloring Book published; Art of Bonsai project was launched; first BonsaiAutumn display (ongoing).
* 2006, Daan Giphart and Lévon Arzooyan's Bonsai potters published, along w/Craig Coussins' Bonsai Master Class and Peter Chan's Bonsai Secrets. Also, Lindsay Farr's The World of Bonsai, biweekly downloadable videos about art in Japan and China.
* 2007, Bonsai Europe magazine merged w/Bonsai Today to become Bonsai Focus; Green Hobby launched as first Indonesian language bonsai magazine; Manette Gerstle's Beyond Suiseki: Ancient Asian Viewing Stones Of The 21st Century published.
* 2008, National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia opened in temporary location in Commonwealth Park in central Canberra; First National Bonsai Exhibition took place in Rochester, NY (biennial events (ongoing)); Larry Jackel's Ponderosa Pines as Bonsai published, as well as Michael Hagedorn's Post-Dated: The Schooling of an Irreverent Bonsai Monk.
* 2010, William Hiltz's Gnarly Branches, Ancient Trees: The Life and Works of Dan Robinson, Bonsai Pioneer published.
* 2011, first World Bonsai Day was celebrated ((ongoing)); some recent observations from Vietnam: "Better pots (than cheap cast cement) are very hard to find and they can be very costly because of this. Better pots from abroad do not always make it to the ordering customer. Unless you have a tree which has always been in your family you will have less than no chance of knowing who the original artist was. Most trees are started in small local nurseries, crafted by guys making about $2 a day (if that). Theft, of anything that looks good, is all too common and widespread. Like many other things desired by the rich owning or leasing Bonsai has become a symbol of wealth. A rich family won't donate a dong to a poor person on the street but they will spend thousands on flashy consumer goods to show how much money they have. Bonsai has become part of that. While this is going on it drives the price of everyday trees up and up. The good personal collections are hidden, chained, fenced and guarded by nasty little dogs. If not they would be gone. There is little or no thought to the future of a tree when it is collected/dug/etc. A complete lack of, what we would consider, finesse in planning of the design or even what may happen tomorrow. When they were dug they were simply ripped out of the ground then the surface roots cut back too near the trunk -- at right angles. You now have big surface roots that end in ugly stumps with no way to hide this except to bury them. They do the same thing with larger branches while leaving a large stump to rot away. Some Bonsai growers in Ha Noi have said 'No' to the greed of the rich men. They have refused to rent or sell their prize trees for Tet because they realize that there is no interest other than 'showing wealth' and trying to bring luck. They are afraid that the trees will be ill-treated and possibly killed just for money. This is a good start." (498)
Large format Fine Bonsai: Art & Nature (Abbeville Press Publishers) by William N. Valavanis w/596 digital color photos (including 4 gate folds) by Jonathan M. Singer published.
* 2012, Dr. Tom Elias and wife, Dr. Hiromi Nakaoji, set up The Viewing Stone Association of North America website as central archive for world knowledge of these.
* 2013 observation of recent years trends: "Asia Pacific region like Korea, Taiwan and South East Asia are the most active region. New styles and species are still developing in this region. Tropical styles is growing dramatically in Taiwan and South East Asia... Taiwan is now terrific, while in Southeast Asia young artists performing furious... Since the passing away of the respected John Naka-san. Bonsai in USA is not as active as before. Even bonsai to day has moved to Europe... Europe bonsai is also growing very well. Many young talented artists from that region." and
"Trend 1: Bonsai is more and more done by younger people (20 to 35 years old) in Europe, not so much, but still in North America and very much so in South America. This compares drastically to the age of bonsai people in Japan as I am told. One reason for this trend may well be the development of the internet as the main communication line.
"Trend 2: Bonsai has become much more international, crossing boundaries in Europe. At all major and even many minor events one sees people from many countries, which was not the case at all only fifteen years ago. Again I account this to communication being much better now. While Americans do not go to Europe in large numbers many are well educated about what is going on there.
"Trend 3: More folks go for quality than before. While the mass of bonsai people are amateur gardeners with not much ambition there are many more now who aspire to higher quality in Europe at least; not so much in America, but still I see the same trend there. As a consequence many collections and exhibits are much better than they used to be.
"Trend 4: More European trees are used in Europe and more American trees in America to make bonsai. It has become a strong trend to work with indigenous material. While Asian trees can still be imported into Europe they are not as popular as they used to be. In America to import of trees from Asia is quite painful and people work much more with indigenous material than they used to.
"Trend 5. Modern bonsai ( meaning very thick trees with lots of deadwood and rounded plastic-like crowns) are mainstream in Europe and becoming so in America. These trees in many cases are grotesque but this does not bother the general crowd. It does not bother them YET. There is also a trend to not do stereotype bonsai anymore and contrary to mainstream do trees which look like real trees instead of like plastic statues. As I am told this is also in some quarters the case in Japan. This may well be a paradigm shift."
A different perspective: "I have not heard anything about American bonsai being stagnant after the death of John Naka. However bonsai is MUCH more alive and progressing forward in America presently... In America we do not have many exhibitions which present awards, not like the exhibitions in Asian countries with large fancy ribbons. Perhaps Americans are more interested in sharing the beauty of their bonsai... Trends? Most countries are now concentrating on creating bonsai from their own native plants." (499)
Vietnamese bonsai is progressing extremely fast during the last few years in parallel with the growth of economic and living standard. The interest in bonsai in Vietnam is amazing and unbelievable. I travel from the south of HCM city to the north of Hanoi, from the remote villages to the cities, every house with terrace (when I say every house, I mean ALMOST every house) always has bonsai. The styles in the south and the north are totally different. The south (around HCM city) likes the landscape..specifically the water and land penjing and other deciduous species e.g. Wrightia and they don't like ficus. In the contrary, in the north, they like BIG bonsai, specifically ficus. They have their own style of ficus with wild aereal roots with unique pot. In few years to come, Vietnam will certainly be on the world bonsai map with their ficus as icon..they still need some times to improve their technique in forming ideal ramification. Another amazing thing is their involvement in the internet because mostly are young people. They have an internet forum similar to IBC.. and you won't believe that there are always few thousands members online each day." (500)
William N. Valavanis' Classical Bonsai Art, A Half Century of Bonsai Study highlights development over years of 100 trees in his personal collection and also detailed presentation of principles of art, including shohin compositions.
* 2015, the First Artisans Cup held in a Portland, Oregon museum in September, raisingbar for American compositions.  The Black Scissors Community (BSC) was launched by Robert Stevens who articulated Su Fang's 2-year old concept.(501)
* 2016, Walter Pall's observations about upcoming American style of bonsai; Ann McClellan's Bonsai and Penjing, Ambassadors of Peace & Beauty, and Stephen Voss and Michael Hagedorn's In Training, a book of bonsai photos published.

Up to Year 1
1 to 899
900 to 1499
1500 to 1799
1800 to 1999
Notes (cont.)
Home  >  Bonsai History  >  Big Picture  >  Timeline, Year 2000 to present