(bonsai, bonseki, bonkei, saikei, penjing, pentsai, suiseki)

1850 - 1899
(Chronological order)

Language Prefix:
" JA "   Japanese

JA                               Seiwan Chaka Zuroku (Pictorial Record of the Azure Sea Tea Gathering / Illustrated Account of the Seiwan Tea Gathering) by Chokunyu Tanomura (1814-1907) (Naniwa; 1863).  Chokunyu, a Nanga artist born in the Bungo domain, held the Seiwan Tea Gathering of 1862 which commemorated the centennial anniversary of the death of Baisao (1675-1763).  This Obaku monk from Hizen is commonly taken as the first and most important master of Japanese senchado.  More than 1,200 people attended that event, many of whom were prominent literati.  This three volume catalog was published after the event.  When Baisao promulgated senchado, he made its spiritual ties to ancient Chinese sages a means of protesting against and coping with an era of political turmoil. 1

JA                               Seiwan Meien Zushi (Illustrated Record of the Tea Banquet at Sweiwan) edited by Yamanaka Kichirobee (1845-1917) (Osaka: Shikada Seishichi; 1876).  A popular account of an imnportant sencha gathering in 1874 held by the major Japanese antique shop in Osaka, Yamanaka shunkodo.  On the eighth day in the eleventh lunar month of 1874, a tea gathering was held in Seiwan in remembrance of the late father of the shop's owner in which Chinese painting, calligraphy, various kinds of antiquities, and flower arrangements were put on display.  This grand gathering thirteen tea banquets or seki, each held in a different space.  In addition to the Yamanaka shop, twelve other collectors or antique shops were also invited to bring their collections to participate in this banquet of tea and art.  Later the Seiwan Meien Zushi was published to record and commemorate the whole event.  This record contains a specific reference which shows the change in attitude towards the art of dwarfed potted trees.  A special effort was made in this publication to call the hobby "bonsai."  There was also an 1881 edition from Tokyo: Nagao Ginjiro. 2

JA                              Bijutsu Bonsai Zu (Artistic Bonsai in Painting / Catalog of Bonsai Art) ; Tōkyō: Bijutsu Bonsai Takai, 1882.  This three-volume work is from an exhibit presented the previous year.  It gives the scientific name of the species, the type of container and the name of the owner of the specimens, is richly illustrated with full-page detailed line drawings of the different styles and types of plants used in bonsai.  A few suiseki can also be found in the drawings.  "This was one of the earliest books to be published regarding 'bujitsu,' which the Meiji emperor declared as 'art' in the sense of Western fine art.  The designation bujitsu distinguishes art from craft and amusing pastime activities.  In the book, exhibits include many Chinese-style stones & tray landscapes with stones with other objects closely grouped...  The Bujitsu Bonsai Zu exhibition was mounted to accompany a sencha banqueting event -- this was a precursor to public exhibitions (as in Hibiya Park, Tokyo) where the exhibit of bonsai would become the major focus of the event."  USDA 3

JA        Ogawa, Anson  Bonsai Baiyo Tebiki Sou (How to Raise Herbs and Grass for Bonsai) ; 1893.

JA        Okamoto, Nobufumi  Zouka Mokuchiku Bonsai Baiyoho (Complete Maintenance Methods for Grasses, Flowers, Trees, and Bamboo Bonsai) ; Kaishin-Shyoro; 1894.

JA        Iguchi, Matsunosuke and Okamoto, Hankei   Sōmoku zukai bonsai baiyō zensho ; Tōkyō: Kaishinrō; 1897.  217 pp.  Illustrations.  USDA 4

JA        Okamoto, Jun  Gakei chikuzō hakoniwa bonseki zuhen ; Tōkyō: Shūgakudō; 1898.  131 pp.  Illustrations, some color.  USDA 5

JA        Kurakawa, Shinzaburō  Seishoō yoroku ; Tokyo ; 1898.  Illustrated.  About the display of ikebana, bonsai, and other items during the tea ceremony.   New 09/23/17


Seiwan Chaka Zuroku, 1863 [1, Taguchi]

Seiwan Meien Zushi, 1876 [2, Taguchi]

Bijutsu Bonsai Zu, 1881 [3, Elias]

Bijutsu Bonsai Zu, 1881 [3, Classic]


1      Taguchi, Fumiya  The Story of "Bonsai" (The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama, March 21, 2014), pg. 13; Fogel, Joshua A. (ed.)  The Role of Japan in Modern Chinese Art (University of California Press; 2012), pp. 47, 50. 

2      Koreshoff, Deborah R.  Bonsai: Its Art, Science, History and Philosophy (Brisbane, Australia: Boolarong Publications; 1984), pg. 9; Taguchi, Fumiya  The Story of "Bonsai" (The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama, March 21, 2014), pg. 14; Fogel, Joshua A. (ed.)  The Role of Japan in Modern Chinese Art (University of California Press; 2012), pp. 43-44. 

3      Giorgi, Gianfranco Simon & Schuster's Guide to Bonsai (New York: Simon & Schuster; 1990), pg. 22 has b&w copy of two pages from, with date of late nineteenth century; Nippon Bonsai Association, Classic Bonsai of Japan (Tokyo and New York: Kodansha International; 1989), pg. 153 has b&w spread of 4 pairs of facing pages; Elias, Dr. Thomas S. "New Library Additions," NBF Bulletin, Vol. XI, No. 2, Winter 2000, pp. 3-4, with b&w of a pair of facing pages on former.  Quote from Chris Cochrane, in Sept. 27, 2006 #10 posting to Internet Bonsai Club.   The Oberlin College Inventory of Mary Ainsworth Collection of Japanese Artist Books lists this as an 1842 [sic] work with the following notes: "3 volumes   22 cm x 14 cm   speckled gray paper covers, white title strip with black writing. Black printing. Set Contained in a blue, cloth covered wrap case. Note on the inside of the box reads: "Bijutsu Bon Sai Zu. Exhibit of dwarf trees opened by members of the Bon Sai Kai. Tokyo. These Books are [overwritten with "were"] printed (not published) [sic] 1892 for the members of the Society and are not sold. Painter Kaineu has many bonsai. Merchant Iekida has many [?]. Tokyo- ..." [last five words are illegible].

4       Per the National Agriculture Library AGRICOLA Database,, Call Number: SB447.5 .O33 1898 DNAr.

5      Per the National Agriculture Library AGRICOLA Database,, Call Number: SB433.5 .I38 1897 DNAr.

1800 - 1849
1900 - 1949

Home  > Bonsai History  >  Books  >  1850-1899 Books