(bonsai, bonseki, bonkei, saikei, penjing, pentsai, suiseki, hon non bo)

Compiled by Robert J. Baran



1800 - 1849 +

1850 - 1899 +

1900 - 1949 + /

1950 - 1999

2000 - 2049


(Not included in the stats below.)

These lists have been compiled from volumes actually seen by RJB, reviews and ads and listings in the assorted bonsai magazines, bibliographies in the various books, The National Union Catalog, Books In Print, various Web sites including Library of Congress Online Catalog, USDA Library Online (AGRICOLA Catalog), County of Los Angeles Public Library Online,, Google Book Search, The Viewing Stone Association of North America, and the individuals noted below.
Most exhibition albums are not included due to their annual -- and, arguably, less unique -- nature.

Some readers might disagree with the range of art forms included herein (or the inclusion herein of several booklets.)  While bonsai is the most recognized and practiced of this family, it does share many features with the others.  Some practitioners of bonsai are also practitioners of one or more of the other art forms.  A common philosophical origin unites all of these magical miniature landscapes. 

To facilitate locating books on the various art forms herein, the following color coding has been adopted throughout:

Subject Code:   penjing/Chinese school , viewing stones and suiseki , bonkei , saikei , indoor , bonsai/Japanese school , hon non bo

It is acknowledged that some degree of arbitrariness is involved.  Generally, if one of the first five above art forms or styles is included in the title or is known by RJB to be significantly included in the work, then the entire entry for that title is colored other than black. 

Please note that this is an ongoing project.   ISBN-10 and -13s are being gotten from listings at  As of 07/13/2003 we are now adding the text of dedications and original pricing.  "Original cover price" is the amount actually seen by RJB on a first edition work.  "Original ad. price" means the price listed during the year of publication or during the following year only in either a book review, book club ad, or as otherwise advertised.

As of May 22, 2008 we have also started adding "USDA" at the end of various listings which are also in the
USDA National Agriculture Library.

 If you know of any additions or corrections or have any comments,
please e-mail .

Specific thanks, so far, to 
Peter Aradi, Hoe Chuan, Chris Cochrane, Craig and Anita Cowing, Drs. Thomas S. Elias and Nakaoji Hiromi, Lindsay Farr, Herb Gustafson, Craig J. Hunt, John Romano, William N. Valavanis, and Alan Walker for their assistance.

And very special thanks to George T. Cole, Jr., his wife Nobuyo, and her sister Hiroko Shinozaki of Fukuoka, Japan for their translations and thoughts on a large number of the Japanese titles (only 1850-1949 and 1950-1999 A-J have been entered thus far). 


Some of the Book Covers can be seen at  and .

An Analysis of the Titles Herein
As of 09/23/17, there were some 1,379 titles for non-periodical works on the above related topics listed in this section in 26 different languages.  "Titles" are either original editions, including a few private printings but very few exhibition catalogs; significantly revised editions; or translations.

While this list is not complete, as the most comprehensive gathering of titles in our field to date, an analysis of its range is enlightening.

26 (1.9%) of these works were published before the year 1800,
18 (1.3%) are from 1800-1899,
59 (4.3%) are from 1900-1949,
875 (63.5%) are from 1950-1999,
and 401 (29.0%) so far are year 2000+.

430 (31.2%) of all the works listed are in English,
333 (24.1%) are in Japanese,
197 (14.3%) are in Chinese,
85 (6.1%) are in Spanish,
77 (5.6%) are in German,
58 (4.2%) are in Italian,
57 (4.2%) are in French,
and 142 (10.3%) are in 20 other languages -- at least one each in Afrikaans (2), Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech (14), Danish (4), Dutch (23), Finnish, Greek, Hungarian (2), Indonesian (9), Korean (21), Lithuanian (2), Polish (12), Portuguese (8), Russian (15), Sinhalese, Swedish (2), Tamil, Thai (2), and Vietnamese (19).

For the 48 (3.5%) works containing significant amounts of text in two or more languages, the titles were counted under the first language listed only.

With the recognition that a few of these books may have been arbitrarily put into the following categories,
960 (69.6%) of all the works listed are about bonsai,
161 (11.7%) are about or include significant amounts of material on penjing,
171 (12.4%) are about or include significant amounts of material on viewing stones,
41 (3.0%) are about or include significant amounts of material on indoor dwarf potted plants,
21 (1.5%) are about or include significant amounts of material on saikei (living landscapes),
and 25 (1.8%) are about or include significant amounts of material on bonkei (non-living landscapes).

1036 (75.1%) of these works are listed as having a single author,
213 (15.5%) are listed with two specific authors,
39 (2.8%) are listed with three or more authors,
and 91 (6.6%) are listed without any author.

Books listed as by an "association" or by the otherwise nonspecific "editors" of a publisher have been arbitrarily counted here as having only one author.

The most prolific author/"translatee" thus far listed here is Keiji Murata with fifteen (15) single author entries and eleven (11) more as a co-author.  Paul Lesniewicz is in second place.  He has nineteen (19) single author entries and one (1) more as a co-author.  Japanese author/illustrator Kyosuke Gun is in very close third place.  He has thirteen (13) single author entries and six (6) more as a co-author. 

Future analyses will also include percentage of total works being translations into at least one other language.

As more books are added, the above numbers will be adjusted.

At any time, RJB has at least a dozen possible additional titles which have not yet been added for various reasons, including confirmation of subject, date of publication, and author name.

Home  > Bonsai History  >  Books