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Association of Australian Bonsai Clubs

08/11/2011

A bonsai can be a tree or shrub grown in a container and therefore small in size, yet in its entirety expresses the beauty and form of a tree grown in nature. In creating a bonsai, the beauty of the entire tree and its harmony with the container in which it is planted are of aesthetic importance.

Evidence of the existence of bonsai goes back as far as 1,300 years in China. Various essays and illustrations on Chinese and Japanese scrolls produced during the Kamakura period (1192 – 1333) indicate that suitable material was gathered from fields and mountains for creation of bonsai. It is during the Edo period (1615 – 1867) in Japan that bonsai gradually increased in popularity although it was viewed as a hobby for the wealthy. However, as interest continued to grow, bonsai became accessible to more of the public as a horticultural art form. In Japan this resulted in the first nation-wide bonsai exhibition being held in Tokyo in 1914.

Since the 1930s and more especially since the late 1940s the interest in bonsai has spread from China and Japan, with the result that today, interest in the subject is world-wide. Here in Australia, the Association of Australian Bonsai Clubs was formed in Sydney in 1980 and has 55 member clubs in Australia and 2 in New Zealand. One such club that I’m familiar with is the Castlemaine Bonsai Society.

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