Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cruelty Free Life

Bonsai is a traditional Chinese art of training trees and shrubs into miniaturized version of adult plants. Tree species like maple, pine and elm are regularly pruned to stunt the growth and shape their foliage. Then wires are used to produce pronounced bends and curves in the brunches and trunks to mimic the appearance of age and growth.

This photo was taken on a street in Chinatown. The vendor had a cart full of bonsai trees in different sizes and shapes. Some of the bonsais are about the size of a cupcake while others are larger.

Do you find this practice barbaric or do you think it is an acceptable way to produce an aesthetically attractive plant?

20 comments:

Oh for the love of food! said...

Hey there, Ming, gorgeous pic of a bonsai you've got there. Personally, I think that bonsai is a beautiful form of eastern art.Ming and I love bonsai (pronounced phoon choi in cantonese)and all plants for that matter but neither of us have got a green thumb so plants in our care are not at their best. Recently less conventional plants have been trained into bonsai and potted in colorful pots as part of modern decor. Very attractive and eye catching.The last time I saw some were at Wagamama.

Kala said...

that was definitely something new for me - all this time i thought Bonsai plants were from Japan but i guess it originated in China! Nice pic of this interesting topic

Abraham Lincoln said...

Bonsai. I love it. I was in Japan for three years and saw the real thing or things some hundreds of years old. I like your photograph a lot.

Thanks for visiting my place. And I noted you switched from Firefox to IE because of pictures not loading. I have the same problem. I can open photobucket and wait 5, 10 or longer minutes and the pictures will not open. I use Internet Explorer and they open instantly.

Firefox has a huge problem and it has been enough to make me want to cuss more than once.

Thanks again

Brookville Daily Photo

Fabrizio ikol22 said...

Ming, good the first. I mean I find this practice barbaric.

Strangetastes said...

Ming - the question you ask involves philosophy and biology. Can can't feel pain? They don't have a nervous system. They may respond to stimuli, like all life, but I don't consider pruning a plant to be cruel.

By the way, Abe, I've been using Firefox with the blogs with few problems. The only annoyance I've found is that a few page elements don't lay our correctly, particularly the slideshows or filmstrips or whatever they're called. And thanks for the coding tips. I don't write code so this is helpful info.

Bob

St. Louis Missouri Daily Photo Blog

alice said...

I thought it was Japanese...I like the result as an art but the idea is unconfortable...It's very difficult to take care of them, especially inside.

thwany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GMG said...

Hi Ming, great bonsai picture you have here. I always loved to see bonsai trees... that's all!

Kate said...

It never occurred to me that some people might consider it a barbaric practice. I just admired the beauty of the plant. Several months ago I visited our Como Zoo which has a bonsai room and took these photos with my old camera but the images are not as sharp as I'd like them to be.

RamblingRound said...

I doubt the plants care one way or the other. I think bonsai is beautiful.

tigerfish said...

I don't think pple go "ouching" for those bonsai. Most appreciate them as an art. But too much of trimming here and there makes them too artificial. Hmmm...it's like those dog shows...when a dog goes through "hell" just because owners want da dogs to look pretty. I start to remember now that some bonsai actually do look like poodle ?:O

Per Stromsjo said...

I wouldn’t call it barbaric but I can’t say I enjoy reading about the practice either. We keep learning new things on your blog, Ming(tm). Interesting.

Melting Wok said...

hey ming, bit late here, just realised you had linked me, thanks :) man, the only nice bonsais I see here is when I visit the Japanese Garden at Huntington Library, tt's nice :)

Annie said...

I think it comes out of the same school os foot binding.

Belinda said...

I love bonsai plants. So delicate and intricate, but high maintenance hence my never owning one. I'm not good with plants at all.

I find them amazing and don't belive the art of bonsai to be cruel.

Thanks for another great pic Ming!

Belinda said...

BTW - love the figurine of the two elderly Japanese guys sitting under the bonsai plant. I can easily imagine this scene in life like size.

Keropok Man said...

Bonsai's nice. I have never thought of it as barbaric though.

You know what is? The old old practice of feet bounding to make feet small. I think that is barbaric.

エスタ said...

i don't think it is barbaric in the slightest! people have been pruning and arranging fruit trees in orchards for centuries for the purpose of easy picking, why would it be cruel when it's for the sake of art? am sure the tree doesn't mind ;) i am the reluctant owner (received when someone was clearly out their apartment) and it has just made one beautiful pink flower, it's so endearing i'm thinking of pruning it into a more aesthetic shape....it having gotten rather bushy! ☆ Esther

Sean from Bonsai3.net said...

I can't imagine barbarians spending much time on the cultivation of trees!

Zach said...

I practice bonsai. I believe it to be a beautiful art form. It's a healthy mix of sculpture and horticulture if you will, and is not barbaric its art. If bonsai was barbaric then would farming not share the same designation?