A Japanese word, literally meaning "tree in a pot,"
bonsai is the Chinese
craft of cultivating dwarfed, potted
trees. The term denotes both the pursuit of this horticultural
work and the objects themselves.
The goal in bonsai is to create small versions -- from a few inches to several feet in height -- of what resemble huge, ancient trees, with special regard shown to balance, harmony, and form. The parts of each miniature tree are carefully pruned, its wood painstakingly trained by various techniques -- typically winding wire -- which gradually bend them to the artist's taste. Bonsai originated in China, later to be embraced by the Japanese. Before becoming bonsai, a plant may be referred to as potensai. Some bonsai is modeled upon traditional Chinese painting.
Also see aleatory and aleatoric, design, earth art, ikebana, landscape architecture, landscape painting, suiseki, tradition, and wabi-sabi.