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National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan*
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Bonsai Exhibition
At the Corridor along Oval Plaza
December 9, 2015 - January 3, 2016

Our brains are like bonsai trees, growing around our private versions of reality.
- Sloane Crosley -

Bonsai, a unique art of gardening that originated in China, is the practice of miniaturizing container-grown trees and woody shrubs, and is said to be a combination of art and horticulture, along with a dash of spirituality. The Chinese art of bonsai and potted landscapes have been famous for centuries. They are often described as "soundless poetry", "stereoscopic painting", or "living sculpture". According to Japanese tradition, the bonsai represents the three virtues - truth, goodness and beauty. Enthusiasm is growing rapidly for bonsai horticulture worldwide. It is believed that indoor plants, of course including bonsai, can clean and help purify the air in our home or office. Moreover, successfully growing and caring for a bonsai tree can leave people with a great sense of accomplishment and help people relieve stress.

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the National Museum of Natural Science in collaboration with Taiwan Bonsai World (including Taiwan Pine & Cypress Bonsai Association, Chinese Miniature Bonsai Association, Yachu Bonsai Art Association, and Taichung Tree & Stone Art Association) hosts this bonsai exhibition. On the opening day, seventy bonsai trees displayed along the corridor around the Museum's Oval Plaza allow the true beauty of each bonsai to come alive with the effective use of accessories. The exhilarating memories attendants create from feasting their eyes on ten bonsai trees of over 100 years old will be long lasting and can be reviewed and studied in the forthcoming three scheduled shows. Many refined Pinus morrisonicola (Taiwan Pine) and Juniperus chinensis (Chinese juniper) bonsais are displayed with a foliage needle-like Juniperus formosana Hayata var. concolor Hayata from the steep cliff of Taiwan's east coast as well as a Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora) in a peculiar cement pot. More than three hundred bonsai trees comprise one of the largest collections on public display.

Bonsai Bonsai Bonsai Bonsai Bonsai Bonsai

“Bonsai is a challenging and rewarding horticultural activity, in which ordinary plants are grown in an extraordinary way,” said Museum Director Sun Wei-hsin, “The spirits for both science and art are fully shown in the whole process of growing and making bonsai.” Sun also stressed that the museum has always been trying to integrate science and art. “It is hoped that our audiences will enjoy the peaceful beauty in bonsai art while they are exploring the exciting world of science,” he said.

"Bonsai is more than just a gardening experiment," said Dr. Yen Shin-fu, Curator at the Museum's Biology Department. "Unlike other works of art, there are no finished bonsai as long as the trees are still alive and growing; they must continue on a daily basis. That's why bonsai growing is called an art without end, " Yen continued. "Similarly, the Museum has been active in Taiwan since 1986. Today, the Garden keep moving forward. Facing the upcoming 30th anniversary, we seek to deepen the understanding of past choices, present circumstances, and future possibilities," Yen stated and concluded, "We sincerely hope that our visitors appreciate our achievements while enjoying the beauty of bonsai art!"

Professional bonsai artist Chen Min-da places great emphasis on the container. "A tree is a tree; a pot is only a pot. It does not become a bonsai until these two are combined and form a harmony together," said he, "A large part of the art of bonsai is the experience of a tree that has become detached from its ground bondage and now lives a life in a pot. Choose a pot to suit your tree!"?

Different from most bonsai exhibitions, the bonsai in this exhibition are displayed in educationally designed setting. From selecting a tree to developing and maintaining a bonsai, the exhibition describes the necessary basic information with various tips on critical techniques for beginners and bonsai enthusiasts. More than 300 potted plants, which are quite capable of representing the most accomplished level of bonsai in Taiwan, are periodically displayed in scheduled successions to keep the presentation varied.

We also offer related events such as exhibit introductions and lectures. Join us!

  • Exhibit Introduction
    Admission: FREE
    Time: Dec. 12、13、19、20、26、27, 2015 and Jan.1、2、3, 2016; 10-11am & 3:30-4:30pm
  • Lecture: How I-Ching and Human Worldview Affect Bonsai; Bonsai and Life
    Admission: FREE
    Speaker: Pro. Wu Chiu-wen; Mr. Liao Gui-tung
    Location: Blue Conference Room
    Time: Dec. 20 & 26; 1:30-3:30pm

Bonsai Exhibition is made possible by the National Museum of Natural Science in collaboration with Taiwan Pine & Cypress Bonsai Association, Chinese Miniature Bonsai Association, Yachu Bonsai Art Association, and Taichung Tree & Stone Art Association.