Often referred to as silent poetry, 3-D paintings, and a living art, bonsai has been loved by many people across the world, and Taiwan is no exception. The bonsai culture originates in Japan, and it has several hundred years of history. Starting in the late Qing Dynasty, Taiwan bonsai culture also boasts many years of history.
Please watch the video about bonsai cultivation in Taiwan:
Most of Japanese bonsai plants are from the frigid zone, and include pines and cypress. However, due to its wide range of temperatures, bonsai trees in Taiwan also include banyan (榕), elm (榆), Zelkova serrata (櫸), Blumea hongkongensis (七里香), Mirabilis (狀元紅), Carmona microphylla (福建茶), maple (楓), and maple sycamore (槭).
Currently, there are over-200-year-old living bonsai sites in Taiwan, including the Taipei Longshan Temple (龍山寺), Lugang Mazu Temple (鹿港天后宮), and Tainan Kaiyuan Monastery (開元寺).
Bonsai cultivation in Taiwan reached a high point in the 1980s, after a 13-episode TV series entitled The Art of Chinese Bonsai in Taiwan (中華盆栽藝術) aired on public television. It was repeatedly broadcast over a 4-month period.
The program was so popular that it set off a bonsai craze nationwide. It was estimated that up to 150,000 people started growing bonsai, and 67 bonsai associations were established across the country. There were also about 100 annual bonsai exhibitions held in various locations where enthusiasts could learn from each other.
Currently, the number of bonsai growers in Taiwan is between 10,000 and 20,000, and bonsai cultivation has become an important part of many people’s daily lives. Bonsai associations in various cities and counties also sponsor a variety of bonsai exhibitions to promote bonsai art.
Among the various bonsai exhibitions in Taiwan, the Han Feng Bonsai Exposition is one of the most important events during the year. Organized by the Taipei Bonsai Association and sponsored by the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, the Council of Agriculture (行政院農業委員會林業試驗所), the 2017 Han Feng Bonsai Exposition was held at the Guest House of Imperial Envoys in Taipei Botanic Garden on September 23-27.
Marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Taipei Bonsai Association, the Han Feng Bonsai Exposition attracted dozens of bonsai and Suiseki artists from across Taiwan. The exhibit included about 70 bonsai works and 30 beautiful shaped stones (Suiseki or 雅石). Among them, one beautiful piece won the Han Feng First Prize. In addition, 7 gold, 7 silver, and 9 bronze awards were given out to bonsai artists, while 12 gold awards were presented to Suiseki artists.
In addition to the display of beautiful bonsai and stones, a bonsai skills workshop was also held on September 24 at the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute in Taipei City. The workshop was conducted by Professor Amy Liang (梁悦美), who is the honorary president of National Bonsai Association of Taiwan (NBAT), and Taiwanese bonsai masters Yen Zi-jing (顏子景), Zhang Wude (張武德), and Wu Jian-Chang (吳建章).