The art form of bonsai (盆栽) has been a Japanese tradition for centuries. It originated from the Chinese tradition known as penjing (miniature landscapes of trees and rocks). The word bonsai was derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese term for the art, penzai. Bon is a tray-like pot typically used for bonsai culture and sai means to plant.
So, the art of bonsai focuses on the long-term practice of cultivating and shaping miniature trees that are grown in a container. The purpose of the art is to give the artist the opportunity to practice patience, effort, and ingenuity, and to give the viewer a chance to contemplate the artwork.
Bonsai, as an oriental art, is strongly linked to Zen Buddhism, appealing to our mental balance and awakening our imagination.