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 Bonsai Tree and Tattoo Art

 By Erik A. Olsen

The Japanese culture is one of the most amazing in the world. This culture is a beautiful balance of ancient history, romance, and art. Because of this, western civilizations have been mesmerized and inspired, eager to capture some of what the Japanese people portray. With samurai warriors, daimyos, shoguns, and a rich, diverse history, you cannot help but fall in love with the country and all that it can teach. Although many incredible things are associated with the Japanese culture, three that people tend to gravitate to include the Japanese garden, Japanese tea, and Japanese bonsai trees.

In this article, we wanted to address two of those, the bonsai tree and tattoo art, known as Horimono, traditional Japanese tattoo designs. First, Horimono dates back some 5,000 years ago but many historians believe this art form to be much older. Through a number of artifacts discovered such as clay figurines, they believe Horimono could actually go back as far as the 5th millennia BC. While some of the meaning remains speculation, historians believe the tattoos have a deep spiritual meaning to the bearers. Regardless of its birth, this form of tattoo is magnificent!

Around 700 AD, the art of tattoo had become very popular but it eventually became a way to punish criminals, marking them for easy identification as outcasts. These people, known as Ronin, which translates to samurais without masters, had to join gangs to survive the Japanese world. Interestingly, these gangs were responsible for establishing the 20th century Yakuza, which is centralized, organized crime. However, while the bonsai tree and tattoo art had different beginnings, both began to grow in popularity, making their rounds around the world.

Most of the Japanese tattoo artists were talented woodcut designers, exchanging blocks and blades for needles and charcoal ink. Even so, the practice of Horimono was illegal until the mid-20th century but even today, a certain stigma remains whether it is good or bad. Regardless the designs are often placed on the upper arm area called a Sleeve, which can then be covered by clothing. The bonsai tree and tattoo art are still popular today, enjoyed by people around the world for the natural beauty both provide. The difference is that the bonsai tree is openly displayed so it can be seen and enjoyed while the tattoo art is often hidden, yet just as beautiful.

This blend of bonsai tree and tattoo art creates a mystic around the Japanese culture. With Horimono, you have several styles to include Kanji. This form is a magnificent calligraphy writing that is very popular with tattoo designs. With this form of art, you can create literally any design or style preferred. Often, you will see Kanji as letters or words such as Love, Laughter, Wealth, and so on. With training bonsai trees, you can choose from hundreds of species and then depending on the specie you choose, use a number of styles, each very, distinct. For bonsai, a miniature tree is grown for indoor or outdoor use in a container. As you can see, growing bonsai trees or using tattoo designs is an exciting way to enjoy Japanese influence, something that can be done anywhere by anyone.

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