for the Development of Magical Miniature Landscapes,
Year 1 to 899

© 2002-2017  Robert J. Baran
All Rights Reserved.

Up to Year 1
900 to 1499
1500 to 1799
1800 to 1999
2000 to present
Notes (cont.)

Baran, Robert J.  "A Suggested Timeline for the Development of Magical Miniature Landscapes,"
http://www.magiminiland.org/BigPicture/Timelineb.html, version dated 17 June 2017.

0 * About 2 C.E. , Buddhist missionaries from Bactria court visited the Han court. (79)


* Confucianism now became entirely divorced from ancient magical rites of wu sorcerer/psychic priests who had been assisting in rituals for over fifteen centuries. (94)
* Daoism, with its doctrine of non-action, its mysticism -- including recreating magical sites in miniature to focus these properties -- and its disregard of rites and ceremonies esteemed by Confucians, was deeply rooted along with wu in cultural life of ordinary people. (95)
* Period of great creativity in imperial gardening and development and growth of private, residential gardens as smaller versions thereof. (96)
* By this time, bronze trees (some w/ceramic bases) were grave objects typical of Sichuan province and southwest China. These so-called "money trees" consisted of trunk from which sprouted many branches, each bearing depictions of Daoist immortals, figures and animals who had associations w/afterlife. On branches were replicas of contemporary coinage, presumably so deceased person would have access to endless supplies of money in afterlife. May have also embodied concept of Enlightenment if they were associated w/bodhi tree and Buddhism. (Approx. 12 cm high ones would be made of gold during Tang in Chang'an. Trees bearing jewels are widely known in other Asian civilizations. Indian description 'silver trunk, gold branches, emerald leaves, pearls for fruits' was possibly most influential in China. Han Wudi's imperial hunting park described as being planted w/ten [full-sized] trees of white silver and ten of yellow silver.) (97)
* By 83 C.E., amber being imported from Burma.  Its "magical" property (static electricity) allowed amber to pick up mustard seeds. (98)
* In 57 C.E. first embassy from this Land of Wa reached Luoyang court and paid tribute to Han Emperor. (Wa was comprised of about hundred separate tribal communities without writing or political cohesion.) (99)
* Romans saw trees in pots in Egypt, brought back idea and there was craze in Rome for growing trees in pots, especially lemons and oranges.
* Although topiary art [would come] to mean plant sculpture by Renaissance period, the word topia/topiarius had other meanings in antiquity, one of which was "miniature gardens," such as those found in the peristyles (columned porch or open colonnade in building that surrounds court that may contain an internal garden) of Roman houses. These miniature gardens were probably derived from landscapes in bas-relief on certain courtyard walls that date back to Hellenistic times... Some of houses at Pompeii (dating no later than 79 C.E.) had mural paintings of gardens, illusionistic wall paintings that added false perspective to enclosed gardens; others had, in addition, three-dimensional miniature landscapes... Also found there was a little house having wall with flues to allow heat from stove in house to warm the bricks and thus the air, and tiers of masonry on which plants plants would be displayed. There are also indications of the existence of a screen of rough glass or mica: this was an early version of a greenhouse. On Pliny's Tuscan estate dwarf trees and gardens were laid out in imitation of country scenes. Art was elaborate, highly stylized and sometimes over-the-top status symbol for sybaritic villa life, complex and labor-intensive, appealing to Roman sense of taste and achieved by Roman dependance on slavery. Clipped box, cypress, or dwarf plane trees could display name of gardener or owner of villa, or could represent animals, battles and heroic characters from history and mythology, obelisks, and all sorts of images. (100)
* 107, Han history reference to 160 prisoners of war sent by Japan to China as tribute to acquire bronze implements and iron ore which the island peoples needed from the mainland. (101)
* Parthian crown prince An Shi-gao fled to China c.148 and began systematic translation of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese, including material on dhyana (use of various meditational exercises as a way to enlightenment). So-called Dhyana school of early Chinese Buddhism began, and translations sometimes used Daoist terminology to convey non-physical concepts. Also, floral altar decorations were introduced and floral designs started to become dominant force in Chinese art. (102)

* China (as Seres) was beginning to be shown on Roman maps. (103)
* An embassy, sent by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 166 C.E  returned from China w/gift of Chinese human dwarfs for Roman emperor and, perhaps, it is no coincidence that dwarf statuary long remained popular as garden art. Trade throughout Indian Ocean was extensive from 2nd cent., and many trading ports w/links to Roman communities have been identified in India and Sri Lanka along route used by Roman mission. (104)

THREE KINGDOMS period (220-280)

SIX DYNASTIES period (in south, 265-589), including JIN DYNASTY (265-420)

* Legend of Fei Jiang-feng who had "power of shrinking and collecting in urn mountains and streams... trees and rivers." Would be retold through Tang and Song dynasties.
* Pre-Tang literature also frequently mentioned aberrations of vital fluids of Nature, such as stones shaped naturally like living creatures: tortoise, horse, man, or the Buddha, and fossiliferous rocks containing "stone swallows" and other monsters. In addition, there was mass of folklore about haunted stones in wild rugged places, curiously shaped rocks associated w/dragons, devils, saints, and gods. (105)
* More than thirty states had been united by shamaness-queen Pimiko, who presided over complex culture and c.239 established diplomatic relations with Chinese Wei dynasty (220-264). (106)

* At beginning of century, royal family of Western Jin moved from Luoyang to Nanking on lower southern reaches of Yangzi, where very favorable climate and soils permitted making of spectacular gardens -- still using Han techniques. (107)
* 304, text describes earliest known use of biological pest control: carnivorous reddish-yellow ants to attack insects which damage mandarin oranges. (Seventeen centuries later would be subject of study in West.) (108)

SIXTEEN KINGDOMS period (in north, 316-589)

* In 4th and 5th cent., immense expansion of Buddhism in northern China, area being in contact w/Central Asiatic trade route which communicated w/India. Buddhism and Daoism- wu directed their appeal to magical side of human nature which was neglected by Confucian orthodoxy. Former two faiths located their temple sites in forests or near mountains and were enhanced by traditional gardening arts.
* Indian Ayurvedic texts were translated into Tibetan and Chinese by this time. (110)
* While stands based on ancient Chinese styles continued to be fashioned for traditional vessels, as well as some Buddhist images, Indian-derived features -- such as podiums w/indented waists and/or lotus-petal decoration -- introduced during this time had profound influence. (111)

* 313, Korean Koguryo Kingdom overthrew Chinese military colony at Lelang. Paekche Kingdom to south sought help from Yamato region (Japan) for assistance in troops and supplies. Kaya region of southern peninsular coast was Yamato's entire source of iron at time, so Yamato helped stop Koguryo's southern push. (112)
* 372, Buddhism brought into Korea from China. (113)
* By 406, ginger was such a favorite spice that it was being grown in pots onboard ships so it could be eaten fresh. (114)
* To be able to appreciate beauty of landscapes was part of one's dream of ideal life. As a result, landscape gardens, landscape paintings and landscape poems gained popularity amonbg literati. Private gardens first created now, grew from striving for spiritual freedom, as opposed to materialistic pleasure that motivated building of imperial gardens and parks. Scholars became hermits in opposition to the status quo, escaping society in order to preserve their integrity. Private garden based on Daoism -- 'simple, formless, desireless, without striving' -- was articulation of desire for graceful, happy, long life in retirement -- but also was expression of denial, self-protection, and seclusion in response to buffetings of unstable and chaotic society. Remote but scenic places were chosen for beautiful villas of high artistic quality, self-sustaining and made to imitate and complement nature, including creation of scenes using rocks, trees, and water. (115)
* A scholar familiar with Chinese religious writings, Wang-In (Wani), spent time here as early as 404 when he brought ten copies of Analects of Confucius. (116)
* Around 400, the chrysanthemum was introduced from China. (117)
* From 421 - 478, King of Wa sent tribute to Southern Court in China. (118)
* Japan's most sacred spot, Ise shrine, dates from this century. Was consecrated to sun-goddess, supposed ancestress of emperor. Its open pebble enclosure is called yuniwa, "purified space of ground." In act of ritual purification, light-colored gravel was spread around ground of Shinto shrines and other ceremonial areas... These sacred plots also served as spaces for dignitaries to gather and conduct political and religious ceremonies. Cone-shaped mounds of gravel found at some shrines and temples thought to have originally been used as reserve stock, as gravel degrades over time. Derived from this is niwa, space of ground "set aside for special purposes," which could be religious or political. Some of these would become gardens, present-day meaning of niwa. (119)

* Use of air-layering as method of propagation recorded by this time. (120)
* Monk Bodhidarma (c. 470-543?) opposed Indian Buddhist practice, which had developed along more doctrinaire and ritualistic lines, turning away from meditation and concept of each person's ability to possess and know his/her own Buddha nature. Bodhidharma set out to discover how he might restore this essential component and travelled widely. Quest eventually took him to Shaolin temple in Henan, China, where after nine years of sitting meditation he conveyed his teachings to monk Huike (487-593). Chan-na (aka Chan ) school of Buddhism thus originated when Bodhidarma-brought Indian dhyana teachings merged w/Chinese Daoism. Chan maintained its more active, vital spirit even as other Buddhist sects were becoming more rigidly formalized. (121)
* 536-545, in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America climatic disruptions that led to catastrophic famines and great loss of life, from bombardment by Halley's cometary debris?; Chinese descriptions: "Dragons fought in the pond of the K'uh o. They went westward... In the places they passed, all the trees were broken.... the stars were lost from view for three months." (122)
* c.550, preface to otherwise undistinguished Ancient Painters' Classified Record by Xie He contains "Six points to consider when judging a painting" which formed pivot around which all subsequent criticism in China has revolved. These principles were also integrated into gardening arts of Southern China. (123)
* Frequent communications and trade w/India and Persia from this time. (124)

SUI DYNASTY (581-618)

* By 552, Chinese Buddhism introduced into Japan and first monastery established 35 years later. Native Shintoism, evolved form of animism, discovered in Chinese Daoism kindred recognition of nature, of rocks, trees, waterfalls and mountains as powerful home of spirits. Japan's syncretic genius already evident even as in came into contact w/continental Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism. (125)
* Incense stand similar to boshanlu was sent from China to Empress-Regent Suiko (b.554, r.592-628). (126)
* Also in 552, silkworms smuggled out of China in bamboo tubes, along w/secrets of industry to Byzantine emperor Justinian in Constantinople. (127)
* Earliest documentation on Korean suseouk dates from this century. Noblemen and scholars later would recognize beauty of natural stones and eventually display them in their homes along w/treasures such as books. In their travels noblemen would use favored stones as gifts rather than something more practical, such as a cow. Only wealthy would have leisure and therefore interest in collecting stones. (128)
* "Grand Canal" involved rebuilding existing canals (including from Chang'an to north China Plains) and digging new channels to link Yangzi and Yellow rivers, and continuing south of Yangzi across to eastern plains as far as Hangzhou in Zhejiang province. Result was world's largest artificial waterway. (Canal still in use today.) Now possible for product of northern kilns to be marketed in populous region around mouth of Yangzi, and vice-versa for celadons of Zhejiang and Jiangsu to come northwards and to rob northern kilns, particularly those of Henan, of their incentive to technical progress. (129)
* Box-construction pedestals became more airy through inclusion of apertures w/cusped or scalloped upper edges, rounded sides, and narrow base stretchers. Most of basic styles of stands (except for rock pedestals) had thus appeared by this time. (130)

TANG DYNASTY (618-906)

* 621, Imperial bureau established for manufacture of porcelain. Technology would advance further during this dynasty. (131)
* Mid-century, court painter Yan Liben's Tribute Offered by a Vassal depicted a scene of at least twenty-five foreigners presenting gifts to the emperor, including long columns of rock riddled w/hollows and exquisitely shaped rocks apparently as miniature landscapes. Earliest known depiction of these from anywhere. Also, oldest written references to miniature landscapes date from this time, but these indicate such landscapes were already developed and in fashion. First major influx of foreigners into rebuilt capital city of Chang'an occurred in 630 when Eastern Turks were defeated by Tang dynasty army and thousands of Turkish families moved to city to live. Rulers of neighboring empires would often send their children to live in Chang-an as pledge of their loyalty. One prized commodity in China was silver imported from Iran, for which demand soon outstripped supply. Chinese silversmiths started work, but as they had no developed industrial tradition, many imported forms and decorations were imitated. (That is why some of shapes of Tang silver, for example, look foreign.) (132)
* Shen-xiu (605?-706) founded so-called Northern School of Chan, which was strongly marked by traditional Indian Meditation Buddhism. At end of century received patronization of Empress Wu (who found it politically opportune to side w/school of Buddhism that deviated from position of established schools). Northern School, however, declined and died out after few generations. (133)
* Suiko's nephew, Prince Regent Shotoku (573-621), promulgated 17-article constitution, sent large embassy in 607 to China (start of two century tradition of scholarly missions and intercourse), and added house figure to incense stand: thought to be beginning of bonkei. (134)
* Censer crowned w/small rock representing sacred Chinese/Buddhist mountain was received by way of Korea.
* Craftsmen from Korea constructed several replicas of this sacred mountain for Court, some copies placed next to temples, others smaller sized.
(From late 4th to mid-7th cent. Japan adventured into Korea through generations of sporadic fighting and intrigue involved w/incessant warfare among three Korean kingdoms and dozens of smaller states there. Much loot, tribute and presents gotten, along w/Korean aristocratic elites and artisans and some Chinese craftsmen. Japanese Iron Age Yamato standard of living tremendously accelerated because of all of this.) (135)
* Buddhism established as official religion in 624.
* Government, literature, and culture based on Chinese model.
* An envoy sent by Shotoku to China for cultural guidance returned w/also appreciation of Buddhistic practice of floral altar worship. After Prince Regent died, this Ono-no-imoko retired from Court and started to formulate basic rules of arranging flowers w/stylized designs at Rokkaku-do temple. First school of arrangement came into existence, Ikenobo. (There were two hundred Japanese participating in diplomatic missions to China at this time.) (137)

YAMATO period (645-711)

* Between 652 and 798, eastern Roman emperor sent 7 diplomats to Chinese capital Chang-an, Arabian caliph sent 36, and Persia sent 29. (138)
* 660, Silla Kingdom allied w/China to overthrow Paekche Kingdom; Koguryo fell shortly afterwards in 668. Despite Chinese Tang influences and Buddhism, Korea peninsula-ruling Silla remained largely tribal in culture.
Dwarf potted trees were introduced from China to Korea during this time. Uisang (625-702), one of most eminent early Buddhist scholar-monks, is considered to be father of suseok, stone collecting. Japanese Buddhist monks who traveled to China, stayed over in Korea and there was considerable exchange between these two cultures. Many of them came in contact w/Uisang and his interpretation of emerging Chinese Huayan Buddhism (which became Hwaom school in Korea), earning him great respect and high esteem. (139)
* 679, creation by China of the protectorate general of An Nam (Vietnam). (Au Lac kingdom had been vassal of China since 196 B.C.E. and was annexed in 111 B.C.E. ) (140)
* Hui-neng (638-713) founded so-called Southern School of Chinese Chan w/radical rejection of mere book learning and down-to-earth practicality combined w/dry humor. Gave Chan, which had been traditional Indian Buddhism, typical Chinese stamp at least as strongly marked by Daoism as by Buddhism. (141)
* c.706, Crown Prince Zhang Huai's tomb paintings included depictions of two ladies-in-waiting offering penjing, miniature rockery landscapes in shallow dishes.
* Relations w/some 70 countries and regions; height of what one day would be called Silk Road trade along vast overland network of local trade connections stretching to Mediterranean Sea. (Route had been in use since prehistoric times.) Capital of Chang'an was one of world's political, economic and cultural centers. At 80 sq. km. area, was largest city in world w/one million inhabitants + one million more in metropolitan areas. Zhang Huai's tomb (above) depicts on eastern wall ambassadors from eastern Roman empire, Korea, and northeastern regions, while western wall shows ambassadors from Dashi (now Arabia), Tibet, and Gaochang (near Turfan in Xinjiang province). (142)
* During the Tang period, these miniature landscapes were called "Tray Pond," "Tray Mountain" and "Tray Planting." (143a)
* Second greatest poet Du Fu (712-770) had description of rock landscape shrunk into the space of one cubic foot. (143b)
* Lu Yu's Classic of Tea (c.760-780) promoted tea drinking to aesthetic experience among leisured and well-to-do. Advocated use of green glazed tea bowls because this improved depth of tea's green color. (144)
* Development of private gardens reached its maturity as scholar-hermits no longer felt compelled to venture into wilderness as their only means of "escaping" society. Instead, they built urban and suburban dwellings for themselves and led secluded life of art and poetry writing. Luoyang at century's end had more than thousand private gardens scattered throughout city and its suburbs. Capital of Chang'an had even greater amount of gardens. (145)
* In 702, great University for promotion of Medicine, Astrology and other Chinese sciences established at seat of government. (146)

NARA period (712-793)

* 717, botanical garden added to University. (147)
* Other gardens being built were called shima ("islands"), scaled down models of sea and island scenery -- and ancient Chinese Islands of the Blessed. (148)

* Noblemen took enjoyment in creating small kazan (miniature rock gardens). One preserved in Shosoin treasure house in Nara is comprised of suhamadai (ornamental tray made to resemble sandbar of river), mountain-scape and trees. Suhamadai and mountains are both made from decayed wood and are thought to be detachable so that wood could be replaced to create variety of different scenes. Trees are made from silver and designed for one or several of them to be inserted into the sandy beach. This kazan was pinnacle of craftsmanship up to Heian period, used for decoration at poetry matches among other things. (149)
* c.759, Man'yōshū, earliest anthology of Japanese poetry speaks of world of mountains, rivers, flora and fauna in anthromorphic terms, animistic terms, investing each entity with living personality infused w/kami, or mysterious spiritual energy and presence. As no area of island nation is more than seventy miles from sea, mountains are always in view, and rainfall is ample, always was strong awareness of beauties of nature among people here. This anthology codified and molded Japanese infatuation w/natural world different from Chinese view and would influence poetry through the centuries. (150)

HEIAN period (794-1185)
* c.795, regulations for the administration of towns in Charlemagne's empire list seventy-three plants and fruit-trees which were recommended to be grown. (151)
800 * Pai-chang Huai-hai (720-814) founded Chan monastic tradition by establishing precise rules for life and daily routine. Chan masters and their students had hitherto been "guests" in monasteries of other Buddhist schools and had adhered to monastic rules of these schools. Independent Chan monasteries were now possible because of new rules which stressed importance of combining meditative practice w/daily work in monastery and in fields. Pai-chang is not known for his organizational talent alone, rather primarily for his Chan realization and his great wisdom. (152)
* As power of Tang emperors declined, anti-Buddhist movement arose, first among Daoists and then Confucian officials and scholars. Buddhism seen as foreign religion, and there was much resentment at immense land and wealth monasteries had acquired. With 845 ban on foreign merchants, religions, etc., many monasteries closed and either demolished or converted to other use; much reduced number of monks. Buddhism would continue in China and at times flourish (under foreign Yuan and Qing dynasties) but never again attain immense prestige and status it enjoyed at its zenith in early Tang. (153)
* Li He (790-816) described techniques of wiring and pruning he used to care for his potted pine. His affection for this particular pine encouraged his mind to wander w/out impediment. (154)
* Han Yu (768-824) wrote verse in praise of dwarf potted landscape. (155)
* Bai Zu Yi (aka Po Chü-i, 772-846) wrote verse about miniature mountain landscape, and Essay of Taihu Rocks (843), earliest reference to collection and appreciation of rocks from Lake Tai. (156)
* Li Deyu (787-850) wrote at least four pieces about stones. (157)
* Saichō (767-822), founder of Tendai school of Buddhism, first broached subject of Buddhahood for nonsentient beings by affirming that "trees and rocks have Buddha-nature." (158)
* During early years, most of NW part of capital was a settlement of naturalized Koreans and Chinese who had come as craftsmen, architects, and garden makers to help build this new city. Centerpiece of Heian courtly life would be palace and its garden. Mountains near capital were rich in beautiful stones, which have been treasured as garden materials since ancient times. Region is also blessed w/abundance of white sand. (159)
* Art of arranging flowers spread from temples to courts of nobles and feudal lords. Evolved was more artistic system w/formal and elaborate designs, heavily vested in rituals and religious concepts. Structure was composed of three radical lines based on Confucian teachings that "Man identifies himself w/Heaven and Earth." (160)
* 838, last diplomatic mission to China had up to six hundred Japanese, including monk Ennin who wrote diary of his visit. Japanese had conceived of these missions as being from one equal to another and never conceded any superiority to Chinese emperor, hence size of these affairs. (161)

Up to Year 1
900 to 1499
1500 to 1799
1800 to 1999
2000 to present
Notes (cont.)
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