The impulse to bring the outside in is centuries old, a fact that bonsai trees are testament to. Beginning in the first century A.D., the Chinese practice of penjing, “pot scenery,” replicated the natural world in realistic miniature. Enthusiasts believed that scaling down landscapes gave them access to nature’s powers, which they felt became more potent in the process. The horticultural technique of raising trees in small landscapes was first only indulged in by the elite using natively collected specimens. Ancient images from around 700 A.D. show the tiny universes being given as gifts. According to artistic depictions, the practice was adopted by the Japanese around the beginning of the 14th century. But the Japanese style focused only on trees instead of on full landscapes. In fact, “bonsai, ” the Japanese word for the craft, means “a tree This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Seven Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Arts & Culture Music Issue 19 On a Grander Scale Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna now may live on the opposite side of the globe, but she’s determined to evolve while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Neighborhood: Fire Stations The firefighting profession has evolved over time from Ancient Rome’s rudimentary bucket brigades to today’s sleek life-saving departments.