Did You See This?

Floating Zen

A new invention lets you hang bonsai trees in the air.

The video above introduces a surprising, 21st century wrinkle to an ancient practice. Bonsai creations may date back to the mists of antiquity, but thanks to modern technology, they can now hover in the air like tiny maglev trees. The video alone is enough to soothe a troubled soul.

The tiny plants first arrived in Japan about 1,200 years ago, and by 700 A.D., the Chinese were growing dwarf trees in pun-tsai, or flattened earthenware. Zen Buddhists saw in the trees a chance to create a tiny symbol of nature’s perfection. The Japanese call the meditative practice bonsai, which means “planted in a container.”

And now, a Kickstarter campaign from Hoshinchu Air Bonsai Garden introduces Air Bonsai, which uses magnets to make bonsai trees float in the air.

Air Bonsai has two parts. The “energy base” is a piece of austere imari porcelain containing a set of magnets. The “little star” is a piece of moss with its own magnets, and a piece of foam into which bonsai trees (of up to 300 grams) can be transplanted. The two sets of magnets repel each other, allowing the little star to peacefully hang in the air about two centimeters above the energy base. Zen indeed.

The Kickstarter campaign is already way beyond its original funding goal, but will continue to run until March.