Su Yiji, executive vice-president of Bonsai Club International, said bonsai originated in China, not Japan as believed in Europe and American countries.
Su said Monday he saw a bonsai fossil dating back 10,000 years in Shanghai, which indicated China's long history of bonsai.
"I also saw bonsai on a painting dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), featuring a woman carrying a bonsai," he said.
Bonsai -- the art of growing miniature trees -- actually spread to Japan from China at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and later to Europe and American countries from Japan, he said.
So many people did not know the history of bonsai at that time that the English word "bonsai" was taken from the Japanese word, he added.
Su was at Chencun Village in Shunde City in Guangdong Province, south China for a ceremony marking the city's win in hosting the 2006 World Bonsai Exhibition.
The village defeated 13 cities in other countries last May in bidding for the right to host the exhibition in 2006.
About 1,467 ha of cultivated land in the village, or about half of the total, is devoted to horticulture, making it China's biggest producer and trading center of potted flowers.
Annual sales for the village totaled one billion yuan (US$1.21 million).
(Xinhua News Agency August 27, 2002)