One of the most asked questions in front of a bonsai is: “how old is it?”.
To say the truth the age of a bonsai isn’t that important, there are other factors determining its value, however a really old tree has its charm. To be in front of a 600 years old bonsai is touching.
One of the aesthetic principles of bonsai art is, on the opposite of women, to show much more years than it actually is. The actual age of a bonsai isn’t a good standard of judging.
Bonsai cultivation is faster than nature, a bonsai master uses all of his mastery to gain that ancient look for his tree. This means a bonsai should be judged for the maturity it definitely shows, not for the age it is.
If the age were so significant as some say, nobody would start new bonsai because the minimum time required to mature them would be too much. As I already said, the sense of the time for the bonsai cultivator is different, but that doesn’t mean he has to patiently wait his entire life to see his bonsai “finished”.
A bonsai is never “finished” being a living creature constantly evolving. It is true a bonsai will reach its beauty year after year, but it’s also true this process can be accelerated without betraying the Zen philosophy behind it.
In every case, when talking about bonsai, nothing is fast, even if it is artificially accelerated.
A fast aging recipe doesn’t exist – and should never exist – but there are a lot of techniques, developed during centuries, good to produce that artifact of nature the bonsai is.