CHINESE PENJING
PORTAL PAGE

signage.jpg (77267 bytes)

       An exposed root Natal Banyan  (Ficus natalensis) named "Benevolent Dragon" represents the Chinese emperor protecting his subjects;  trained utilizing Chinese philosophy concepts.  The Chinese calligraphy is "pun-sai."  The same characters became the Japanese "bon-sai."

            China has the world's oldest civilization and the oldest proof of a form of artistic pot plants.   But the paintings on the tomb walls are nothing like the bonsai of today.    Aristocratic Chinese penjing are also nothing like the commercial bonsai currently being produced in Chinese communes for export. 

                Aristocratic Chinese penjing are the products of a society that no longer exists.  Its leaders had an extra brilliance and others naturally followed.  Most Chinese never had formal schooling opportunities and learned farming or a trade by doing.  Of those that went to school,  only the brightest and most promising advanced to become literate.   Of these,  only the most successful and wealthy had the time and interest to be part of an elite aristocratic society.

                Aristocrats were secure and confident in their status.  They dabbled in many of the Chinese cultural arts including penjing.  They were "generalists" who weren't especially concerned about details.  They enjoyed growing plants in pots for their own amusement and growing an "ugly weird tree" was appropriate as it was a great conversation subject with visiting friends.  To try to give a flavor,  we invented two rules:

            PENJING RULE #1:  "SMILE!"  Penjing is an art and a hobby to be enjoyed.  When you smile,  your mind opens up,  you create,  and you enjoy!
 
            PENJING RULE #2:   "DON'T LET ANYONE MAKE UP ANY MORE RULES!"
bnvltdragon2.jpg (36860 bytes)
UNDERSTANDING PENJING STYLING CONCEPTS
      Penjing is totally different in concept from Japanese bonsai!  It's based upon a totally different styling concept.  "Benevolent Dragon" gives insights.
ABScoverWinter95.jpg (59201 bytes)
ARISTOCRATIC PENJING PRINCIPLES & PHILOSOPHY
      Several forms of penjing are stylistic craft. Here are just four of the aristocratic Chinese art principles that make it exciting and unpredictable!
Dancing princess #1.jpg (15286 bytes)
YING PENJING; elegant concepts       
        There are masculine and feminine forms of penjing.   Stout powerful forms contrasting with elegant rhythms. 
Podocarpus 273 rearranging 72dpi 4x3.jpg (63099 bytes)
         Styling bonsai is the greatest challenge and there are many forms of inspiration.  Japanese bonsai tend to replicate codified styles.  "Nature's Bonsai" enhances and builds upon old knarled collected specimens that already have character.  The podocarpus trees in our collection are trained to illustrate Chinese styling influences.
wpe5.jpg (17948 bytes)
OLD CHINESE HOMES
          Four photos of old Chinese homes give an insight into the differences between the Japanese and Chinese cultures and the differances between bonsai and penjing!
MLP Wu photo.jpg (30568 bytes)
YEE-SUN WU; The Spirit of Man Lung Penjing!
         More than any other individual, Hong Kong's Yee-Sun Wu introduced Chinese penjing to a world centered on Japanese bonsai. He added new applications to older techniques and these were the basis from which Fuku-Bonsai's training methods developed.  A member of Fuku-Bonsai's International Honor Roll.
YEE-SUN WU MEMORIAL TRIBUTE
         Yee-sun Wu passed away on May 11, 2005 at the age of 100.  This tribute recaps and recognizes the unprecedented contribution that he single-handedly made to share the aristocratic penjing art with the world!       
BIBA'S 25TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW
         The July 2006 show honored Yee-sun Wu.  The article was submitted and published by Bonsai Clubs International in their Oct-Dec 2006 magazine.
TROPICAL PENJING LECTURE-DEMONSTATION HONORS YEE-SUN WU  At BIBA'S 25th Anniversary show, the lecture-demonstration featured a Jaboticaba trained utilizing the philosophy of Yee-sun Wu.

 

Contrarian 3.jpg (38186 bytes)
THEME STYLING: "Contrarian"
        Styling based upon a theme is a major penjing concept.  What makes this tree unique?  How can that uniqueness be repeated, emphasized, and utilized to create a truly unique bonsai?
PenjingVertLandscp2Back.jpg (12465 bytes)
PENJING PANORAMIC LANDSCAPES
         The Chinese produce the full range of "landscapes" from a miniature desktop "Rock & Water" arrangement (with no plants), to tray penjing, to courtyard atriums, to urban estate gardens, to full-size Imperial Gardens. Their close-up rock plantings, middle view tray landscapes, and vast panoramic arrangements explore the full range. Here's a small vertical and horizontal sample.
Liew1Walter.jpg (27008 bytes)
WALTER & ANN LIEW'S DRAGON GARDEN!
        Hawaii is fortunate to have this outstanding scholar-artist!  If you'll be visiting Honolulu,   call ahead and plan to spend a day with Walter at the Hawaii Bonsai Culture Center.   You'll leave with a whole new bonsai perspective and a better understanding of Chinese history and philosophy!
Liew II Walter Ann 900 yr old doll.jpg (19742 bytes)
REVISITING THE DRAGON GARDEN!
        It's always a pleasure to visit Walter and Ann and it's wonderful that they are making great progress!
Book review & recommendation:  
THE LIVING ART OF BONSAI by Walter Liew
     Very few bonsai books are written by those who created large personal collections over a 50-year period.  The most notable were books by John Yoshio Naka,  Saburo Kato, and Yee-Su Wu. Each of these masters had something original to say. Add to this short list the recently published book by Hawaii's bonsai-penjing master Walter Liew!    (Nov. 19, 2007)
  ***  Return to Index       *** Go to next section          ***  Go to Mail-order section
              FUKUBONSAI.COM       Fuku-Bonsai