Tuesday, April 25, 2006

penjing

The Chinese aristocracy was the first to create 'artistic' potted plants, called penjing. The Japanese then perfected the penjing concept, creating the bonsai artform. There is debate among some as to which is truly the art, penjing, or bonsai. Penjing has no rules. Supposedly, the person training the plant trains it to resonate with something within themselves. The Japanese approach is very disciplined, following specific rules. Most people do not notice the difference between penjing and bonsai, but I do. Bonsai are very sculpural, very contained, very balanced in their symmetry/asymmetry. Penjing are almost exhuberant in comparison. They are 'imperfect'--they look more, well, natural. There are times I am more drawn to bonsai, others times, to penjing. Below is one of the penjing from my visit to the Chinese Garden this weekend. The background is an outdoor 'room' with wooden panels inscribed with chinese characters.
Penjing (c) KR Silkenvoice 2006

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