Penjing Master Zhao Qingquan's long awaited Literati Style Penjing, Chinese Bonsai Masterworks has arrived and is available at Stone Lantern. At a glance, we'll give it five stars. Upon further examination, we'll still give it five stars.
I haven’t been this excited about a new bonsai book for a long time. The problem is, we have been writing copy for so long that we’ve exhausted all the superlatives; sometimes on books that don’t begin to measure up to this one. So, instead of saying much more, we’ll just borrow from the publisher:
… the Japanese art of creating miniature trees, actually originated in China, where it’s called penjing. Penjing, meaning “tray scenery,” is a traditional Chinese art of creating miniature potted landscapes including trees and other plants. Brought from China to Japan in ancient times before spreading to the West, bonsai/penjing is now popular throughout the world.
“In China, the art of creating miniature landscapes has evolved in several different ways. Literati Style Penjing: Chinese Bonsai Masterworks focuses on a special category of penjing associated with traditional Chinese culture, such as the painting of the literati, or elite scholar-bureaucrats, of imperial China. Like literati ink paintings, this style of penjing has a subtle elegance distinguished by a lone, lean trunk with sparse foliage exhibiting distinct lines and simplicity….”(continued below)
This image and the two just below are from Zhao's Literati Style Penjing, Chinese Bonsai Masterworks.
“The term “literati style penjing” has been widely accepted by the bonsai community and is becoming more common within the bonsai world. It is well suited to melding concepts from Chinese painting, poetry and Zen into a stunning bonsai work, making it of interest to a wide variety of gardening styles.
Literati Style Penjing; Chinese Bonsai Masterworks explains the concept of penjing with a literati bent, exploring its rich history and aesthetics, as well as cultivation techniques, and care and maintenance. It includes 12 examples of literati style penjing creations, which incorporate a deep knowledge of the art form together with practical creativity and artistic beauty.”
“Lovers of bonsai will find much to inspire and delight within these pages.
Zhao Qingquan is a master of the Chinese art of penjing, a Senior Landscape Engineer, an International Bonsai Instructor at Bonsai Clubs International, and an International Consultant for the World Bonsai Friendship Federation. He is currently on the staff of the Penjing Museum of the Slender West Lake Garden.”
“Zhao’s passion for penjing began at an early age under the influence of his family, and he later received training under the penjing expert, Professor Xu Xiaobai. In Zhao’s four-decade long career, he has focused on the fusion of traditional Chinese culture and contemporary aesthetic sensibilities, and in the 1970s, he pioneered a new form known as the water-and-land penjing.”
Zhao Qingquan's other great Penjing book. On special at Stone Lantern