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This book tells the awe-inspiring stories of bonsai and penjing trees in the collection of the National Arboretum in Washington D.C. It details their valuable role in international diplomacy and as instruments of American presidential influence. It also describes their inclusion in world's fair exhibitions, in Asian-inspired gardens around the country, and as a window onto the extensive cultivation of bonsai in North America today. An extensive first-hand account by Dr. John L. Creech is included about the first extraordinary gift of 53 bonsai from Japan to the U.S. in 1976 which prompted the founding of the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Bonsai & Penjing, Ambassadors of Beauty and Peace describes how Chinese penjing and North American bonsai were later added to the Museum, making its collection the most comprehensive in the world. Stories of individual trees and forest plantings are featured, as are the roles played by the skilled and talented creators of these living art forms—people such as John Naka, Saburo Kato, Yuji Yoshimura, Harry Hirao, and Dr. Yee-Sun Wu. Armchair travelers can experience what a visit to the Museum is like, including the discovery of its remarkable viewing stones. Bonsai & Penjing, Ambassadors of Beauty and Peace will delight anyone intrigued by these living works of art and curious about the stories they bring to life.
"The ultimate truth, for anyone who takes the time to contemplate one of these works of art, is one's personal emotional response, something experienced by every member of the production team for this book. Now it's your turn!" -- Danielle Ouellet The Montr?al Botanical Garden's collections of bonsai and penjing are among the best in North America, including more than 350 trees, some dating from the 17th century. For the first time, these stylized horticultural creations have been brought together in a single volume, illuminating the evolution of the aesthetic tradition of this Asian artform. Featuring beautifully rendered photographs of many of the miniature trees in the collection, Bonsai - Penjing: The Collections of the Montr?al Botanical Garden offers an up-close view of these extraordinary specimens. Miniaturized reflections of their natural environment, these works of horticultural art translate the world views of bonsai and penjing masters from different philosophical traditions. In a few instances, they integrate contemporary North American vision of the ancient Asian traditions. Author Danielle Ouellet interviewed many of the artists who created these works, in some instances travelling to Asia to meet with some of world's contemporary masters of the art form. As a result, she brings alive an historical portrait of the art form, its underlying aesthetic principles, and an understanding of how to view and interpret the captivating living culptures of the Bonsai and Penjing traditions.
With hundreds of color photographs and illustrations, this Chinese gardening book is a wonderful introduction to penjing—China's treasured bonsai art. Although most people thing bonsai is a Japanese invention, the art originated in ancient China where it is called penjing. The two Chinese characters for penjing ("pot" and "landscape") capture the essence of this art: sculpting microcosms of the beauty of the natural world from plants, rocks, soil, and water, both as an artistic process and as horticultural cultivation. Both penjing and bonsai are art forms that express the beauty of nature. In China, bonsai, as a part of penjing, is often called "tree penjing," or "tree in a pot." The Chinese divide penjing into three categories: tree penjing, rock penjing, and water-and-land penjing. This Chinese gardening book showcases the Chinese art of penjing in all its aspects for the benefit of penjing aficionados and all other readers interested in Chinese culture. It covers the concept, history, categories, aesthetic features, techniques, display, appreciation, and preservation of penjing. It is a feast for the eyes while providing a wealth of information for the academically inclined as well as the practically minded. There are more than 300 lavish illustrations grouped into three different categories of penjing. The reader will not only be awed by the beautiful compositions of penjing, but will also learn about the Chinese approach to nature and to life.

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