Japanese Versus Chinese Style Bonsai

Jo Ann

Seedling
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Since becoming addicted to this art I've found myself more drawn to the older form of chinese bonsai I think the japanese form is very beautiful too but sometimes seems to overly manicured. In my own opinion of course I think the chinese seemed a little more imaginative. Just wondering what others find more appealing? Chinese or Japanese...? Here is one of my favoriste links on chinese bonsai..


http://www.plot55.com/penjing/#penjing

JoAnn
 

Jay Wilson

Shohin
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Hello JoAnn,
I tend to appreciate the chinese look as well. Thanks for the link.
Jay
 
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My teacher has apprenticed and studied extensively in Japan. I like the Chinese style as well but think it requires just as much study to really pull it off well.
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
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Ruling out the stones, try landscapes, and accent plants, if you were to enter any one of the trees shown on this site in a "Bonsai Show" I seriously doubt anyone would be able to say this tree is Penjing and this tree is Bonsai. Maybe it is because our awareness of style has become vastly broadened over the last couple of decades to the point that, our recognition of this being one thing and that being another, is more an arbitrary judgement than an exercise in reality.

One problem I have, and I am the first to admit that it may be more to my own ignorance and lack of concern to go looking for the evidence of what I object to; there seems to be no source of information, or "Penjing book" out there along the lines of John Naka's, or Yuji Yoshimura's books that extrapolate the artistic elements of Penjing or the rules, if any, that apply to the style or form.

I have in the past seen a few "Crappy" trees passed off as Penjing, but the same can be said of the ubiquitous American Style bonsai. If we use this guideline the term "Crappy" would be the only identifiable feature that separates the two, or three styles and I don't buy that. You have brought up a good point that needs to be addressed but is little replied on because most people don't know and those that do wont say; at least that is what I am lead to believe at this point.

If you want to identify a void that needs filling this subject is it.
 

Graydon

Chumono
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Most of the information I have on Penjing was acquired while watching some of Lindsay Farr's World of Bonsai series (www.bonsaifarm.tv). A couple of episodes (#5, #6 and #7) focus almost entirely on Chinese artists, gardens and penjing trees. I'm sure I have missed listing some episodes but it's a start. Many thanks to Lindsay for his efforts in spreading the information of bonsai world wide on the web with his video contributions.

Fantastic style but I'll admit it seems a bit foreign to may eyes after so many years of looking at the classic Japanese style. I admire it enough that I have considered styling one of my pines in the Yangzhou style in penjing. Everything in place on the tree seems to be better suited to this type penjing than any typical bonsai style - especially the exaggerated trunk movements.

The photos are a year old and most of the branches have been moved a bit and some minor chops made to induce some back budding. It's an 'unknown' yatsubusa form of P. thunbergii.
 

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