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Penjing: Worlds of Wonderment: A Journey Exploring an Ancient Chinese Art and Its History, Cultural Background, and Aesthetics Hardcover – September, 1997

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0965529709 ISBN-10: 0965529703 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Penjing is the Chinese art of creating miniature landscapes in containers. In this fascinating and beautiful book, internationally acclaimed penjing artist Zhao first looks at the historical and cultural background of the art and discusses its development during various Chinese dynasties. The three types of penjing?tree, landscape, and water and land?are illustrated in three individual chapters; concluding chapters cover artistic renderings and display. Excellent examples of the art are given in a 24-page gallery of the author's work, with an additional 244 color photographs, 18 line drawings, a guide to Chinese pronunciation, and a chronology of Chinese dynasties rounding out the book. The lack of information on penjing makes this work a valuable addition to public and academic libraries.?Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama Lib., Florence
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Venus Communications LLC; 1st edition (September 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965529703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965529709
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 12 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,124,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kent Turner on January 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most beautiful books you'll ever see. If you don't know what Penjing is, you're in for a real treat. Think of Bonsai; those small oriental trees. Then imagine a Chinese landscape painting represented with these small living trees as well as with rocks, moss, etc. If you are already familiar with Penjing, you will love this book for it's inspirational quality. Quingquan Zhao has masterfully composed all the dramatic pieces in this colorful book. The large, full color pictures are good enough to frame and hang on the wall. The naturally inspiring beauty of the images make this book a great candidate for a coffee table book. Techniques and descriptions given are very useful to beginners and intermediate Penjing artists, and perhaps even seasoned veterans will find something new and useful. This book is directed towards creating and displaying Penjing, with accent on the artistic aspects rather than the technical. Less attention is given to their care and maintainance. One of the treasures of my library!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Succinctly descriptive thoughts on the cultural, philosophical and aesthetical perceptions of the living relationships between stone, water, plants and earth, examined both in the big context of nature and in the smaller, representative context of Penjing. This book is never a remote dirge and never from a remote master. Words herein flow from an active artist. The simple knowledge of years is put forth for all. A balance of engaging photos and words on all of the pages, with scenes of nature, gardens, Penjing, historical art and with no shortage of "how to" instructions both in visual and in word forms. Also contains a brief pronunciation guide and a chronology of Chinese dynasties.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Linda Bruder on May 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a beginner, this book not only led me through the entire process of penjing but it taught me the philosophy of the art. I love the pictures....beautiful scenery of China as well as Chinese gardens. A great gift to share with EVERYONE who loves plants!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Shellie on July 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It is a little known fact that the Chinese and not the Japanese invented Bonsai, which in China is called Penjing. With a rich history dating back over 2000 years Penjing is one of China's most esteemed traditional art forms, along with Gongshi (scholar's rocks) and landscape gardens amongst others. It is an art form steeped in mysticism, poetry and philosophy that was borne of a deeply felt love for the majestic Chinese landscape. Long the exclusive domain of the literati and scholarly classes, bureaucrats, monks and the aristocracy, Penjing sadly fell out of favour in its homeland during the tumultuous last quarter of the 19th Century. As with much Chinese art and architecture of the period many prime and irreplaceable examples were tragically destroyed; thus by the beginning of the early 20th Century it had become a little known and under practiced form of art, and in almost total obscurity it languished that way for most of that century.

Hence in the West the limelight has almost exclusively fallen on its younger and more famous Japanese cousin Bonsai. This is quite understandable since most Westerners working in the field have been trained in the art of Bonsai; and most if not all English language books, journals or magazines on the subject have been focused on Bonsai as well. Unfortunately this obsession with Bonsai by most Western enthusiasts has resulted in an almost total ignorance of Penjing's very existence; and for those who have been aware of Penjing it was commonly viewed as a trifle footnote to the historical development of Bonsai, and arrogantly dismissed or belittled. Penjing in Western countries has for too long been considered a rather unimportant and even irrelevant curiosity.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 20, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Who would have thought that rocks and bonsai, combined into Chinese style landscapes, could be luscious, and sensual? This is a gorgeous, gorgeous book, on a rarely-seen, elegant art form. Extensive plates, good description.
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