Thursday, June 17, 2010

Penjing at the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland

Before the Japanese were cultivating their bonsai creations the Chinese had invented penjing-the art of making tiny landscapes in a pot or on a tray. If you live or happen to be in Portland the Lan Su Chinese Garden (formerly known as the Portland Classical Chinese Garden) has an exhibit called "Landscapes in Miniature" this Father's Day weekend. Several penjing masters will be on site showing off their stuff and you can also purchase a penjing to take home-look for the little clay miniature people the penjing artists call "mudmen."

Try to pay a little attention to the pruning techniques while you can learn them from the people who do it right so you don't end up with a hacked up cistus. But for the Edward Scissorhands of the crowd there are penjing that don't have trees you have to care for-these are called "shanshui penjing" and they tend to depict more of a mountain or water theme. Zai Jain.

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