Chinese Penjing and Landscape Paintings

Jul 22nd, 2010 | By | Category: Style

It is said that Chinese penjing is a landscape painting in three dimensions. Unlike Japanese bonsai, Chinese penjing portrays and recreate a scene we find in nature.

Similar to Chinese poetry and landscape painting which rely on a very limited amount of content to portray a vast scene in the mind of listener/viewer, Chinese penjing uses only a limited number of elements to portray and relive the whole nature scene in the mind of the viewers. Chinese penjing artists adopt many of the principles encountered in traditional landscape painting. They observe the ways trees are rendered in these paintings, and then strive for similar effects in their work.

Chinese Painting - Zhang Da-qian Chinese Painting - Zhang Da-qian Chinese Painting - Zhang Da-qian
Landscape paintings of Zhang Da-qian (張大千) (1899~1983) – one of the best-known and most prodigious Chinese artists of the twentieth century

One of the most pleasing aspects of Chinese penjing is its impressionistic appearance. Penjing, or landscape bonsai, in particular, strongly resemble the brushstroke paintings of the literati and zen schools. The freedom and informality of these compositions have a freshness which is probably unique in the art of penjing. Although penjing artist follow some basic principles and guidelines, no strict rules apply.

The influence of Chinese painting is perhaps most clearly seen in the cascade and literati style of Chinese penjing, which have the most unusual and refreshing quality. The sharp angular shape of the trunk and the sweeping curves of the branches resemble the brushstrokes peculiar to Chinese paintings.

Since Chinese penjing, landscape painting, and poetry are intimately linked, it is important for a penjing artist to study poetry and painting, especially landscape painting in order to create high quality penjing.

Chinese Painting - Tang Yin Chinese Painting - Tang Yin Chinese Painting - Tang Yin
Landscape paintings of Tang Yin(唐寅)aka Tang Bohu (唐伯虎)(1470-1523)- a Chinese scholar, painter, calligrapher, and poet of the Ming Dynasty period

Landscape Bonsai Penjing Landscape Bonsai Penjing
Landscape bonsai / penjing of Zhao Qing Quan (赵庆泉) – one of the best known penjing artists to Western audiences, pioneer of water-and-land penjing (Check out this post – Making My Water-and-Land Penjing (Part 1) to learn how to make a water-and-land penjing)

One Comment to “Chinese Penjing and Landscape Paintings”

  1. idham SnikiZamy says:

    I love bonsai and garden architecture and buildings of classical Chinese

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