(bonsai, bonseki, bonkei, saikei, penjing, pentsai, suiseki)

Pre-1800, Part I


       The following is a partially detailed and definitely ongoing listing of the currently twenty-six known works published prior to the year 1800 which are said to contain references to dwarf potted trees, miniature landscapes, viewing stones, and related art forms.  In addition to these books, there exist a number of poems and essays on similar topics which have not yet been associated with a specific volume.  At some point these will be linked to this web site as part of the Magical Miniature Landscapes history project.
       These titles were primarily gotten from various specialty books.  On a continuing basis, the titles and authors are then cross-checked in other works and on the Internet to get additional details.  Probably the ideal will be to have the appropriate tree or stone reference in English here.  So far Tsurezuregusa (#7 below) is the only complete translation which RJB has actually seen.  Some of the other references are detailed enough/from credible enough sources to make do.
       For Western mentions, especially prior to 1910, please see Travellers.
       Author and setting details are given at length to better put these works in historical perspective.
       In the Chinese works below, the first listing of the author, title and any key terms is given in the newer style pinyin format.  The older style Romanizations follow in braces {in color}. (If any of the pinyin renderings are incorrect, please e-mail

Language Prefix:
" JA "   Japanese
" ZH "   Chinese

Subject Code:   penjing and its forms, viewing stones, bonsai and its Japanese predecessors

       "The culture of artistic pot plants is an artistic pursuit of the Chinese people.  It dates back to ancient Chinese history, for it is described in the literary writings of the Jin { T'sin }(265-420) and the Tang (618-906) Dynasties and some people even say that this art dates further back to the period between the Han (206 BC -220 AD) and the Wei (220-265) Dynasties." (Wu Yee-sun, 2/10/71 talk, "Artistic Pot Plants - Bonsai," Bonsai, BCI, October 1971, pg. 14; but see also Anomalies)

ZH       Guo Tuotuo    Zhong Shu Shu (The Cultivating of Trees / The Book on the Art of Planting Trees) { Kuo t’o t’o / Chung Shu Shu }, 7th or 8th century.  Three volumes dealing with cereals, vegetables, fruits, and trees include information on pruning and propagation.   Guo was a villager experienced in husbandry and his village of Feng-lo was situated near and to the west of the vicinity of the capital.  His true name is unknown: Tuotuo ("camel") was his pseudonym because of his humped back.  It is also said that he was an outstanding expert and innovator in dwarfed potted tree culture, some of which is described in this work. 
      Tang dynasty literatus Liu Zongyuan { Liu Tsung-yüan } (773-819) popularized him in his Biography of the Gardener Guo Tuotuo.  Liu was born in or near Changan { Ch'ang-an } , the large and many-faceted Tang capital in Shaanxi province having a population of between one and two million people, the hub of all East Asia. After a highly successful early career in civil government, he was reassigned to a minor post in Hunan Province following the abdication of Emperor Shunzong { Shun-tsung } in 805.  A decade later, he was banished even farther away, to the ethnic minorities area of what is today Guangxi province in south central China.  He was governor there for four years, and a temple and tomb was built in his honor in Liuzhou, west of Guangdong province.  His works in the capital were bureaucratic in nature, while those in exile are considered to be his finest.  Throughout his life, his most cherished dream was to be a public servant who did good for the livelihood of the people.  His participation in the Confucian revival movement largely represented his effort to compensate for his inability to fulfill such a wish.  He did not choose to be an intellectual champion of the Confucian cause, but rather, was forced to be one by circumstances.  Liu would be regarded by history as a fine prose stylist and a political opportunist.  He played an important role in making possible a process that resulted in the formation of Neo-Confucianism.  His works showed synthesis of both Daoism and Buddhism (which was then sweeping across China).  He is particularly known for his allegorical writings and for his Aesop-like fables about animals.  The Liu family's fortunes declined later and his descendants lived south of the Nanling Mountains which separate Central China from South China.
      "The most notable of these [model agriculturists from the past] was the pseudonymous author of the Book of Planting Trees (Zhong-shu shu), who took his name from Liu Zongyuan's (773-819) allegory 'Biography of the Gardener Guo Tuotuo' (Guo Tuotuo zhuan)."
      According to Liu's allegorical sketch, "Biography of Camel Kuo, the Gardener," Camel Kuo was known throughout the area for his green thumb, "and all the great and wealthy residents of Ch’ang-an who planted trees for their enjoyment or lived off the sale of their fruit would compete for the favour of his services."  No tree that Kuo planted ever failed to thrive.  Asked for the secret of his success, Kuo replied that he allowed the trees to grow according to nature.  He did not try to cramp [sic] or crowd them, but treated them with a sort of benign neglect.  "When a tree is planted its roots should have room to breathe, its base should be firmed, the soil it is in should be old, and the fence around it should be close.  When you have it this way, then you must neither disturb it nor worry about it, but go away and not come back."  In this fable Liu stated his theory of laissez-faire government.  The good official has little to do except act as an example for his people.  He does not bother his "constituency" with commands to do what they ordinarily would or with other bureaucratic tortures.
  Note: there is no particular internal indication that the trees in this fable were specifically dwarfed or potted.
      Guo was Liu's servant and was good at planting trees and growing flowers.  He handed on his horticultural skills to his grandson -- who then happened to support Liu's grandson by growing trees and flowers.  The latter, a brilliant scholar and man of learning, had passed the imperial examination at county level, but found that there was no opening for an official career.  Though the two men had adequate simple food all year round, it was no life for the learned scholar.  Low in spirits the young man often passed time by sleeping in the daytime.
      "This work [Zhong Shu Shu] is not known from extant copies.  It is known through Ku Chin T'u Shu Chi Ch'eng [Gu Jin Tu Shu Ji Cheng], published in 1726.  This latter work, a compendium of Chinese knowledge, is one of the most monumental publishing tasks ever achieved.  It was produced in moveable type and is reputed to contain 852,408 pages (Giles 1911).  Unlike Western encyclopaedias, it is not a synthesis; rather, it is a collation of previously published work, and, for example, contains the work by Guo Tuotuo."

ZH       Tao Gu    Qing-i-lu { T'ao Ku (c.902-970) / Ch’ing-i-lu } , c.965.  A Northern Song dynasty collection of expressions from the Tang and Five Dynasties (618 - 960) and arranged by subject matter.  Includes two particular stories: about a malachite rock which resembled a mountain, was purchased for a thousand pieces of gold, and was made into a bo-shan incense burner, and also about a little model of Mount Li (the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di, d.207 B.C.E. ).  For the latter the landscape, houses, people, animals, forests, bridges, and highways were all represented in detail in Borneo camphor wood. 2

ZH       Li Jie   Yingzao fashi ( Building Method / Building Standards ) { Li Chieh (1035-1110) / Ying-tsao fa-shih } ; 1103-06.  This illustrated work in thirty-four chapters deals in encyclopedic fashion with all branches of architecture: layout, construction, stonework, carpentry, bracketing, decoration, materials, and labor, from the first to the 11th centuries.  It became a standard text and was influential in spreading the most advanced techniques of the time of its first publication.  The author/editor was the vice director -- and later the director -- of construction in the court of the Huizong emperor (reigned 1101-1125) of the Song dynasty.  The compilation of Yingzao fashi actually took some thirty years, under the sponsorship of three emperors.  Shenzong had initiated it as one of many imperial undertakings during the New Policies reform, and its first draft was finished in 1091.  In 1097 Zhezong commanded the imperial architect Li Jie to compile an up-to-date and more comprehensive version of the work.  The new manual was completed and presented to the throne in 1100 and finally printed for distribution under the imperial auspices of Huizong in 1103.  Li’s stated goals were to reduce corruption and to introduce standards in architectural construction; his audience appeared to be both the officials who commissioned buildings and the builders who built them. The manual covers a range of topics, from foundations to painted ornament to the estimation of materials and labor.  The main body of the work specified the units of measurement, design standards and construction principles with structural patterns and building elements illustrated in the drawings.  As one of only two books on architecture surviving from the imperial era, it has been a critical document in the study of Chinese architecture.  In fact, the "discovery" of the Yingzao fashi in 1919 and its subsequent reprintings led directly to the establishment of the field of architectural history in China, and it has remained an important object of research.
       (Because of a long history of use of similar architectural techniques, the lack of any large-scale physical testimony to the actual reality of ancient times in China -- with no equivalent of Roman remains, no medieval castles -- may, in fact, have served to strengthen the Chinese sense of continuity by removing from people's gaze the most powerful proofs of the past's differentness.)
       Yingshao fashi mentions only in passing the building of jia-san
{ chia-san } , artificial mountains, in piled-up stones and clay about two to two and a half meters per side, as well as pen-shan { p'en-shan } , mountains in containers, one to one and a quarter meters per side.  Unfortunately, the work gives neither additional descriptions or illustrations. 3

ZH       Du Wan   Yunlin shipu ( Stone Catalogue of Cloudy Forest / Yunlin Record of Rocks ) { Tu Wan / Yün Lin Shih Pu } ; c. 1126.   Bearing the byname Chi-yang, Du was a descendant of the great Tang poet Du Fu, and a grandson of the illustrious eleventh-century statesman Du Yen.  (Earlier works mentioning rocks did so in a mineralological, pharmaceutical, or alchemical fashion.)  Du Wan's is China's earliest and most comprehensive book about scholars' rocks.  His familiarity with the imperial collection suggests that he himself was an imperial agent.  However, this is not an official catalogue, and it is written in a rather commonplace, mannered prose.
      This work lists a hundred and fourteen different kinds of rocks found in all parts of the country suitable for viewing and admiring.  The origins, characteristics, and methods of excavation of each type of rock are given as well.  "The objects that are the purest quintessence of Heaven and Earth are found among rocks; penetrating the Earth, they take on strange forms...  The big ones are worthy of being set out in a garden; in a house, the little ones are placed on stands or tables."  "The largest of these [Taihu] rocks stand thirty to fifty feet tall; [the best] measure at least several tens of feet in height.  There are some no taller than a foot, which are suitable for standing by a balcony railing.  [Stones of this size] may also be used in constructing artificial mountains (jiashan) which, when set among spacious groves, are a magnificent sight.  There are also exquisite miniatures, which may be placed on a small table (ji'an) for one's pleasure."  Du Wan repeatedly warns connoisseurs to be aware of false Taihu rocks, the prized specimens from the eastern lake.  The stones could be cleaned to remove clay or earth from the surface and deep crevices.  These garden stones might also need to be cut level on the bottom to give them stability.  It was also not an uncommon practice to attach pieces of entirely different minerals to a miniature mountain in order to suggest the appearance of "clouds and vapors, withered trees, and fantastic stones tilted sidewise."  Lingbi rocks [a variety of densely structured limestone, or calcite, rocks retrieved from subterranean quarries at Lingbi in northern Anhui province, favored since the Northern Song period, the best examples being deep black in color, often only lightly textured, their surfaces appearing moist and glossy] "...have to be chiseled, ground and polished to complete their beauty."

map of China

       Almost two-thirds of the catalogue concerns stones used in handicrafts.  Some of the other stones which are most of interest to us are the following:
      #7, Stone of Wu-k'ang in Huzhou (N. Zhejiang): "Flat, layered, without peaks, but much perforated.  Adaptable to bases of artificial mountains."  Small specimens were set on little stands or tables; some were placed in bowls or or other containers.
      #8, Stone of K'un-shan (S. Jiangsu): "Dwarf trees are planted on these, or sweet flags [ Acorus calamus ] are grown in odd spots on them, or else they are placed in containers.  They are much valued by one and all, and people try to buy them from each other."
      #14, Stone of Chiang-chou (N. Jiangxi): "Several different kinds taken from the river and along the shore.  A notable species, finely striated, comes in flat pieces, pierced through with holes...  This kind is often improved by cementing pieces of other rock to it...  'Vertical' varieties of this stone are made into tasteless [sic] miniature gardens, called 'bowl mountains' (pen shan), with the pieces glued in a formal array, like offerings on a Buddhist altar.  These are sold by the natives."
      #15, Stone of Y√ľan (W. Jiangsu): "Corrugate and peaked, with plants growing naturally in fissures like dense groves of trees.  Unfortunately they are not widely known."
      #18, Stone of Yung-k'ang (W. Sichuan): "Chien Shun-shu gave me a specimen which was flat like a board, half an inch thick, and six or seven inches wide.  A steep many-peaked blue-black mountain rose from this white base.  This was named 'Little Plain of the River and Mountain'..."
      #26, Stone of Hsiang-yang (N. Hubei): "Mountain-shaped stones of no great size; not valued by the natives.  Su Chung-kung had a collection mounted on stands in his house..."
      #62, Stone of Ting-chou (N. Hunan) (Limonite nodules, divine stones important in Daoist medicine): "Hollow, purplish-black stones, with many adhering bits of rock.  The interior is filled with yellow earth...  If the cavity is scraped out, they may be used as water flasks, accessory to ink palettes, or as containers for water-grown sweet flags."
      #107, Stone of Hang (Zhejiang) (quartz or calcite?):  White translucent crystals, some sharply pointed like cinnabar.  They are put together into small facsimile mountains."
      #113, Bell Teat Stone (Zhejiang): "...I found a small piece shaped like two dragons with intertwined tails.  They had doubtless been petrified when tinctured by the stalactite stone.  This specimen had several holes in it, in which I planted sweet flags.  Afterwards I gave it to a connoisseur..."
       At least one stone is used as an incense burner, "There are high peaks and holes [in a stone from Ch'ang-shan] that communicate through twists and turns.  At the bottom is a communication hole in which one may set up a two-story incense burner.  [If one lights it,] it is as though clouds were buffeting each other among the summits."  These highly prized, rare stones also gave rise to a trade that made them available only to the rich: "These stones [#13, ying-shih] come from overseas.  Few of the merchants of Liao [dynasty ruling in northern China and Manchuria] know them.  But Shan-ku [studio name of Huang T'ing-chien, 1045-1105] says that the prefect of Hsiang-chiang spent ten thousand pieces of gold to import some."  "On another stone, with cracks above and below, there grew in the crevices a wonderfully luxuriant dwarf vegetation... It looked exactly like T'ai-shan [the mountain famous above all others, for from this mountain all creatures emerged at their birth and to this mountain they all return at death]...  The villagers had set it up as a god in their rice fields, and it was forbidden to sow seed in it.  I really regret not being able to carry it off."
       The scholar's appreciation of rocks linked to their medicinal or alchemical uses was only rarely cited here, replaced by concentration on the aesthetic properties.
       Ming and Qing "stone catalogues" would frequently imitate the phraseology of Du Wan, whose book had by then come to be regarded as a classic.
       U.S.-only-access digitalized copy from 1921 edition here.

ZH       Wu Zimu    Meng Liang lu ( Memoirs of Ling'an ) { Wu Tzu-mu / Meng-liang-lu } , 1275.  Wu was a scholar and native of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province who wrote this work which has some twenty chapters on all aspects of life in that city.
      "The intense commercial activity, the extreme density of population, and the constant influx of visitors explain why there were so many places where inhabitants and travellers alike could eat, meet and amuse themselves.  The town boasted a multitude of restaurants, hotels, taverns and tea-houses, and houses where there were singing-girls.  The rich met at Hangchow's celebrated tea-houses.  Wealthy merchants and officials came there to learn to play various musical instruments.  The décor was sumptuous, with displays of flowers, dwarf evergreens, and works by celebrated painters and calligraphers to tempt the passers-by..." (XVI,1, p. 262)
       "The fashionable taverns were to be found, as were no doubt the big tea-houses also, in one-storeyed houses which did not give directly on to the street, but on to a courtyard which covered arcades.  The garish décor made up in gaiety what it lacked in restraint: red and green balustrades, purple and green blinds, crimson and gilt lanterns, flowers and dwarf trees, elegantly-shaped chairs..." (XVI,2, p. 263)
       "A few days before the Festival of the Dead [which was fixed on the 105th day after the winter solstice, fifteen days after the spring equinox, approx. April 5th], the new wine was celebrated.  This festival was organized by the staff of the storehouses for alcoholic licquor...  Troups of dancers and musicians were hired, and a picturesque procession went through the city.  It was headed by huge banners nearly ten yards long on enormous poles each carried by four or five men.  Then came drums and musicians, men in pairs carrying heavy jars of rice-wine, eight persons disguised as Taoist Immortals, and representatives of the guilds: sellers of pet fish, of sweet cakes, of noodles, of cooked food, of dwarf trees, money-changers, fishermen, hunters, etc.  Groups of little boys and girls followed them, with five-stringed guitars in their hands.  The procession, with men on horseback bringing up the rear, made its way to the prefecture, where the participants received from authorities pieces of cloth, copper coins, banknotes and silver cups." (II, 5, p. 149)
      Merchants, artisans and members of all professions were grouped into guilds.  They often corresponded to the actual grouping together of certain trades in particular districts of the city.  Each one was presided over by a 'head' or a 'dean,' and they exercised a general control over their members, came to the aid of those in need or who had no family, and insisted upon each member's absolute integrity.  Since the guilds were religious associations of a kind, or at least associations modelled on the same pattern, they had their annual feast-days in honour of their patron saints, who might be legendary beings or deified heroes.  On such occasions, the members met together for a banquet, towards which each member contributed his quota, and they exhibited their chefs-d'oeuvre.  One of the principal advantages of forming trade guilds was that they provided merchants and artisans with a means of regulating their relations with the State.  It was to the heads of the guilds that government authorities applied when making requisitions of any kind, whether of goods from the shops or of artisans from the workshops.  In this way, official intermediaries ensured that fair prices and fair wages were paid.
       Thus, to supply the needs of the tea-houses in this 18-20 square km. capital city of over a million souls, there were several individuals involved in providing "dwarf trees" and they were numerous enough to form a guild which was specifically mentioned in this detailed work about the city during the final years of the Southern Sung dynasty.  At the time, Hangchow was the largest and richest city in the world and, in many spheres, Chinese civilization was at its most brilliant.  In 1276 Hangzhou would be captured by the Mongols and the whole of China would be occupied for the first time in her history.  This was also the city where Marco Polo stayed for a considerable length of time during the years 1276-1292.  During his stay the city, which he called Quinsai, had not greatly changed from the slightly earlier reports.

Plan of Hangchow in 1274, from Gernet, pg. 24

      In 1126, the barbarian Ju-chen horsemen had taken the Sung capital, present-day Kaifeng in Henan province, and the exodus south began.  The Emperor and three thousand court members were taken into captivity.  A prince who had escaped proclaimed himself Emperor at Nanjing in Jiangsu Province (almost 560 km. southeast of Kaifeng) the following year, and fled further eastward and southward before the nomad invasion.  Some ten years after the fall of Kaifeng and having already stopped there a few times, the Emperor fixed his choice on Hangzhou (about 240 km. south-southeast of Nanjing).  Considerably distant from areas threatened by invasion, the small town initially had only the charm and attractiveness of its scenery to recommend it.  Once chosen, the advantages of this geographical situation midway between the Yangtze River and south-east coast revealed themselves.  Yet it would be at least another decade before the court decided that the town of less than two hundred thousand inhabitants was probably more than a temporary way station.  Over the next century and a quarter, the actual size of the city would grow little and most of the increased accommodations would be via additional storeys on houses and other buildings and occupation of all open spaces.  The West Lake, championed two centuries earlier by Su Tung-p'o, was just outside the city walls -- to the west, of course -- and was a very popular site for the large population's leisure time.  The Che River runs south and east of the city a short ways into the small Hangzhou Bay, which then empties into the Yellow Sea.
      The period of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in China occupies the same place as the Western Renaissance, not the least reason for which was the development of printing.  The technique of printing in China, begun in both Buddhist and Daoist monastic communities, was later developed by the laity during the ninth and tenth centuries.  By the thirteenth century, Hangzhou was celebrated for its makers of jewely, children's toys, gold brocades, and printed books.  There was also during this time a return to the past that was accompanied by a general sense of renewal in the spheres of art, of music, of literature and of thought.  Archaeological discoveries aroused the passions of art-experts and art-lovers with the discovery of antique bronzes and jades in Honan province.  Catalogues, encyclopedias and treatises appeared which dealt with a wide variety of topics: monographs on curious rocks [sic, above?], on jades, on coins, on inks, on bamboos, on plum-trees, on li-chees, on oranges, on mushrooms, on different varieties of flowers, on fishes and crabs; treatises on painting and calligraphy; geographical works, some of which dealt with foreign lands; and also the first general and unofficial histories of China.  It had also been possible to transfer most of the collection of the greatest works of art in China from the official Academy of Painting in Kaifeng to Hangzhou.  Thus, the style favored by the Academy's founder, Emperor Huizong (r. 1101-1125), continued to enjoy the same prestige in the capital of South China during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
       Jasmine in pots which came by sea from the provinces of Fujian and Guangdong were another celebrated product to be found in the shops in the center of Hangzhou.  Also of note to us here was the existence of a great factory, in the southern end of the city situated within the precincts of the Imperial Palace, which supplied the court with the finest celadon ceramics that have ever been made, some of which were for export.  We do not know if any of these may have housed a particularly fine early dwarf tree.

ZH       Zhao Xigu    Dongtian qinglu ji ( Towering Mountains, Green Plains / Conspectus of Criticism of Antiques / Record of the Pure Registers of the Cavern or Grottoed Heaven ) { Chao Hsi-ku (1170-1242) / Tung-t'ien-ch'ing-lu chi } , c. late 12th cent/early 13th cent.  This work set the pattern for the much larger texts of this type which would be published about four centuries later.  Zhao was a member of the Sung Imperial house and thus presumably well acquainted with the imperial collection.  The work has ten sections, covering classical zithers (guqin), old inkstones (guyan), antique bronze ritual vessels (guzhong ding yiqi), fantastic or curious rocks (guaishi), table screens (yanping), brush rests (bige), water vessels for the desk (shuidi), old manuscripts and calligraphy (guhanmo zhenji), antique and modern rubbings of stone inscriptions (gujin shike), and old paintings (guhua).  This mix of antique and contemporary items is what sets this work apart from the larger number of purely antiquarian texts produced at the same time.  This art critic introduced techniques for miniature landscape creation in the chapter "Guai Shi (Grotesque or Fantasy Rocks)."  "Sung Dynasty bonsai [sic] were divided into 'tree scene' and 'mountain and river landscape' styles; both are fully depicted in the book...  The bonsai plant and stone arrangements therein featured very elaborate designs and were creations rich in poetic inspiration.  Among them, the Northern Sung drawing entitled 'Eighteen Scholars' is the most renowned."  Zhao notes that the quintessential Song literatus Su Shi (hao Dongpo; 1036-1101) once owned a rock known as Grottoed Heaven Stone (Xiaoyou dongtian shi), under which he positioned a xianglu censer (concealed in an otherwise undescribed stand, zuo) so as to watch the smoke waft through openings in the rock like clouds filling mountain ravines.  Zhao's text does not appear to have been widely disseminated until the Ming dynasty.  At that time it was sometimes confused with a different, corrupted text called the Dongtian qinglu, attributed to Zhao Xigu, but containing many Ming-dynasty anachronisms. 6

JA       Kenko Yoshida   Tsurezuregusa (Essays in Idleness), c.1331 (though the earliest surviving text dates from a century later).  Two volumes.  This book has ranked as a classic ever since the seventeenth century when detailed commentaries began to appear and the work was adopted as a basic element in educating the young.  It is in one sense a manual of gentlemanly conduct and breeding.  Taken as a model of Japanese prose, it remains an essential part of the school curriculum.  Allusions to Kenko's writings are found in plays, novels, and poetry, and over one hundred editions with commentaries were published in the two decades that followed 1945 alone. Tsurezuregusa is a central work in the development of Japanese taste.
        From Chapter 154, this specific reference: "Once when Suketomo [1290-1332, a courtier of the Emperor Go-Daigo] was taking shelter from the rain at the gate of the Tō-ji [a large temple south of Kyoto] , a crowd of cripples assembled there.  All were deformed: some had twisted arms or legs, others were bent backwards.  Suketomo, noticing their strange appearance, thought, 'Each is a unique oddity.  They really are worth preserving.'  He gazed at them for a while, but before long the pleasure of the sight wore off, and he found them ugly and repulsive.  He thought, 'The best things are the most ordinary and least conspicuous.'  When he had returned home he realized that his recent [sic] fondness for potted plants and the pleasure he had taken especially in finding curiously twisted specimens was of the same order as his interest in the cripples.  His pleasure was gone, he dug up all the potted plants and threw them away.  This was quite understandable." 
        For all the value of Tsurezuregusa, this criticism of the art of dwarfing potted trees was not taken to heart by the Japanese.  Possibly this was due to the continuing development of the trees' culture itself.  (Perhaps the Japanese growers did take this criticism to heart eventually and developed much more natural looking trees...)  And perhaps Suketomo, and Kenko himself, represents the average persons of their day -- or our day -- never knowing that appreciation for these plants and their care requires more than a brief superficial exposure or attempt or two. 
        Also, Chapter 10 contains this oblique reference: "...  A house which multitudes of workmen have polished with every care, where strange and rare Chinese and Japanese furnishings are displayed, and even the grasses and trees of the garden have been trained unnaturally, is ugly to look at and most depressing.  How could anyone live for long in such a place?..." 7

ZH       Tao Zong-i    Zhuo-geng-lu ( Talks while the plough is resting ) { T'ao Tsung-i (fl.1360-68) / Cho-kêng-lu } , 1366.   Includes the famous painter Mi Fu's (1051-1107) drawing of an inkwell in the form of a mountain made from a precious rock dating from the Southern Tang (923-934).  The 1102 picture is entitled "Bao-jin-zhai yan-shan-tu" { "Pao-chin-chai yen-shan-t'u" } , gives each peak a name, and includes the following comments: "It was not carved artificially but has this shape spontaneously and naturally."  "Dragon Lake [the depression between the Kingfisher (a tall peak on the right) and the following peak]; during rainy weather, it gets damp; put a few drops of water into it and it will not dry up even after ten days."  "The lower cave communicates with the upper cave through a triple spiral.  I took a mystical stroll through it [sic] one day."  The stone was said to be in Tao Zong-i's possession at the time and the inkwell's design was later imitated.  This work also states that a certain Chen { Ch'en } , very fond of mountains, bought an artificial mountain from Lord Jiu { Chiu } and placed it in his garden. 8

ZH       Cao Zhao   Gegu yaolun ( Essential Criteria of Antiquities, lit., " Key issues in the investigation of antiquities ") { Ts'ao Chao (tzu Ming-chung, hao Pao-ku Sheng) / Ko Ku Yao Lun } , 1388, Yün-chien (present-day Sung-chiang), near Nanjing in Jiangsu Province.  His father was a retired scholar who collected antiquities, and thus Cao had a lifelong exposure to the subject matter.  This early Ming manual of connoisseurship was originally edited by Shu Min Chih-hsüeh, also of Yün-chien.  It opens with a study of archaic bronzes, proceeds through "ancient painting," calligraphy, rubbings of calligraphy (The largest single section by a long way has a wide variety of poems and historical accounts from stone tablets or jujube wood artifacts up to a thousand years old), ancient qin zithers, ancient inkstones, precious objects (largely natural curiosities but also including worked jades), metals, ancient porcelains, ancient lacquer, textiles, rare woods and rare stones.  Throughout there is an anxiety about forgery (including how-tos), inauthenticity and fraud suggesting that by this time the major types of luxury commodity in the market-place were potentially unreliable.  This book was a pioneer work of epochal importance, for it was the earliest comprehensive and systematic treatise on Chinese art and archaeology.  Covering too many more subjects than were previously described in the catalogues on antiquities, it was neither a work on art nor a catalogue.  Texts like this, additionally, justified their own existence in the necessity of searching out reliable information on which to make judgements of things.  (A 1462 edition prepared [and possibly posthumously published] by Wang Zuo -- tzu Kung-tsai, hao Chu-chai, a native of Fu-k'ou in Chi-shui, Jiangsu -- was enlarged considerably and included the subjects of imperial seals, iron tallies, official costumes, and palace architecture.)

From Item I: On Ancient Bronzes, Section VIII:  ANCIENT INCENSE-BURNERS
        "Incense was unknown in earliest times.  Instead, artemisia was burnt because of its notable smell.  Hence there were no incense-burners in those days.  Ancient vessels used as incense-burners to-day were sacrificial vessels, such as the yi and the ting and not (real) incense-burners.  Po-shan incense-burners were used in the Heir-Apparent's Palace in the Han Dynasty.  With them began the design of incense-burners.  These have many imitations, which should be carefully examined for their quality and their colour."
        (As Section 54 in the 1462 edition.)

From Item V: On Rare Stones, Section IV:  K'UN-SHAN STONE
        "This comes from the Ma-an Mountains in K'un-shan in Su-chou.  It is dug out from these mountains and its natural shape is delightful to the eye.  It can be chiselled into the shape of a rockery for the planting of sword-lilies, flowering shrubs, and dwarf pines."
        NOTE: 'Can be chiselled' (ts'o) is crossed out by the author of the manuscript notes and replaced with the character shêng (grows) -- top of the sixth column from the right.  See also Du Wan, footnote 4, entry above and Lin Youlin, footnote 15, entry below.

       Section XVIII:  MICA, Section 19  Po Lo-t'ien (Po Chü-yi) of the T'ang Dynasty (an Account of the T'ai-hu Stones) T'ai-hu Shih-chi
        "The present Chief Minister, Ch'i-chang, loves these rare stones...
        "It all started when the Minister's colleagues and subordinates were posted to the [T'ai-hu] area.  They knew the Minister's predilection for such stones, and so they made an effort to collect the best of the T'ai Lake rocks and stones, and gave them to him.  He did not refuse.  For four or five years he continued to enrich his collection.  But he is not incorruptible, as far as stones are concerned.  His houses to the east and south of the Capital are filled with them.  A rich collection indeed!
        "Some of them resemble clouds, others are like imposing human figures.  The soft and mellow [coloured] stones look like jades, and the hard and sharp specimens resemble swords.  Some are dragon-like in form, others like phoenixes.  Some of these stones are so formed as to appear to be alive and seem to be about to leap or to fly.  They sometimes look as if they were beasts or ghosts about to jump, to run, or to fight.  During a windy and rainy night, the holes in them seem to open and shut, as if they were emitting clouds and mists.  This presents a frightening scene.  On the other hand, on a fine and warm day, they can be as lovely as maidens in their elegant poses.  This forms a very attractive scene.  At dawn and at dusk their appearance seems to change even more.  Moreover, the beauty of mountains, valleys, and caves are all thus represented. [emphasis added by RJB]  This pleases His Excellency, and he just sits there and is [thus] able to admire the landscape of the whole Empire.  Sitting and discussing with him, one wonders whether the Creator had made these things deliberately, or whether they came to be found by accident.
        "Heaven knows how many millennia have passed since they first took on their present shapes.  They have either been under the sea or [somehow] fallen in to the bed of the lake.  They are not very tall, nor [indeed] unusually heavy, as they seem to parade in front of the Minister, competing for his favour.  He treats them like his relatives and friends, and some he respects as [though they were] saints or sages.  He treasures these stones as if they were made of jade or gold, and loves them as though they were his own sons and grandsons.  Are these things assembled here because of his fervent desire for them?  Or are they here for no reason at all?
        "Alas, who knows where these stones will be after a hundred or a thousand years?  They will be [perhaps] scattered throughout the Empire.  Who knows whether they will still exist, or if they will all simply disappear?  If my fellow connoisseurs see of of these stones in the future and read my account, they will know why the Chief Minister was so fond of them."
        (This account in not in the original 1388 edition, but is Section 19 in the 1462 edition.)

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