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

Pre-1800, Part II


Language Prefix:
" JA "   Japanese
" ZH "   Chinese

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

ZH       Wang Ao   Gusu zhi, 1506.  A gazetteer, a type of local history combining information on the administrative geography, famous sights, agricultural produce, industrial manufacture, events of significance, and notable inhabitants of a given region.  Produced for all the major towns and districts of China, these are another example of the massive bureaucracy which recorded all sorts of details and which were periodically updated.  Initially, this particular one was compiled by Wu Kuan (1436-1504), whose wealthy textiles merchant father had laid out the nine acre 'Eastern Estate' inside the city walls of Suzhou in Jiangsu province.  For much of the late imperial period, that city, perhaps 75 km. west of modern Shanghai and 125 km. northeast of Hangzhou, was the most populous non-capital city in the empire, housing half a million people within an area of at least 14.8 square kilometers.  The Eastern Estate, unlike so many other pieces of property in the region, had remained in the hands of the same family through Suzhou's turbulent fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.  A veritable model of rural self-sufficiency, it was not a real rural estate, but one of the sights of Suzhou for members of the elite who passed through, taking advantage of the city's reputation as a center of cultural production and luxury consumption.  Wu Kuan's teacher had been Du Qiong.  Wang Ao (1450-1524), who finished this book, was an even more important member of the Suzhou elite, and there is no doubt that he owned some of the most celebrated gardens in the Lake Tai region west of the city.
       It "also seems plausible that such things [as pan zai ] were a specialty of Suzhou and one that spread extensively through China only in the course of the sixteenth century, as part of a wave of expansion of garden culture that also has Suzhou as a key point of origin.  [T]he author of the Suzhou gazetteer seemed to feel the need to explain the term, as if it might be unfamiliar:  'The people of Tiger Hill [an elite resort spot to the northwest and connected to Suzhou by the canal, along which suburbs stretched] are excellent at planting strange flowers and rare blossoms in a dish.  A dish with pine or antique flowering plum, when placed on a table, is pure, elegant and delightful.'"

ZH       Tian Rucheng   Xi hu you lan zhi yu (Visiting and Seeing West Lake: A Gazetteer),  preface dated 1547.  Tian lived c.1500-1570.  The first ten scrolls are dedicated to the main lines of mountains.  The following nine scrolls address branches of mountains [actually, foothills] that extend inside the southern portion of the Hangzhou city walls around the Imperial Palace in Zhejiang province.  These branches seem never to stop extending, because the book includes almost all the districts of the city.  The structure of landscape depicted by Tian consists of mountains, branches of mountains, and tacit branches of mountains, which are not physically visible.  As a result, the whole landscape includes both the lake surrounded by mountains, and the city explicitly embraced and implicitly penetrated by mountains.  "As for the growing of pine, cypress and hai tong in dishes, they mostly imitate a pictorial idea ( hua yi ).  Aslant and supine ones are in the Ma Yuan (fl. c.1190-1260) technique, those with erect trunks and spreading foliage in the Guo Xi ( c. 1001-90) technique.  Other forms, such as 'phoenix and crane on pavilion and pagoda' are variously refined and marvellous, and can be laid out for pure enjoyment."  11

ZH       Gu Qiyuan   Kezuo zhuiyu (Idle Chatter on Sitting with My Guests ), 1617 or 1618.  Gu lived from 1565 to 1628.  In 1617 he published a work on the history, topography and customs of his native Nanjing in Jiangsu Province.  In Kezuo zhuiyu, he "continue[d] to stress the importance of a 'pictorial idea,' as well as providing evidence that Suzhou (also in Jiangsu Province) was still considered to be the source of the finest exponents of the art:  'Of old, dish landscapes to be placed on a table consisted of no more than one or two types of Damnacanthus.  Recently, flower gardeners ( hua yuanzi ) have moved here from Suzhou, and the number of varieties has increased, so that apart from Damnacanthus there are things like Tianmu pines, yingluo pines, crab apples, prasine peaches, little-leaf boxwood, carnations, Xiangfei bamboo, shuidongqing, narcissus, small plantains, wolfberry, gingko and flowering plum.  These must have roots and trunks, with a pictorial idea to the branches and leaves, and must be installed in an antique porcelain dish with fine stones.  The price of the expensive ones can go as high as several thousand cash.'"   12

ZH       Li Rihua  Weishuixuan riji.  A famous and influential late Ming book and art collector, important writer and artist, and one-time official at the huge ceramic and porcelain production center of Jingdezhen in south-central Jiangxi province, the largest industrial complex anywhere in the world prior to the eighteenth century, he lived from 1565 to 1635.  His diary covers the years from 1609 to 1616.  Every day of the eight years is mentioned, but several days are not filled in.  It contains very rich documentation in the field of painting and especially calligraphy, and weather is an important topic.  The diary includes Ranking of Antique Objects -- remembering that to the Chinese "antique" did not mean simply "chronologically old," but also implied "morally ennobling."  This begins with calligraphies of the Jin (265-420 C.E.) and Tang dynasties and paintings of the Tang, Five Dynasties (907-960), and early Song periods.  It then goes on to include (#11) ancient ritual bronze vessels, (#12) jades, (#13) Tang-dynasty inkstones, (#14) ancient qin (zithers) and world-famous swords, (#15) finely printed books of the Five Dynasties and Song periods, and, significantly, (#16) "strange rocks of a rugged and picturesque type."  Following the strange rocks come (#17) "a combination of some old, elegant pines and small needle-like rushes in a fine pot," (#18) "plum trees and bamboos that are fit for poetry," and such categories as imported spice, fine tea, exotice foreign foods, and white porcelain.  Unlike Zhao Xigu's listing (footnote 6) from four hundred years earlier, Li Rihua ranks his "elegances" according to level of cultural prestige. 13

ZH       Wen Zhenheng   Zhangwu zhi   ( Records of Excellent Creations / Treatise on superfluous things ) { Wen Chen-heng (1585-1645) / Ch'ang-wu-chih } , c.1615-1620.  Wen was owner in his own right of a garden ("an outstanding piece of extravagance") situated in the northwest corner of urban Suzhou in Jiangsu Province.  (He variously had residences, with their essential gardens, just outside Suzhou to both the east and west of the city, as well as a home within its walls.  One of these rural estates was still being constructed for him at the time of his death, and he never had a chance to visit it.  In addition, there was a property in Nanjing.)  The garden was steeped in the luxurious excess that moralists of the period were increasingly driven to protest, and which his own Treatise -- written when he was a much younger man -- also often attacks as "vulgarity."  His family were several generations of successful landowners.  His great-grandfather, Wen Zhengming, had been a Grand Scribe -- what may have been a largely ceremonial place in the central bureaucracy as a polisher of the literary style of documents -- one of whose teachers was Wu Kuan [see entry above, with footnote 12] .  Wen Zhenheng also held a similar position later in life.  He ended up fleeing his native city to the shores of Lake Yangcheng to escape the armies of the invading Manchus.  He committed suicide by starvation, choosing as many elite did to die with the Ming dynasty.  Eight literary works of his, much of them poetry, are listed as having been published in his lifetime.
      His 12-part guide concerned "appropriate" conspicuous consumption behavior for the Suzhou elite.  Most of the material surroundings of the Ming upper class are covered therein.  "'The garden' as a coherent site is only fleetingly presented in the Treatise, being broken down into literally hundreds of objects with an autonomy of their own, both in terms of the discrimination of taste and in terms of the market in which they circulated.  Yet it does cover almost all the 'ingredients' from which a late Ming aesthetic garden could be assembled."  "Wen's material in this [second, "Flowers and Trees"] chapter is exclusively on the consumption of flowers, with very little information as to how they are to be grown.  [K]nowledge of this type was for him beneath the dignity of 'our sort' of people.  He thus has nothing to say, for example, about the techniques used for the forcing of flowers in the late Ming, and their production out of season.  There has been a total rift between the discourses of 'horticulture' and of 'gardens,' the latter now characterized purely as objects of luxury consumption." 
       Eleven persons are listed as editors of and commentators on the work.  Pan Zhiheng (1556-1622) was the editor of the second chapter, and his interest in popular material culture is confirmed by his authorship of at least two treatises elsewheres on card games.  Unlike most similar works and despite its popularity, Wen's Treatise really didn't undergo a process of dismemberment which was common at the time, where component chapters might be reprinted and retitled as independent texts in a larger work.  Virtually any successful work might also immediately be printed and reissued by competing publishers.  Altogether, these works ensured a proto-consumer state where no one was excluded from participation in the market for luxury commodities on the grounds of ignorance of how to consume appropriately -- bearing in mind that in the case of Ming China the overwhelming majority of the population concerned itself not with choices of consumption but about whether it could consume enough of the necessities of life to avoid death.
       (The third chapter, "Water and rocks" which includes mention of Lake Tai rocks pierced through with caverns and hollows, reticulated on every side, was edited by Li Liufang (1575-1629).  He did indeed create a very fine and renowned garden for himself.  He is best remembered as an artist, one of the "Four Gentlemen of Jaiding," and a member of the artistic tendency crystallized around the great artist, artistic theoretician and major politician Dong Qichang (1555-1636).  The seventh and longest section, "Vessels and utensils," gives passing reference to antique blue-green Boshan incense burners.  This section was edited by Zhou Huanguang (1559-1625), a Suzhou native noted for his practice of calligraphy in seal script and as a poet.  His wife, also noted as a writer, was the daughter of Wen Zhengming's closest friend, Lu Shidao.)  It is believed that the reason the Treatise is not illustrated during this time which saw a massive increase in the publication of illustrated books of all kinds is because of the precision of the language used therein.
       ("Another kind of commodity, and one which was new in the late Ming period, was knowledge, transmitted personally or through the medium of published books.  The almanacs and encyclopaedias, the route books of Ming merchants, the collections of model essays for the civil service examinations and the very guides to elegant living themselves are commodities which make a commodity out of kinds of knowledge which had existed in earlier centuries but which had not been bought and sold.  Then, the merchant had learned the route from Nanjing to Suzhou by experience, the son of an elite family had learned the approved style for examination essays from his tutor, and the rules of taste in things had been learned through social intercourse with a peer group.  By 1580 all of this knowledge, or a version of it at least, could be bought.")
       Wen Zhenheng demanded that the design of gardens should reach such a state of perfection that the experience of roaming in one would cause the user "to forget his age, forget to go home, and forget his fatigue."
       The Treatise contains Tu Long's "Kao Pan Yu Shi" ("Desultory Remarks on Furnishing the Abode of the Retired Scholar," 1590)
{ T'u Lung (1542-1605) / "K'ao-p'an yü-shih" }   Tu Long was born in Yin county, in a suburb of Ningpo city, Zhejiang.  In 1577, he obtained the degree of jinshi, roughly equivalent to a doctoral degree, administered in the capital every three years.  He later became the Chief Magistrate of Qinpu county, Shanghai, just to the north.  After he was libelled and quit his job, Tu Long concentrated on writing plays and essays.  He rejected the adherance to strict ancient format, and advocated that a writer must write from his heart.  "Kao Pan Yu Shi" includes much information on tea varieties and preparation.
       It also refers to table culture plants and describes choice porcelain wares for various purposes.  "The best container landscapes [penjing
{ p'en-ching } ] are [the smallest ones,] those that can be set on a stool or table.  Then come those that one can set out in a courtyard..."  The landscapes served not only as objects of amusement, but also served to ward off evil with appropriately symbolic plants or by collecting the magical early morning dew.  "One of the longest sections in the chapter is that on 'Amusement with Pots' ( Pan wan ).  Wen Zhenheng opposes at least one of the choices of plants made by his slightly older contemporary Gu Qiyuan [see entry above, with footnote 12] , calling dwarf plantains 'ridiculous,' and seems in general to favour larger version of panjing.  He reverses what he says is the fashionable view that those for the table are superior to those used in courtyards and walkways, and gives pride of place to the Tianmu pine ( Pinus taiwanensis ), specimens of which should ideally be between one and two feet high.  As is now standard, he makes the link with named famous painters: an ideal tree should fit one description of Ma Yuan (fl.c.1190-1229), another of Guo Xi (c.1020-c.1090), another of Liu Songnian (c. 1150-after 1225?), and a fourth of Sheng Mou (active c. 1310-60).  He decries a fashionable trick of having flowers sprout from a chunk of incense wood, and lists other acceptable trees, which include the familiar flowering plum, as well as the Chinese Matrimony Vine ( Lycium chinensis ), Privet ( Ligustrum quihoi ), wild Elm ( Ulmus parvifolia ), and Junipers ( J. chinensis ) with snaky stems that do not show scars of tying and cutting [sic] , dwarf Water Bamboo ( Phyllostachys congesta ), and Sweetflag ( Acorus gramineus ).  Also, Cymbidium Orchids in the spring; Silk Tree, Yellow Fragrant Day Lily (probably Hemerocallis middendorfii ) and Oleander in the summer; yellow, dense, dwarfed Chrysanthemums in the autumn; and short-leaved Narcissus and 'Beauty Banana' ( Musa uranoscopos ) in the winter.  The Damnacanthus, which he associates with Hangzhou, is 'in between elegance and vulgarity.'  The rest of the entry discusses acceptable types of dish, acceptable forms (round, never square, with long narrow ones being 'particularly tabooed'), rocks, and placings, with a limitation of two being placed on the number to be set in any one spot."
       Landscapes in containers not only were an object of amusement, a toy (wan), but also served to ward off evil.  Thus, a certain mana (ling), a vague but beneficent magical power, is inherent in miniature gardens.  But like all magical powers, this quality is not only negative, averting evil; it is also positive.  It brings strength and power.
       The text also confirms the popularity of wood for rock or incense burner pedestals.  Ebony (wumu) was rated as being the best; zitan [Pterocarpus santalinus] and huali wood [Pterocarpus sp.] were also acceptable.  One needed to avoid the vulgar shapes like water caltrop flowers or mallow flowers, and thus highly decorated stands were not necessarily in accord with the scholars' proclaimed taste for restraint and austerity.

ZH       Lin Youlin    Suyuan shipu ( Stone Catalogue of the Plain Garden ), 1614.  The author (zi, Renfu; hao Zhongzhai), a native of Huating in Jiangsu province, was born into a family noted for stone collecting.  He became a great collector in his own right.  He also studied landscape painting and was conversant with events past and present.  One of the two buildings in Lin's family compound that housed prized stones was located in a garden called Suyuan ("plain garden").  He had a boat -- or detached studio set at the edge of a garden lake -- Qinglianfang (Blue Lotus Boat) into which he often took especially favored rocks.  (Sparse details of Lin's life mean that we can't be sure if the boat was actual or if it was a poetic name for his studio.)  In four volumes, this work introduces about a hundred famous stones and rock types with insightful commentary and 235 illustrations.  The well-drawn pictures in this represent sixty-five famous stones from the gardens of the Song emperors which had previously been reproduced in Xuan He Shi Pu { Hsüan Ho Shih P'u }.  The latter was a publication corresponding to the highly valued catalogues of the emperor's collections of paintings and sculptures.  Some of these illustrations may be pure invention, but there was probably a lineage for many of them, deriving partly from actual rock types and partly from pictorial convention.  Regarding Kunshan county, Suzhou, Lin states "People there grow sweet flag, small pines, and cypresses."  Later authors borrowed from these works with great freedom.  The stones depicted therein were valued as highly as any works of art executed by human hands.  From his preface: "...Stone collecting, in particular, is close to Chan meditation [sic], empowering the mind to visit the Southern Palaces and Mount Jinhua.  Since Emperor Xuanhe [Huizong, r.1101-1125], people have made illustrations and written poems about stones.  I have collected them in four volumes, which my friend Mr. Huang came to see.  After reading them, he suggested that the book be published."  This is the most detailed Ming source on the nature and significance of Lingbi stones.  The text discusses and illustrates categories of rocks as well as famous individual rocks, many of which are purportedly from the Song dynasty, and it contains numerous references to Su Shi, Mi Fu, and other famous Song-dynasty rock colections.  The section on Lingbi consists of long, abridged quotations from the relevant parts of the works of Du Wan [see entry above, with footnote 4] and Zhao Xigu [see entry above, with footnote 6].  These earlier texts were, in fact, extensively copied in the Suyuan shi, reinforcing, directly or indirectly, the view that Lingbi were the most prized of scholars' rocks from the Song dynasty through the Ming -- and then the Qing. 15

ZH       Wang Xiangjin    Qun Fang Pu ( Flower Catalogue / Compendium of Aromatic Plants / Thesaurus of Botany ) { Wang Siang Tsin or Wang Hsiang-chin / K'ün fang pu } ; 1630.  Thirty volumes.  Wang was born in Xinzheng, Shandong province.  After ten years of observations and readings (the preface was dated 1620), this work was produced containing a treatise on horticulture and also an anthology of quotations and poems on plants and more.  Some 433 names of plants are quoted as entries.  Under each name are indicated synonyms (if any), a description, therapeutic indications, cultural technics, alimentary use, medicinal recipes, extracts of prose literature and poems. 
       Also contains the treatise "Penjing" by Wu Chutai.

ZH       Ji Cheng   Yuan Ye (Garden Design / The Craft of Gardens ), 1631-34.  The author (1582-1642?) was a native of Wujiang county in Suzhou and was a prominent Ming dynasty garden designer.  This was the world's first monograph dedicated to garden architecture.  It is not a manual, as one would expect, however, as it neither contains a list of plants nor instructions on how to grow them.  Instead the three volume work emphasizes architecture, an integral part of the Chinese concept of garden design, and elaborates on the selection of various types of rocks and structures.  The first volume contains chapters on construction, selecting sites, designing artificial hills and the design and placement of garden buildings, including latticework grids for doors, windows and ceilings.  The second volume is entirely about balustrades.  The third volume contains six chapters: on doors and windows, on walls, on pavings, on the construction of artificial hills, on the selection of rocks, and on “borrowing views” (including views from outside the garden). 
       The book contains information about stone collecting and connoisseurship.  17

JA        Mizuno Motokatsu   Kadan Kōmoku ( An Outline of Flower Gardens ), 1681.  One of the oldest books on the subject of horticulture in Japan, it lists flowers, grasses and flowering trees suitable for the four seasons of the year, including 40 varieties of cherries and 147 varieties of indigenous azaleas, four or five of which were satsuki.  One passage states: "The rage these days is for various kinds of azalea, which are in vogue among all classes of society.  Even the poorest people do not consider themselves human unless they have one or the other, even if they have to grow it in an abalone shell."  Hachi-ue is used in this book to refer to miniature potted trees. 18

ZH       Chen Wuzi { Ch'en Hao-tzu aka Chen Fuyao { Chen Fu-yau } Pi-chuan Hua-ching ( The Flower Looking Glass / Mirror of Flowers ); 1688, from the West Lake region of Zhejiang.  A general botany book, uses pen-tsuai as a verb meaning "to plant into a pot."  An entire chapter is devoted to the art of penjing creation, "Zhong Pen Qu Jing (Potting a Plant and Creating Scenery/Types of Containers and [Penjing] Methods)."  The middle of the piece contains the following: "Many herbaceous plants can adapt to growing in containers.  It is useless to list them in detail.  But very few woody plants will survive: only the pine, the cypress, the elm, the Chinese juniper, the maple [Liquidamber formosana (per translation in Stein)], the orange tree, the peach tree, the plum tree, the tea bush, the cinnamon tree, the pomegranate, the hibiscus, the "phoenix bamboo" [?], the damnacanthus [D. indicus], the various daphnes, heather [or grose], the bouquet apple-tree [or the Japanese quince], the box tree, the rhododendron [or azalea], the Indian rose, the mo-li jasmine (with big flowers), the hua-chiao [banana?], the su-hsing jasmine [Jasmineum grandiflorum], the Chinese wolfberry, the clove tree, the mu-tan peony, Japanese ardisia, Serissa foetida [or Japanese bush honeysuckle], and so on.  All these plants are suitable for growing in containers.  But cutting and planting must be done correctly.
       "Recently in the province of Wu [modern-day northern Hunan] a kind of miniature garden has appeared that is like a painting of trees and mountains by Yün-lin.  In order to make these, people use containers holding big, long white stones, or containers from I-hsing [in Jiangsu] with purple sand.  A dozen little plants are selected, like cypresses and junipers, or maples [Acer?] and elms, 'Snow of the Sixth Month,' damnacanthus, box, plum trees, and cedrelas...  A few of these basins placed on the porch of a library truly makes a perfect accessory for a cultivated person."
       Discusses such topics as how to select and train trees and how to grow them under different conditions in various parts of the country.  Some modern botanical concepts are found in this work. 

ZH       Zhang Chao (1650-c.1703) (ed.)   Zhaodai congshu  (Collectanea from this glorious age) { Chao-tai ts'ung-shu } , c.1700.  Contains an unillustrated rock catalog and essays by other writers. Also, a monograph by Liu Luan (aka Yü-fu) entitled Wudan hu ( Gourd Weighing Five Tan ) { Wu-tan hu } , which includes the following observation "Nowadays people amuse themselves by placing trees and stones in containers.  Tall trees are shortened by twisting them, the big ones reduced by cutting back.  Some of them bear fruit even though they are only five inches tall; fish of [only] eight or nine inches are raised.  The result is called a 'landscape in a container' [ penjing { p'en-ching } ]...  During the Yüan dynasty [1275-1368], they were called xiezi jing { hsieh-tzu-ching } ('very small landscape')..." 20  

ZH                                    Guang qunfang pu ( Enlarged Thesaurus of Botany ) { Kuang K'ün fang pu } , 1708.  A revised and enlarged edition of the 1630 Qun Fang Bu (see above), completed and printed by Imperial order.  Some 1700 species are described in its 100 volumes.  It draws from both ancient and later authors.   There are no illustrations in it, but its great superiority lies in the splendid type in which it was set.  It was one of the most widely used reference works for botanical research by Western naturalists. In spite of its title, it was basically a literary anthology or encyclopedia, composed of quotations from a wide range of Chinese literature.  The quotations were arranged according to the plants.  Although the naturalists seldom bothered to distinguish it from the genre of bencao or the herbal, lumping them together as botanical works, this work actually belonged to the tradition of gardening literature.  In Guang qunfang pu, empirical observations mingled with poems, recipes, fables, prescriptions, and historical legends.  The work was enormous.  It was this comprehensiveness that made it a useful storehouse of information. 21

JA       Mitumasa Sawai   Tray stone oral message ; Kiyuubee Ogawa, 1765. 22   Added to 11/03/10

JA                                        Bonsan ipposho, Rakuzansai henshuu; Sessensai mosha, c.1774. 23

JA       Matsui, Aiseki and Keikai Junsekiken   Bonsan hyakkei zudai, 1785. 24

ZH       Li Dou   Yangzhou Huafang Lu ( Account of Yangzhou's Pleasure Boats / Chronicle of the Painted Barges of Yangzhou), 1795.  A playwright and poet born into a minor land-owning family near this city, Li (d. 1817) was one of the men in Yangzhou who busied themselves documenting aspects of the city as it visibly flowered under the impact of the extraordinary wealth of the salt merchants.  Yangzhou in central Jiangsu province is about 70 km. northeast of Nanjing.  The book provides much information on life in the city and also valuable reference material on plays and opera music between the Yuan and Qing dynasties.  Compilation of the material for The Painted Barges commenced in 1764, two years after the third of the Qianlong emperor's Southern Tours.  The emperor would make three more tours by the time Li Dou completed his project in 1795, the last year of the Qianlong reign.  The emperor's visits, although given pride of place, are incorporated into an urban panorama that features a large and diversified cast of townspeople.  The author could have organized his chronicle in the form of a local gazetteer, with different sections on the past, geography, notable buildings, scenic sights, biographies, and writings.  Instead, he sensed the organic nature of the city: past and present, people and places, writings and writers, are densely intertwined to produce a dramatically interactive account of urban society.  His intimate knowledge of local society paid particular attention to the achievements of otherwise unknown artists and scholars, but his chronicle noticeably avoided engagement with the workaday city of local administration.  In retrospect, his chronicle also marked the end of an era in which the dream of Yangzhou was recorded and the beginning of an age when it would be remembered.
       In this ambitious project to document city and society during its heyday, Li states that during the second half of the eighteenth century, Yangzhou boasted penjing that contained flowers and tree, or water and soil, even waterfall. Due to popularity of classical gardens and penjing at that time, "nearly every family in Yangzhou plant flowers and have penjing in their houses."
       In the fourth chapter, it is mentioned that "On the Day of Flowers (the 15th day of the 8th month), a Hundred Flowers Fair is held at the gate of licentiate [xiucai, holder of the lower examination degree] Zhang's house.  Celebrated species from all the suburban villages are gathered here.  The licentiate's name is Sui and his zi is Yinyuan.  He excels in the sword dance, therefore he is knicknamed fencer Zhang.  He is also good at trimming flowers.  His plum bonsai (meihua penjing) are equal to those of licentiate Yao Zhitong, and department-magistrate Geng Tianbao.  They are called 'the three plum blossom trimmers.'  Zhang Quiren, bearded Liu Shisan, and the Daoist Wu Songshan, who learned the art from them, follow."
       The penjing designed by a monk named Lihuan in Suzhou was always sold at a very high price due to his excellent techniques and unique design.
       The city's heyday would be short-lived: The Grand Canal, the crucial north-south transportation line that had been the central geographical feature of this city's rise to power, was damaged by repeated floods in the early nineteenth century.  The damage to the Grand Canal produced a huge financial burden that the Qing state, already facing financial problems and resource shortages, was reluctant to shoulder.  The state gave up regular maintenance of the Grand Canal and began to ship grains and salt via other channels, including through the port of Shanghai.  This change further undermined the econmic base of Yangzhou and with it the cultural preeminence by its once wealthy residents.  With the fall of the salt merchants and dwindling financial resources, Yangzhou lost its role as the dream city of the empire.  Travelling literati noted that the garden sites recorded in Li Dou's 1775 book -- the sites which had occupied vast grounds, extended for miles on both sides of the river, and, as in Europe, were as much an exhibition of wealth as a pretension to cultural status -- had disappeared during the short time between 1820 and 1830.  Only a few politically and economically powerful figures could afford to build new gardens, and sons of many salt merchant families survived by selling off precious building materials in their gardens.

JA       Junsekiken, Yōkō    Bonsan hyakkeizu, 1798, Kyoto.  26

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