I was invited to represent the United States in the 2013 “2013 Dialogue of the Penjing Word Forum” which is sponsored by the Chinese Penjing Artists Association and the World Bonsai Stone Culture Association, who were my hosts for an exciting and busy week.
There are about 20 foreign guests in our group for the forum from 18 countries and we have been moved around, fed lots of good (and interesting) Chinese food and shown superb examples of Chinese penjing, the quality which I’ve NEVER seen before. This has been a real eye opener for me personally. There are several translators from Chinese into English and a special translator for Mr. Sudo, Kobayashi and his apprentice Mr. Suzuki. Mr. Kobayashi also brought his personal translator.
My trip began with my hosts flying me from the World Bonsai Friendship Federation Convention from Jintan to Guangdong for the First 2013 China (Guzhen) National Penjing Exhibition which I have reported on earlier in this blog.
There I met about 20 foreign guests, the other members of the forum, from 18 countries and we have been flown, bussed, moved around, fed lots of good (and interesting) Chinese food and shown superb examples of Chinese penjing, the quality which I’ve NEVER seen before. This has been a real eye opener for me personally. The hospitality has been wonderful and there was someone near me to help with my broken foot and scooter, there are lots of steps in China.
In Guangdong area we were taken to see two gardens before flying us to Xi’an for the forum. We left by bus, but by the time we got to Shenzhen where the first garden was located it was 6pm so we were taken to a hotel. My single room had two bathrooms, a bedroom, sitting room and three TV sets. The bathroom alone is larger than many of the Japanese hotels I’ve stayed at. Early the next morning we left for Tracy Garden
Kunio Kobayashi, Tomio Yamada and Uhaku Sudo
The first garden visit was to Tracy Garden, the personal collection of Mr. Rick Ng. He has an antique Chinese container collection of well over 200 pieces. Many have been purchased from Mr. Kobayashi in Japan. I followed Mr. Sudo, Kobayashi, Yamada and Suzuki as they carefully inspected the most unusual collection of containers in a long building. Each container was displayed in a boxed shelf unit, many labeled, in Chinese of course. Mr. Kobayashi and Suzuki pointed out interesting aspects of certain containers for my background. There were large containers, but not as huge as the contemporary style of Chinese bonsai.
Amy Liang pointing out good points in a forest
Mr. Rick with landscape which took him three years to create
Outside there were several different display areas, and as I hobbled around, (OK, I left my scooter at the entrance,) I came upon three additional buildings also full of containers. One room also had interesting collections of Chinese viewing stones. One of the buildings had two floors, and of course I had to go upstairs to see what was there, another collection of antique Chinese containers. The Japanese were most interested in several of the containers and spent considerable time there. The buildings were air conditioned and it was quite warm.
The bonsai were all displayed on stone tables and there was neatly mowed grass below, which I’m sure takes considerable time to trim, even with a weed wacker. There were a great number of Chinese hackberry and Chinese elm bonsai among other deciduous and broadleaf species. I was wondering why he did not have any evergreens in his collection. But, as I went up the hill to see more bonsai I looked below and saw another large section full of pines being trained. The garden is up high on a hill and overlooks a small lake, quite picturesque.
Charcoal added to the soil
Mr. Rick took us all to lunch and gave each of us a set of two (heavy) books on his bonsai collection, perhaps there are also containers included, but have not had the time to check and thoroughly study the book. In my post from the National Penjing Collection I showed a beautiful Bougainillea trained in the feeling of a Weeping willow, which I was now told belonged to Mr. Rick.
There was also a group from China and Taiwan who traveled with us for a couple of days so we needed to large buses to get around. We were then bussed to Dongguan to see the Zhenque Garden. Our private visit was in the late afternoon so we checked into another nice hotel, but I only had one bathroom and one TV.