Potted Landscape, a Miniature Fairyland

Potted landscape art, praised as "silent poetry", is made by putting artistic touches on the plants, stones stored in a pot as an ornament or a miniature of natural beauty. It is amazing that in a pot no larger than a washbasin, the ingenious craftsmen create a miniature reproduction of a natural scene using stunted trees and plants, rocks and sometimes water.

Chinese potted landscapes started as early as the Eastern Han Dynasty with a history of 1,900 years and reached their peak in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Tang and Song poets like Wang Wei, Han Yu, Bai Juyi, Su Dongpo and Lu You all mentioned them. Potted landscapes can be classified into two. One focuses on trees, with mountains and stones, characters and houses. The other focuses on mountains and stones with clear water, pavilions. The former is called stake-potted landscape. The latter stone and mountain potted landscape.

Miniature trees are made from old stumps. Short, easily shaped stumps are forced into the form wanted by hanging, binding, trimming and grafting. Some are made to look like running beasts, soaring birds, or strange beasts created from the imagination of the craftsmen. Miniature rockeries are made by carving or corroding and then gluing either solid or absorbent rock, decorated with slender growing plants. Absorbent rock will accept mosses. Some rockeries are imitations of paintings, but often they represent scenic spots. While focusing on trees, they display mountains and stones, characters and houses. And while focusing on rockeries, they display clear water and pavilions.

To appreciate the most fascinating potted landscape, you should definitely have a visit of Suzhou Garden. In Humble Administration Garden and Lingering Garden, special lower pot areas are kept for people to enjoy. There are over 1000 pots of stakes, water and stone pots in different postures Potted landscape of Suzhou pay close attention to the postures of stakes and the age, curiosity of the appearances. These stakes are dug out from fields or deep mountains. Then they are cultivated carefully and treated artistically.

The expert on potted landscape, Zhou Shoujuan said that potted landscape include 60 percent of nature and 40 percent of art. Among the 40 percent, trimming covers 25%, binding up covers 15%. Only in this way can trees not look too artistic or become bad ones. At the same time, people should also learn from those famous paintings of the past and present.