Although Bonsai is a Japanese word, the art of growing these miniature trees originates in China, where it is called "Penjing" or "Penzai".

Penjing are usually miniature landscapes, displaying a combination of rocks, trees and figures - though increasingly single plants are shown in China these days. The main difference between Bonsai and Penjing is that Bonsai is a more refined, stylistic depiction of nature (often in single tree displays), whereas Penjing is more natural and wild (usually displayed in a landscape form).

With China's vast scale, several regional styles of Penjing were developed over the years, including the Lingnan style, Taiwan style (closer in resemblance to Japanese Bonsai), Shanghai style and the Yangzhou style.

Three main categories can be distinguished for Penjing:

  1. 樹木盆景 - Shumu Penjing: A landscape consisting of trees, planted in a container.
  2. 山水盆景 - Shanshui Penjing: A landscape usually formed around a rock, placed in a tray filled with water.
  3. 水旱盆景 - Shuihan Penjing: A landscape consisting of a rock and trees, possibly with miniature houses and figures.


In this article we list the ten most beautiful Chinese Penjing landscapes.


(#1) Ikadabuki (raft) style Penjing landscape, by Matyie Che Makhtar

Raft style Penjing

An ikadabuki (raft) style Penjing landscape, by Matyie Che Makhtar.


(#2) Casuarina Equisetifolia landscape by Eddy Sebayang

Chinese Penjing

Spectacular and very realistic Penjing landscape by Eddy Sebayang, made up from Casuarina Equisetifolia trees. Read more on Penjing and its Chinese roots in the Bonsai History article.


(#3) Chinese Penjing landscape with figurine, by Matyie Che Makhtar

Penjing from China

Chinese Penjing landscape with figurine, by Matyie Che Makhtar.


(#4) Penjing landscape by Yee-sun Wu

Manlung Penjing

Chinese styled trees; a Penjing landscape including a miniature house and figurines. By: Yee-sun Wu.


(#5) Penjing forest, by Zhuang Weijun

Penjing forest

Stunning Penjing forest, by Zhuang Weijun


(#6) Penjing tree from China

Forest style Penjing, China

Penjing tree from China, a Bonsai landscape that includes a rock scenery and figurines. By: Estavios Bonsai.


(#7) Flowering Penjing tree

Flowering Penjing tree

Wonderful Chinese Penjing tree, in bloom. Photo by: Estavios Bonsai.


(#8) Rock landscape, by the Debreceni Bonsai Club

Penjing rock landscape

Full scale Penjing landscape, including a Bonsai tree, water, rocks, trees and figurines. By: Debreceni Bonsai Club.



(#9) Penjing style Bonsai tree, by Joko Sulistianto

Penjing in winter

Penjing style Bonsai tree in twin-trunk style, possibly a Chinese Elm Bonsai, by Joko Sulistianto.


(#10) Mini Penjing, by Robert Steven

Prunus mume penjing

Mini trees in Penjing style, Premna microphylla. Learn how this landscape was made in the Mini Bonsai article. By: Robert Steven.


Penjing garden in China