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Bonsai | Penjing

Bonsai | Penjing

The beauty and evolution of an intriguing art form.

The Montréal Botanical Garden’s collections of bonsai and penjing are among the best in North America, including more than 350 trees, some dating from the 17th century. For the first time, these stylized horticultural creations have been brought together in a single volume, illuminating the evolution of the aesthetic tradition of this Asian art form.

Featuring beautifully rendered photographs of many of the miniature trees in the collection, Bonsai | Penjing: The Collections of the Montréal Botanical Garden offers an up-close view of these extraordinary specimens. Miniaturized reflections of their natural environment, these works of horticultural art translate the world views of bonsai and penjing masters from different philosophical traditions. In a few instances, they integrate contemporary North American vision of the ancient Asian traditions.

Author Danielle Ouellet interviewed many of the artists who created these works, in some instances travelling to Asia to meet with some of the contemporary masters of this art form. As a result, she brings to life an historical portrait of Bonsai and Penjing, their underlying aesthetic principles, and an understanding of how to view and interpret the captivating living culptures of these traditions.


Danielle Ouellet is a mathematician and science historian. She is the author of numerous books and articles including 40 ans: Les Amis du Jardin botanique de Montréal and La fine fleur du savoir. Her essays have appeared Forces, Premium, and Québec Science.

276 pages
Pub date: September 24, 2019