One Belt, One Road, and the Hutongs of Beijing

HutongWe thought we would try something different on this trip to Beijing. Rather than a western-style hotel we chose a small hotel in a traditional hutong. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

A hutong is an ancient alley dating back to the dynastic period of Beijing’s history. The word hutong is apparently derived from Mongolian, coined first during the Yuan Dynasty when Mongolian leader Kublai Khan controlled all of what is much of China, Korea, and parts of eastern Russian today. And alleys they are; narrow lanes with walls on both sides. Periodically you encounter a door, which leads to a central courtyard surrounded by tiny rooms in which various families live. These siheyuans line the hutong. Most of these siheyuans serve the poorer classes and lack toilets, which in modern times have been installed at points along the hutong and shared by all.

Our hutong hotel was on the upscale side, having been renovated to provide a larger than usual central courtyard and modern rooms (each with its own bathroom). Still, the rooms were tiny and the bathrooms were tinier. Late at night the locals just in from the outlying farms (in town to sell goods, perhaps) would arrive, their loud voices and arguments easily heard through the thin walls. Early morning risers added to the din, making sleeping an adventure.

For some reason we decided it would be a good idea to seek out our hotel in the darkened night of 10 pm. Ru’s sister met us at the nearby Ping’Anli Subway station and guided us to the hutong with her GPS. Without her we never would have found it, and the hutong entrance looked exactly like the kind of dark alley I would never (ever) have wandered down at night. After checking out the room she figured we were good for one night before changing our minds. We stayed five days, which shocked everyone, including us.

Hutong Beijing

The One Belt, One Road Summit fell in the middle of our 10 days in Beijing. Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the One Belt, One Road initiative (OBOR for short) is a development project (call it a trade agreement) seeking cooperation between Eurasian countries. In town for the big meeting was Russian President Vladimir Putin and another 30 or so world leaders (nope, not the USA). Whenever bigwigs are in town the Chinese government shuts down factories and limits car driving in order to cleanse the normally thickly polluted air. We had beautiful clear blue sky for the entirety of our visit, a rarity. A few days after the OBOR meetings were over, the air had already started to get hazy again. It didn’t help that we had high 90 degree F temperatures for every day except two – and those two surpassed 100 degrees F.

After five days we decided that we had experienced enough of hutong life and got a room in a western hotel not far from the Beijing Book Building, a huge structure that makes the local Barnes and Noble stores look tiny. Down the road was Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, which was closed while the OBOR spouses toured. But that is a story for another time.

For those who want to experience a hutong without actually having to live in one, there are plenty of tours for foreigners offered by people roaming the usual tourist traps. One of the wider ones near the Bell and Drum Towers is called Nanluoguxiang and has been turned into a shopping street, but don’t mistake it for a real hutong. Wander off one of the side alleys to get a better flavor. Plan your walk to end up at Houhai, a beautiful lakefront road lined with plentiful bars and restaurants, all with live music.

Much more on Beijing and other travels on this page, so feel free to click around.

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David J. Kent is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, scheduled for release July 31, 2017. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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Drum Tower of Beijing – Ancient Time Keeper

I recently visited the famous Drum Tower (鼓楼, Gulou) in Beijing, China. I was surprised to learn that it was also a clock, or at least a timekeeper. The tower, which faces its Bell Tower counterpart, was originally built when Kublai Khan was Emperor of China during the Yuan Dynasty (13th century). Originally used as a musical center, it later became a way for the reigning government to announce the time. The two towers maintained this official role up until 1924, when western style clockwork was adopted to keep time.

Beijing Drum Tower

Climbing the long, steep stairway to the top gets you into the main room, one side of which holds a line of humongous drums. The one remaining original drum (of 25) sits to one side, its calfskin head slashed during the Eight Power Allied Forces’ invasion in 1900. We’re here to see the demonstration of the drums. While we wait we take in the panoramic view of Beijing from the outside walkway high above the streets.

Beijing Drum Tower

We also check out the displays of ancient timekeeping equipment. With our modern astronomically-linked smart phones and digital watches, it is interesting to see that much of time was monitored through the burning of incense and candles. Others used water or metal balls.

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In one timepiece called a Bronze Kelou, time is measured by the flow of water through four copper clepsydras. A mechanical device would trigger the attached God of Cymbals to strike his cymbals together eight times for each quarter hour. Another timepiece called a Beilou contained several metal balls that would roll along copper pipe in a 2 meter tall cabinet. A ball would clang a cymbal every 24 seconds, thus it would take 14.4 minutes (an ancient quarter) for 36 metal balls to complete a cycle. It would take 24 hours for 3,600 metal balls to complete rolling, which gave relatively accurate time measurement.

It’s time. Four drummers march in and line up in front of the huge drums. They pound with such brute force it’s hard to imagine the drum heads lasting for very long. After only a few minutes you start to realize the power and strength of the drummers. Check out the video below.

After the demonstration we slowly descend the stairs, which somehow seem steeper going down than going up. This won’t be the last stairs – the even taller Bell Tower is next!

Meanwhile, check out my Goodreads author page. While you’re at it, “Like” my Facebook author page for more updates!

David J. Kent is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, scheduled for release in summer 2017. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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Beijing Aquarium – Home of the Rare Chinese Sturgeon

After visiting Tian’anmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Mao’s Mausoleum in Beijing, head on over to the Beijing Aquarium. Located within the Beijing Zoo, the aquarium is the largest inland aquarium in the world. One of its specialties is the Rare Chinese Sturgeon Hall.

Beijing Aquarium

The building itself is shaped like a huge conch shell. It relies on over 18,000 tons of artificial seawater to highlight seven main sections: Rainforests, Coral Reefs, Sharks, Whales, a Touch Pool, a Marine Theater, and the aforementioned Sturgeon Hall. Over 1000 marine and freshwater species are bred on site.

Beijing Aquarium sturgeon

Of the 41 aquariums around the world I’ve visited, this one is unique in that it has a large area devoted to sturgeon. These ancient fish in the family Acipenseridae are an oddity of nature. Their skeletons are almost entirely cartilaginous, like sharks, despite being classified as bony fishes since their ancestors actually had bony skeletons. Sturgeons also are at least partially covered with bony plates called scutes instead of scales. Like catfish, they have four barbels, sensory organs near their wide, toothless mouths, that they drag along the bottom substrate as an aid in navigation and food gathering. They are an odd fish indeed.

Most aquariums toss one or a few sturgeon into the big tanks with sharks and other common fish. In Beijing there are dozens of representatives of the 27 known species of the world. The highlight is the Chinese sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis), a critically endangered species considered, like the giant panda, a national treasure in China. Sadly, like many species of sturgeon, the Chinese sturgeon is nearly extinct in the wild due to overfishing and habitat loss.

The aquarium doesn’t stop there. There are also large tanks with beautiful white beluga whales…

Beijing Aquarium beluga

…many species of moray eels…

Beijing Aquarium moray eels

…and quite a few sea turtles.

Beijing Aquarium sea turtles

Given my previous work with jellyfish I’m always drawn to that section of aquariums and the Beijing Aquarium has one of the best displays I’ve seen. Quite a few tanks exhibit different species, with a variety of light effects to highlight their beauty.

Beijing Aquarium jellyfish

Overall I was greatly surprised – and impressed – by the size and quality of the aquarium. During my visit it seemed clear that the zoo and aquarium cater more to local Chinese rather than tourists, most of whom never get beyond the major tourist attractions mentioned in the first sentence above. This focus is emphasized by the signage, most of which is only in Chinese.

Beijing Aquarium sturgeon

So if you’re in Beijing, take a side trip to the Beijing Aquarium. It’s about 3 miles or so northwest of Tian’anmen Square in the Beijing Zoo, reachable by taxi, bus, or even easier, via subway line 4. You won’t be disappointed. More information here.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for thirty-five years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (now in its 5th printing) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His book on Thomas Edison is due in Barnes and Noble stores in July 2016.

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Book Review – The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom

Man Who Loved ChinaRenowned author Simon Winchester has written a wonderful book about a scientist most people have not heard about, but should have. Joseph Needham was a biochemist, nudist, socialist-leaning British scientist at prestigious Cambridge University. He was devoted both to his wife and his mistress, the latter of whom was a visiting Chinese scientist who introduced him to the culture he would obsessively love and study the rest of his life.

That obsession led to a series of epic volumes (now 7 “volumes” in 24 books, and counting) called “Science and Civilisation in China.” In it he documents in great detail how most of the inventions and scientific we have come to know as western were actually originally invented and envisioned in China (step aside Gutenberg, the printed book predated you by several centuries).

Winchester touches on some of those inventions, but mostly the book traces the man, his journeys in China during the Japanese occupation and second world war, his socialistic leanings (including meeting Chou Enlai and Mao Zedong), and the trials of creating his masterpiece, which was only partially finished at his death at 95 years old. At one point, soon after Mao has taken over China and the western world (including his campus) are in the midst of the “red scare,” Needham finds himself duped by his former friends in China, which nearly crashes his career and book project. Winchester examines that blunder and Needham’s slow climb back to acceptability, then the great success of creating one of the greatest treatises on the history of science.

An eye-opening book in many ways, exceptionally well-written by one of today’s most successful non-fiction writers. Of interest to scientists, to those who are interested in China, and anyone who wants to learn more about both.

More on “Science and Civilisation in China” can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_Civilisation_in_China.

More book reviews on Goodreads.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for thirty-five years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (now in its 5th printing) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His book on Thomas Edison is due in Barnes and Noble stores in spring 2016.

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Slogging Through the Smog in Beijing

It’s no secret that Beijing has an air pollution problem. The city’s PM2.5 (a measure of particulates in the air) routinely exceed unsafe levels; and I don’t mean exceed by just a tad, exceed by 800% or more. About 4000 people per day die in China from air pollution. I saw – literally – this pollution on my most recent visit to Beijing.

The view from the apartment where I was staying, in the southern part of the city far from the touristy areas, gave me a good indication of what I was to experience.

Beijing smog

That isn’t fog; it’s smog, which smog permeated the air no matter where I went. Mid-afternoon on a “sunny” day, the huge portrait of Mao Zedong on the front wall of the Forbidden City was barely visible from Tian’anmen Square.

Beijing smog

I didn’t just happen to pick a bad day; this is routine. So routine that the government installed huge television screens, ostensibly as tourist marketing advertisements, but often filled with beautiful vistas of Chinese landscapes. They even show photos of the Forbidden City on those days where the entire facade is hidden.

Beijing smog

As I write this Beijing is preparing for its September 3rd remembrance of the end of World War II for China 70 years before. As with many big international events held in Beijing, including the 2008 Olympics and the 2014 APEC Summit, the Chinese government has ordered stopgap measures to make Beijing more palatable to foreign dignitaries. This means closing down much of the capital, shutting down factories, and banning odd/even tagged cars on alternate days. These result in temporary cleansing of the air – just long enough for the foreign press to get nice pictures. Once the grand show is over, the air clogs up again and residents don their dust masks in a feeble attempt at normalcy.

Science Traveler will cover more of the science of China in future posts. One area of interest is the impact of a growing middle class, and the consumption that goes with it, on energy demand. China has a coal and oil problem even worse than the United States, but it also has been building solar and wind capacity. Clearly they have to do something, not just for climate change considerations, but for the health of their own citizens.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, is scheduled for release in summer 2017.

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The People’s Republic of Chinese Chemicals and The Puppet Suit

No, this isn’t the name of some bizarre new Chinese opera or dance troupe, it’s a mashup of two new posts on The Dake Page and Hot White Snow. The former has a book review of The People’s Republic of China Chemicals; the latter a response to a microfiction writing prompt. Excerpts are below with links to the full originals.

Peoples Republic of ChemicalsBook Review: The People’s Republic of China Chemicals by William J. Kelly and Chip Jacobs (The Dake Page)

An important book, poorly written. The People’s Republic of China Chemicals purports to reveal how the offshoring of American manufacturing to China helped China become the most polluted country on the planet. It does achieve that goal, though perhaps in spite of itself. While the title suggests a discussion on chemicals, the vast preponderance of the book is focused on the massive air pollution problems in China. This isn’t surprising given the authors’ previous collaboration, a book about the smoggy days of Los Angeles.

The early chapters provide some historical background on China’s dynastic rule and frequent invasions by the Japanese, the British, and others, as well as its own political infighting. Their overly rosy characterization of Mao’s various attempts to control everything once he and the communists took over is somewhat naïve – or at the very least, incomplete – but they generally capture the essence of how China came to set itself up as the world’s factory. The authors’ explanation of how entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and various bilateral and multilateral trade agreements spurred the rapid growth of industry and economy, while perhaps overly rancorous, is well done.

In short, the book documents through rapid-fire detail and personal anecdote the rise of Chinese manufacturing and with it the extraordinary increase in coal-based pollution. The authors relate how bad the air pollution has become, and the subterfuge of the Chinese government to deny its existence even as giant screens in Tiananmen Square broadcast barely visible images of splendid panoramic vistas through the gritty air.

[Continue reading on The Dake Page]

HalloweenThe Puppet Suit (Hot White Snow)

“Well, you clean up nice.”

Apparently she had never seen him in a suit before. But here he was, dressed up like some Wall Street tycoon in hopes of making an impression. Unfortunately, the interview hadn’t gone as well as the suit made him look. It was fine until the interviewer pulled out the puppets. Not what he expected for an investment firm, for sure. When the guy started using the puppets to explain how his firm and other “too-big-to-fail” firms had manipulated the global financial meltdown and still took multi-million dollar bonuses…

I walked out.

[See the original and the writing prompt this is response to on Hot White Snow]

Also watch for my new book on Thomas Edison. A companion to Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity, EDISON is due out in early 2016 from Sterling Publishing.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time. He is currently writing a book on Thomas Edison.

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The Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi’an – Part II

This is Part II of experiencing the terra cotta warriors of Xi’an. You can read Part I here. Part I highlights the discovery of the warriors and gives some amazing views of the extent of the site. Part II takes a closer look at how the figures have been restored. The largest of the three pits housing these magnificant funerary art forms is mind-boggling in expanse and impressive in the sheer numbers of figures.

Xi'an terra cotta warriors

Getting to this point wasn’t easy. When the corridors were unearthed, most of the figures had been smashed. The painstaking work of reconstruction begins by excavating the spaces and systematically collecting the broken terra cotta shards.

Xi'an terra cotta warriors

From there the pieces are brought to a laboratory area where workers combining the skills of artists, surgeons, and masons carefully rebuild each individual warrior. Supporting pieces, like legs and hands, are solid clay, while the upper bodies and heads are usually hollow for lightness.

Xi'an terra cotta warriors

Almost done, some only have to wait for heads.

Xi'an terra cotta warriors

At a first cursory glance of the reconstructed figures they look exquisitely plain. This is misleading. Originally, the figures were coated in wondrous color, which immediately began to fade to the gray you see now as a result of oxidation and mold when the pits were exposed to the moist air. If you look closely at some of the figures, such as this pair of horses, you can seen hints of what they may have looked like when they were created.

Xi'an terra cotta warriors

Even these don’t do them justice. These fallen (or perhaps resting) warriors show the full range of color that graced the terra cotta. Among the colors are purples composed of barium copper silicate, as well as pink, red, white, and lilac.

Xi'an terra cotta warriors

But still the figures are awe-inspiring. What they have lost in color they retain in sheer numbers and the knowledge of how much effort was involved in creating the thousands of figures. One can’t help but be equally impressed by the effort being made to restore the figures and the site.

Xi’an takes some planning to get to from Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong, but it’s well worth the effort. And if you haven’t already, check out Part I of the terra cotta warriors of Xi’an here.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book is on Abraham Lincoln, due out in 2017.

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Experiencing the Terra Cotta Warriors of Xi’an – Part I

If you’ve never been to Xi’an, you’re missing one of the world’s greatest wonders. This ancient megacity is one of the four great dynastic capitals of China. The two Chinese characters making up the name of Xi’an mean “Western Peace;” ironic given that it is the location of the Terra Cotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Terra cotta warriors Xi'an

Discovered only in 1974 by local farmers digging a well, the terra cotta warriors of Xi’an have become one of the most awe-inspiring funerary art forms in the world today. Built around 210 BCE, the pottery figures were buried with the emperor to protect him in the afterlife. The scale of the burial site is impressive. As you first enter the enclosure covering Pit 1 – the largest of four that have been uncovered – it’s like walking into a football stadium.

Terra cotta warriors Xi'an

To date approximately 2,000 warriors and horses, along with about 20 wooden chariots, have been unearthed in a space of about 4,000 square meters. This is only a small proportion of the total area still to be uncovered, which is anticipated to include more than 6,000 warriors and horses and 50 chariots in an area of over 14,000 square meters. Even more impressive is that the figures aren’t simply copies of each other; there are warriors representing middle and high ranking officers, cavalrymen (with their steeds), archers, infantrymen, and war chariots, all ready to march into battle to protect their emperor. Two other pits contain what appear to be a military guard and a command center. A fourth pit is empty and presumably was a work in progress.

Terra cotta warriors Xi'an

You can’t help but stare in awe at the massive clay army lined up in 11 corridors making up the expanse of Pit 1. The more intimate views of Pits 2 and 3 are equally inspiring. But in a way, all these views are misleading. When the pits were first located the figures were largely broken into pieces, some large, some miniscule. Workers have spent myriad hours cataloging the shards and reconstructing the figures.

Terra cotta warriors Xi'an

I’ll explore the reconstruction in Part II of this series on the terra cotta warriors, including a revelation about what colors were discovered. Yes, I said colors. Tune in for more in Part II.

David J. Kent is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, scheduled for release in summer 2017. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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The Art and Science of Bonsai

Bonsai, the Japanese art of growing miniature trees in small containers, is also a science. The term bonsai aptly describes what it is – “bon” means tray or low-sided pot and “sai” means plantings. I gave some examples of bonsai (and a related Chinese form called penjing) in a previous post. Ironically, while bonsai is emblematically Japanese, the art was originally developed in China and only adopted later by the land of the rising sun. Here’s a quick reminder of one kind of bonsai tree:

Bonsai

The art of bonsai cultivation is passed down from generation to generation. And since managing a single tree may take many decades or even hundreds of years, the tree itself passes through many generations. The oldest one in the US National Arboretum remains vibrant today at 389 years old. So how does one cultivate a bonsai tree? That is where the science comes in.

Since these plantings come from regular trees, they must begin as cuttings or seedlings. Regular trimming, pruning, and manipulation is necessary to keep the trees small and create the desired shape. While the type of tree chosen influences the potential shape, there are different styles ranging from formal or informal upright, slant, or cascade, as well as more advanced styles such as root over rock, forest, raft, and windswept. Examples are shown in my previous post. To get these shapes there is quite a bit of physical manipulation.

Bonsai

Bands like the one above help pull together larger boughs, while heavy copper wire is used to direct future growth into twists and turns.

Bonsai

More wires and struts help in the shaping.

Bonsai

More advanced techniques include grafting of new plant material into existing trunks (to create side growth), defoliation, trimming, and the brutish-sounding trunk chopping. Considering the amount of manipulation needed to create these masterpieces, one has to reassure themselves that plants, unlike animals, don’t experience pain.

Bonsai

Ah, the tea bags. Many of the bonsai and penjing displays contain several tea bags. They are filled with natural fertilizer. Each time the tree is hand-watered the bags become soaked and leach out nutrients. Still, because the trays are so shallow and the trees are living organisms, regular repotting of the minimal soil must occur.

The incredible amount of attention needed to train and maintain bonsai trees requires patience, effort, and ingenuity from the grower. But to those of us who see and appreciate the art, these works deliver a sense of serenity that pervades the very essence of our souls.

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David J. Kent is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, scheduled for release July 31, 2017. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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Bonsai and Penjing – Little Bits of Japan and China Alive in Washington DC

Cherry blossoms gifted from Japan aren’t the only link to Asia in Washington DC. From the famed tidal basin head northeast and you’ll eventually reach a glorious spot nuzzled into an otherwise urban New York Avenue – the U.S. National Arboretum. Yes, there is a National Arboretum. And one of its greatest treasures is the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum.

National Bonsai and Penjing Musuem

An offshoot of the US Department of Agriculture (which, incidentally, was started by Abraham Lincoln in 1862), the Arboretum features living exhibits spanning the familiar dogwoods and azaleas to the practical herb gardens to the more exotic Asian collection. They even have 22 sandstone Corinthian columns that once stood at the east portico of the U.S. Capitol. But by far the most captivating are the bonsai trees and penjing art.

Japanese White Pine

Bonsai is the Japanese art of sculpture using living trees. Each tree is painstakingly managed over many decades and even centuries to limit its size and sculpt its shape. The oldest tree in the museum is the Japanese White Pine in the photo above. It has been in training since 1625, which means that many generations have dedicated thousands of hours to this one tree. How do they sculpt the tree? I’ll talk more about the science of bonsai in a future post. Suffice to say it takes a lot of patience.

Many of the trees in the collection are White, Black, or Japanese Pine, or Junipers. These evergreen conifers lend themselves to being handled and managed. Some of the most beautiful are this California Juniper:

California Juniper

And this Chinese Juniper:

Chinese Juniper

But non-evergreens can also created, like this Japanese Maple:

Japanese Maple

Even trees that we know for their extraordinary size can be kept small by a dedicated bonsai artist. Take, for example, this Coastal Redwood tree:

Coastal Redwood

All of the above would be considered Japanese bonsai. The museum also has a several examples of the Chinese art of penjing. Like bonsai, penjing uses carefully managed miniature trees. But penjing places these trees in the context of a miniature landscape.

Lijiang River in Spring

 

Roots may be “draped dramatically” over rocks. Rocks may also become the focal point of the work, with the trees acting as highlights. In some cases miniature ceramic figures are included to create a “natural” scene on a tiny scale. The effect can indeed be dramatic.

Penjing with Chinese Elm and figures

 

I’ll end this post here but plan to come back for more insights into the fine art of bonsai and penjing. Getting these small trees into the preferred shape (including dragons!) takes some significant, some might even argue tortuous, mechanical manipulation. The public rarely sees the science behind the art. I’ll show it to you.

Meanwhile, check out my Goodreads author page. While you’re at it, “Like” my Facebook author page for more updates!

David J. Kent is the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, scheduled for release in summer 2017. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.

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[Daily Post]