Chinese Bonsai, also known as Penjing, is an art of creating a miniature landscape by the use of careful pruning and artistic arrangement of Bonsai trees. The Chinese are the originators of the art and the earliest record of Chinese Bonsai dates back to 200 BC. Over time the Chinese art of Bonsai spread to other Asian countries such as Korea, Vietnam and Japan.
Chinese Bonsai differs from its Japanese counterpart in that it is wilder with brighter colours, while the Japanese tradition of Bonsai are of thick trunks and simple shapes with muted colours. Chinese Bonsai is also more likely to have various natural landscapes in miniature form in the design whereas the Japanese style is usually to have the Bonsai tree alone in a simple container or pot.
The goal in Chinese Bonsai is to re-create a natural scene of nature in miniature form. This goal is not only about the physical placement of artistic devices, but it is also about capturing the very soul and character of the scenery that the Bonsai represents. The Bonsai must reach a balance between beauty and practicality.
A bonsai is created beginning with a specimen of source material. This may be a cutting, seedling, or small tree of a species suitable for bonsai development. Penjing can be created from nearly any perennial wood-stemmed tree or shrub species that produces true branches and can be cultivated to remain small through pot confinement with crown and root pruning. Some species are popular as bonsai material because they have characteristics, such as small leaves or needles.