Chinese Collection

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The Yee-sun Wu Chinese Garden Pavilion was completed in 1996 for the display of Chinese penjing. Named in honor of Dr. Yee-sun Wu of Hong Kong, the pavilion’s purpose is to preserve China’s seminal role in developing the art form called penjing by the Chinese and bonsai by the Japanese.
Photo: Joe Mullan

The Chinese Collection at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum resides in the Yee-sun Wu Chinese Garden Pavilion. This pavilion is named in honor of Dr. Yee-sun Wu (1905-1995) who was a Hong Kong collector of penjing.

Penjing, the antecedent art form of bonsai, can be dated back to the Tsin Dynasty in China (265-420 A.D.) There are many schools of penjing and Dr. Wu was a proponent of the Lingnan School and maintained a collection of over 300 trees.

In 1983, Janet Lanman, a NBF Board Member, approached Dr. Wu with the suggestion that penjing should be included in the Museum’s collection. Dr. Wu agreed and he graciously offered trees to the Museum and funding for a Pavilion to house them.

In 1988, U.S. National Arboretum Director, Dr. H. Marc Cathey accepted the gift and referred to the Museum for the first time as: “The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum.”

In 1996 the pavilion was dedicated and a sign over the entrance in Chinese calligraphy states: “Dr. Yee-sun Wu – A place where plants are trained and cultivated under the hand of a man of letters.”

There are now 36 trees in the Chinese collection and work is underway to add new trees in coming years.

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Chinese Pavilion Window
Photo: Joe Mullan

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Chinese Courtyard Garden of the Yee-sun Wu
Chinese Pavilion
Photo: Joe Mullan

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Moon Gate of the Chinese Pavilion
Photo: Joe Mullan