My musings on stone would not be complete without a mention of one of my favorite hobbies- Suiseki. A parallel to bonsai, Suiseki has deep roots in various Asian cultures and is the Japanese word for the art of stone appreciation. Suiseki stones are considered natural works of art and are created through millennium by the forces of nature. Generally, Suiseki stones are of a size that may be carried in one hand. The stones bear resemblance to or mimic in miniature some land-form or formation in nature such as a mountain and waterfall, plateau, a flower, or a craggy cliff.
Suiseki stones are collected on mountains, in streambeds, or in other rocky environments. A single stone is displayed, ideally in an unaltered state, often on a specially carved wood base called diaza. These bases are designed and created to perfectly conform to the stone and capture and complement its feeling and essence. These stones are considered objects of great beauty and are prized possessions of collectors around the globe. They idyllically inspire deep contemplation for the delicate grandeur and awesome power of natural creation.
I have always had a fascination for the beauty of stone, mineral, and rock formations and have been a collector for many years. It wasn’t until I discovered Suiseki that I grasped and understood the inner calling that stone can stir. Suiseki offers an option for displaying stone in home design as an art form and on a small scale.
The National Arboretum has an exquisite collection of Suiseki in the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum. This photo is from their virtual tour. Have a look:
I encourage you to visit and support the National Arboretum when in the Washington, DC area. It is truly a national treasure at risk.
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Thanks again for your thoughtful comments. I have loved stones and minerals before, not just diamonds- ha! After discovering suiseki I found I was not alone and understood my appreciation from a new awareness.
Leave it to the Asian cultures to appreciate with intention (ie, call it an art and give that art a name!) the simplest sources of enjoyment and of peace. The landscape is a continuum of beauty, but its individual components are singular beauties, as well. A rock, a simple thing, will command more attention from me, having had my consciousness raised to notice it! Thank you, Vicki.