BONSAI WORLD A series of articles by The Shikoku Shimbun focuses on the attractions of bonsai which encapsulate small universes in containers.

Pleasure of suiseki; Enjoy "subtle and profound world"

March 23, 2011

 Suiseki is inseparable from bonsai, but it is not really familiar in Shikoku where there are few rivers having good stones. Murashita Tadashi, President of Kagawa Kokufu Bonsai Society, is a grand master of Gado Yamamoto style and has the pseudonym of Murashita Isson. We interviewed him about the charm of suiseki.

Murashita talks about the charm of suiseki in Takamatsu City Konan Museum of History and Folklore.
Murashita talks about the charm of suiseki in Takamatsu City Konan Museum of History and Folklore.

Five biggest factors of beauty

 The feature of suiseki is to enjoy the natural stone without any processing basically. So it is important to find natural stones which is called "Tanseki", to take care of stones which is called "Yoseki", and to share information with other fanciers.

 There are five factors of appreciation: shape, matter, color, temperament, and ancient look. It is better to have a shape associated with natural landscape. The typical stones are "Toyama-ishi" which resembles a distant mountain, "Iwagataishi" which expresses a rock in the seaside and surf, "Tamari-ishi" which has a hole like a puddle, "Taki-ishi" which suggests the current of a waterfall, "Danseki" which looks like precipice, "Kuzuya-ishi" whose shape is like an old house in the country, and "Sugata-ishi" which looks like humans and animals.

"Taki-ishi" from Azusa River

Feel beautiful nature

 A Suiseki Exhibition is held in Takamatsu City Konan Museum of History and Folklore until January 10. In this exhibition, visitors can see 20 stones of Murashita such as Iwagata-ishi from Kamo River which is certified by Nippon Suiseki Association as important suiseki, Taki-ishi from Azusa River, and Kazuya-ishi from Seta River.

Kamogawa-ishi certified as important suiseki
Kamogawa-ishi certified as important suiseki

 Suiseki in Daiza (a carved wood base conforming to the shape of the stone) and Suiban (a shallow ceramic basin or tray filled with sand) are small but they remind us of the spectacular nature. It is interesting to appreciate them in comparison with titles as "Jonen no Taki", "Shinran", and "Hatsugama". It is uncommon to be held authentic exhibition in Kagawa like this, so we recommend visiting it.

 Murashita says, "You can enjoy 'subtle and profound world' with inexpensive stones in suiseki if you follow the rules and observe the manner of display. It is also good to put it in the corner of Bonsai and wild grasses and trees. I hope everyone enjoys suiseki without constraint."
(By Shigeo Hano)


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