SUISEKI - Stone Appreciation

Suiseki - small, naturally formed stones selected for their shape, balance, simplicity and tranquility - were first admired in China some two thousandyears ago. Since the sixth century, the art of suiseki has been adapted and refined in Japan, where today stones of great beauty are set on stands to suggest objects closely assocuiated with nature, such as distant mountains, islands and caves.

Chinese scholar's rocks influenced the development of suisekiin Japan. The history ofsuisekiin Japan begins during the reign of Empress Suiko. The small objects were brought to Japan as gifts from the Chinese Imperial court. Suiseki are usually presented in two different ways:

- The stone is provided with a wooden base (Daiza).

- The stone is placed in a waterproof tray or bowl of ceramic (suiban) or bronze (Doban).

These stones are not just any stones which can be found in nature; they must be expressive stones and have a special shape, color and texture to be categorized as suiseki. There is a distinction between landscape and object stones. The former reflect landscapes such as mountains, lakes or rivers, while other stones have object shapes that resemble animals or sculptures.
The stones are of natural origin and are found in rivers, oceans and karst areas. They are not allowed to be reshaped. An exception is the cutting of stones to have a flat base so they can be placed in harmony on Daiza, suiban and Doban, to be represented in a proper way.