Reframe Japan, Wabi-Sabi

Variations of Kamui Cotan Seki

As there is a eulogistic name as Kamui Cotan Seven Stones, there are several variations in Kamui Cotan Seki.

Actually, there are about ten kinds of Kamui Cotan Seki. If classifying Kamui Cotan Seki by color and texture, the following is one of categorization.

【Blue black series】
 Real true black(本真黒) ・ True black(真黒) ・ Dusky purple(茄子紺) ・ Blue black(蒼黒) ・ Graphite black(墨黒) 

【Green series】
 Shiny green(輝緑) ・ Green mud(緑泥)

【Red series】
 Red Cotan Seki(赤古潭)

【Yellow series】
 Gold Kamui Cotan Seki(黄金)

Real true black(本真黒)(with brown spot)

Real true black of Kamui Cotan Seki has brown spots. The black color in Kamui Cotan Seki becomes higher blackness if brown spots exist.

One reason may be an optical illusion because color contrast is made by brown spots. But from experiences, Kamui Cotan Seki with brown spots is higher blackness than ones without brown spots. Further, rock surface is more smooth and moist if brown spots exist.

The following photo is the brown spots in Real true black Kamui Cotan Seki:
brown spots in Real true black Kamui Cotan Seki

So, brown spots are preferred by collectors for Kamui Cotan Seki.

By the way, collectors of Kamui Cotan Seki enjoy to imagine something from brown spots. May be flying birds or something from the shape of brown spots.

Real true black Kamui Cotan Seki

Real true black Kamui Cotan Seki

By the way, I struggled before deciding to use the words, Real true black. The words such as coal-black, pitch-black, jet-black may be the one to mean higher blackness. Or, Vantablack is also the one.

But these words indicating actual materials seem to be not appropriate since the actual Kamui Cotan Seki(Real true black) is not the same. Actually, the meaning of "Real" and "True" is duplicated, it is the same in Japanese as "本" and "真".

So, I decided to use the words, "Real" and "True".

True black(真黒)

If I try to explain Kamui Cotan Seki, True black, in brief, it is black stones without brown spots. But it is not other type of Kamui Cotan Seki, such as Dusky purple(茄子紺), Blue black(蒼黒), nor Graphite black(墨黒).

It is considered that Real true black is more black, however, there is very black Kamui Cotan Seki without brown spots in rare cases. These true black stones are very popular.

By the way, True black is not specific to Kamui Cotan Seki but general term in Suiseki. So, every suitable stones for Suiseki with black color found in Japan are considered as True black.

Almost all True black stone found in Japan are hornfels.

It is a true story but very black stones are hardly found even if walking around river side all day long. Sometimes, black chert is found, but the surface of chert easily has white impact marks while rolling in river. But true black should be black and white marks are undesirable.

So, hornfels is preferred.

Quote from "緋山酔恭の山水石美術館"True black, The Farthest (本真黒, 銘:さいはて):

True black, The Farthest (本真黒, 銘:さいはて)

Blue black(蒼黒)

Bleu Black(蒼黒) is also not specific Kamui Cotan Seki, but general in Suiseki. In Japanese, 蒼黒 or 青黒 is used but both are the same in Engulish as Blue and Black.

Greenish black stones are considered as Blue black and inferior to True black(basically).

In that case, oil is applied on Blue black to be seen as more black.

One of the feature of Kamui Cotan Seki is smooth and moist surface but Blue black has no such feature in most cases.

Quote from緋山酔恭の山水石美術館Blue black(蒼黒石):

Blue black(蒼黒石)

Graphite black(墨黒)

Kamui Cotan Seki, Graphite black is not greenish as Blue black but more ashen and lighter than True black.

Not always the same but looks like more black stone.

Quote from 緋山酔恭の山水石美術館 Graphite black(墨黒):

Graphite black(墨黒)

Dusky purple(茄子紺)

Dusky purple is a name of color I translated from Japanese. In Japanese, it is “eggplant's blue black” if I translate literally.

As the condition of being literal, it is Kamui Cotan Seki having dusky purple color.

Further, a distinct striped patterns are also remarkable. So, Dusky purple is also very popular in Kamui Cotan Seki.

Not too hard, not too soft, and quiet tones in dusky purple are reasons for the attractiveness.

Quote from 緋山酔恭の山水石美術館 Dusky purple(茄子紺):

Dusky purple(茄子紺)

Dusky purple(茄子紺)

(To be continued.)