Reframe Japan, Wabi-Sabi


What is Suiseki(水石)

Suiseki is the Japanese pronunciation of the Sino-Japanese word "水石". The meaning of the "水石" is "Water Stone" if we make a literal translation of it. Suiseki is thought to be similar to Bonsai (dwarf trees) which is an art form that consists of planting a tree in a ceramic pot and then, through a process of cultivation that draws on and accents the plant's vital powers, producing a natural elegance of form pleasing to the eye. Because Suiseki is derived from "Bonseki" and the difference between "Bon-seki" and "Bon-sai" is stone(-seki) or tree(-sai). (Bon- is pot, tray or bowl of ceramic.)

For the origin of the name Suiseki, there are two opinions. One is because the degree of vividness of a color increases if pouring water on Suiseki. The other is from "山水景石" meaning "landscape stone represented by mountain and river(water)". The latter opinion is held stronger.

As stated in the latter opinion, Suiseki is an art form to find great nature in the stone. When looking at suiseki, in your mind you feel as if you have entered deep into a mountain. Or, Suiseki is not always mountain or river related but including object shapes that resemble animals or a lonely countryside cottage, since Suiseki has undergone development, evolution and diversification of variety.

From my point of view as stone lover, every stone on the earth surely has something special or attractive, however, there are zillions of stones on the earth. So, some kinds of unique characteristics which are usually accepted by many people as beautiful are specified. That’s are Suiseki.

Quote from "緋山酔恭の山水石美術館" KamuiKotan, Maguro:

Suiseki, Kamuikotan