Reframe Japan, Wabi-Sabi

Suiseki History

Suiseki History

The history of Suiseki is not so clear, especially for the beginning. Ko-Shinto (古神道) which is the original animism of Jomon period Japan and alleged basis of modern Shinto believe in rocks as Iwakura which is a dwelling place of a god, usually in reference to a large rock. Even now, most of the shrines of the Shrine Shinto were originally constructed at the site of Iwakura. So, it had been inherited from ancient times,

From the other perspective, As a toro (灯籠 or 灯篭 light basket, or light tower) which is a traditional lantern made of stone, wood, garden rocks, burrowed landscapes, and karesansui (dry garden style) are as Japanese style gardens, Japan has a culture of enjoying stones in usual life. It is believed as a style influenced from Chinese scholar's rocks. So, it is quite difficult to say when is the origin, however, from prehistoric days, in Heian, Kamakura, or Muromachi, etc., the act of viewing stones as something special had been inherited. From the above, one thing I can say for sure is that Suiseki has a history.

As the most famous historical Suiseki, Emperor Go-Daigo's beloved stone, which came from China and was given the name "Yume no Ukihashi", is in the possession of the Tokugawa Art Museum now. Emperor Go-Daigo (後醍醐天皇) (November 26, 1288 - September 19, 1339) was the 96th emperor of Japan, according to the traditional order of succession. So, the stone was treated as special about 700 years because before Tokugawa Art Museum, Yume no Ukihashi was later handed to Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣 秀吉, March 17, 1537 - September 18, 1598) and Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康, January 30, 1543 - June 1, 1616) who was the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan, which effectively ruled Japan from the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

Quote from Tokugawa Art Museum Yume no Ukihashi:

Yume no Ukihashi