Reframe Japan, Wabi-Sabi

Toki-ishi features

Attractive features of Toki-ishi

Explaining attractive features of Toki-ishi is not so simple, since an inimitable style for viewing is there.

First, Toki-ishi should not be cut or polished to see and enjoy a natural characteristic. Of course, if polished since Toki-ishi is jasper and very solid and dense, it will be a bright shine and sometimes becomes glassy or takes on a glass-like appearance. However, to see natural surface and feel Wabi-Sabi, Toki-ishi is not polished. So, it is funny but just bright color, simple, or homogeneous jasper which is just beautiful is not so favored by Toki-ishi collectors.

By the way, Toki-ishi collectors in Gifu and Aichi prefectures located in the center of Japan, sometimes hold an exhibition and enjoy a gathering for exchanging information. It is not big society at all but facing the problem as decreasing in numbers of members and the aging of society.

In Japan, Aomori prefecture which is the northernmost prefecture on Honshu and faces Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait has an abundant supply of jasper actually, however, Aomori’s jaspers which are called as Nishiki-ishi, are polished in most cases. Only Toki-ishi is not polished. It is because some decision was made by Toki-ishi society in Aichi and Gifu. From my opinion, by the reason of not abundant situation in Toki-ishi, Toki-ishi society seemed to made decision as not polished to set up apart from Nishiki-ishi.

The decision consolidated the current position of Toki-ishi, which is related to Wabi-Sabi.

Second, some characteristics of Toki-ishi are preferred. The characteristics all are related to the evidence of wood. Since Toki-ishi is woody jasper in a narrow sense, the evidences of wood is preferred. They are considered as evidences and also, weathered characteristics are considered as Wabi-Sabi.

The characteristics are as follows:

Kusare (腐れ): rotten portion

Mushikui(虫食い): small rotten portion which may be considered by insect

Gnarled

Bark

Annual ring

Hoke (ホケ)Weathered

Just beauty jasper is not preferred, but some deterioration is preferred. It is quite interesting.

The following photo is Toki-ishi which has Mushikui(虫食い), small rotten portion which may be considered by insect.

Quote from 緋山酔恭の山水石美術館

Mushikui, Toki-ishi