Jasper Stones

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Jasper Stones

Post  Norma on Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:29 pm

Over the years I've collected many books on the composition of rocks with the intention of learning all about the stones I collect. Recently I checked my books for jasper , a sedimentary rock that makes interesting viewing stones. Their color is variable : white, gray, red, brown and black with many tones both light and dark.

I had a nice surprise upon reading about where jasper can be found in the USA. Simon & Schuster's Guide to ROCKS AND MINERALS says : "....jasper is found in the Lake Superior and Mesabi Range.....it is also found in the Jurassic of California....the variety novaculite, from Arkansas........the variety containing volcanic material (porcellanite) is found in....Michigan.

One of my first stones is brown/ black jasper with distinctive breaks which have been polished by the river for centuries.....the other I lugged home because of the complex mix of jasper. I considered cutting the stone for display but now I'm glad I didn't even though it was difficult to find a suiban deep enough. In an email communication with Californian Jim Geaves, we talked about the deeper suiban in his book and that they were actually ikebana planters from the 60's . The ikebana planter I use for my jasper mountain stone is NOT traditional but I have grown to be fond of it.

Norma


Stone #1



Mt Stone (7"x 5"x2 1/2") above the sand...






Mt. Stone closeup.....



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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  JimLewis on Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:02 pm

Both are lovely, Norma, but I especially like the stone and display in #2.

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Chris Cochrane on Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:58 am

Hi Norma... Your stones look great. I particularly like your treatment of the twin-peak mountain with foothills in a deep tray.

The first jasper I saw mounted as suiseki were in collections of Jim Hayes & Sean Smith-- probably collected in Pennsylvania. They will be exhibiting stones together at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum (open 10-4 daily) on Feb 28 – Mar 29, Special Exhibits Wing. The exhibit is described on the website calendar for the Museum as:
Suiseki from the Keystone State
Suiseki are viewing stones in the tradition of scenic landscape stones from Japan. This exhibit will feature stones from the rivers and hills of Pennsylvania, collected by long-time suiseki enthusiasts Jim Hayes and Sean Smith.

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Stone #1

Post  gman on Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:17 pm

Hi Norma,
I really like the first stone.....within the stone there is a distince human form......I see a human face and neck tilted upwards to the right with perhaps some sort of headware?!
Cheers Gman

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Norma on Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:15 pm

Jim and Chris,
I'm pleased you like the mountain stone....it's languished in my flowerbed for years until I saw Greaves' brocade pattern stone of jasper (page 72) American Viewing Stones.. and realized my stone was similar. He talks about how "the surface has been naturally polished to an absolutely smooth finish, yet every color has worn slightly differently so the entire surface has a "woven" texture."

Chris,
Will you be going to Sean and Jim's exhibit? I hope someone will share pictures of these stones from the Keystone State.....!! It has to be a wonderful show of traditional stone display....wish I could be there Sad

Gman,
Chris has said, "it's better not to tell people what you see in your stone" and he's right! Thanks for showing me a new view of this stone Very Happy I've always seen a tree....!
I noticed you are from Campbell River, BC... do you know our friend Anton Nyhus? I have several stones he collected and Chris had the pleasure of stone hunting with him.

Norma

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Chris Cochrane on Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:23 pm

Hi Norma. .. Good catch in recognizing Anton Nijhuis's Campbell River location. I imagine he still owns mineral rights for several karst fields in the wilderness beyond Campbell River. It is a productive area for collecting flower-patterned stones, too..

I expect to be Washington on Wednesday, March 11, and will try to take photos, then.

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Mark on Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:58 pm

Norma,
I like both of these stones and your presentation for both. Both are presented with thought and care and I especially like your choice of the Ikebana tray. All though not traditional, it is both unique, tasteful and is a great example of respecting the Art form while being creative in that expression. You may have guessed that I am not a huge fan of cutting stones,that you preserved the integrity of this stone is wonderful!
I always enjoy your collecting tales,the details you share about your Stones and their connections.
The respect you show all your Stones,the Art of Suiseki and friends is to be admired.
Thanks for sharing!

Mark

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Norma on Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:35 pm

Mark, I appreciate your kind remarks and acknowledge the need to understand traditional display. I'd love to see some of your stone collection and hope you will continue to critique my stones.

This piece of Minnesota jasper has been a struggle to display effectively..... I see it as a shoreline tunnel stone. Putting it in a suiban has not been successful so I tried a slab which I hoped would represent water and am still not sure ..... Neutral I'd welcome suggestions......anyone!?

Norma




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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Chris Cochrane on Sun Mar 01, 2009 7:15 pm

Hi Norma... Can you share why the suiban placement of the tunnel stone does not seem successful? Did you try sand or pebbles under the left & right side of the tunnel (two shallow islands of different area) leaving much of the bottom of a shallow suiban exposed?

Is balance a problem? Balance does appear precarious on the wood slab.

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Norma on Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:39 pm

Hi Chris,
What you're proposing is an area free of sand on the suiban such as in Willi Benz' BONSAI KUSAMONO SUISEKI on page 40? As I look at my stone there is a side that would be more stable but you lose some of the beauty of the stone.....I'll give it a try and see what I can do.

Another idea... could you have 2 daiza, one under each side of the tunnel ?

Norma

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Tony Speight on Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:03 pm



Norma

I like your ideas - I see the still dark water under and around the arch, complemented by moonlight on wet rock around the edge of the base and all enhancing your wonderful piece of Jasper.

Chris was concerned about the unsupported arch. This picture shows a methodology that might offer a solution - supports for either end of the arch that both enhances the space whilst allowing the whole construction to be formed out of a single piece of wood.

Regards

Tony

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Norma on Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:09 am

I was experimenting with this stone and Chris was right about it looking unstable.....it was mistakenly photographed tipped forward....there is a better placement for the stone.

Thanks for the suggestion, Tony , your daiza would be the perfect solution for my stone. I like the look of the steps to the top of the dai and it showcases your stone beautifully. I'm glad you recognized my purpose for using a glossy slab. The real art to suiseki/viewing stones is in the display.

Norma

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Will Heath on Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:18 am

Norma,

I like your mountain stone quite a bit, however it seems to lose much of its strength because the suiban overpowers the image. The closeup photo, in which the suiban can not be seen, shows the true power of the stone. There doesn't seem to be a solution, or at least none that I can think of.

The good news is that, according to the bouncing banner on top of this page, I am the 999,999 visitor once again to this site and I just won a prize! Rolling Eyes


Will

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  bonsaikc on Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:32 pm

Norma,
I have been very impressed by the suiseki art of Mas Nakajima. I am sure you have seen Janet Roth's blog:

Suiseki Art

Following a link to Mas' gallery shows a number of wonderful jasper stones and the settings he has devised:

Mas Nakajima Suiseki Art Gallery

Great posts!

Chris

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Norma on Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:24 pm

Will....Some either love it or hate it ....... it's been about 50/50 about the gold pot for the jasper mountain. I do think it's a bit "jarring" to some and I will be trying something new soon. Sara Rayner has emailed photos of some suiban she has that might be deep enough and I'll be visiting her studio in early April.

Chris..... Yes,I have visited these web sites and they are wonderfully inspiring .... Mas is a leader in the "New" of display. Thanks....it was interesting to see the California jasper !

Norma

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Will Heath on Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:37 pm

Norma wrote:Will....Some either love it or hate it ....... it's been about 50/50 about the gold pot for the jasper mountain. I do think it's a bit "jarring" to some and I will be trying something new soon. Sara Rayner has emailed photos of some suiban she has that might be deep enough and I'll be visiting her studio in early April.

I like the stone, please keep me posted if you change the suiban, as I would be greatly interested in seeing the resulting image.

Oh, tell Sara I said hello Smile


Will

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Chris Cochrane on Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:36 pm

Hi Norma... Mark captures my feeling; I looked twice to see if his post wasn't my post. Such feeling toward stones is really the essence of suiseki to my mind though focus on technique challenges what is acceptable. I'd like to think viewing stone enthusiasm allows us to reach height in expression that attention to technique can help or hinder. Mounting & arranging require balance of intention & technique without right or wrong decisions though some taste is more engaging than others for a particular audience or single guest's appreciation-- or for your own.

Some suiseki enthusiasts note the art of suiseki is not the stone itself but the art of presenting it. It may be the art of viewing it-- realizing the experience of viewing an object before anything can be said "about" the object or its presentation. The experience of viewing creates an impression separate from mitigating intellectual context or what can be said about the object. The context can be rich, too, in furthering appreciation, but it will be different from just that experience of viewing.

Some ordered practice (ritual) exist to encourage appreciating the view separate from context. Forms of appreciation are interrelated but, perhaps, only one exists to be felt quietly from the image. Other appreciation exists from your vast experience and knowledge to be savored through myriad resonant alternatives for delectation.

Regarding a tunnel stone (I think), you write,
What you're proposing is an area free of sand on the suiban such as in Willi Benz' BONSAI KUSAMONO SUISEKI on page 40? As I look at my stone there is a side that would be more stable but you lose some of the beauty of the stone.....I'll give it a try and see what I can do.
Another idea... could you have 2 daiza, one under each side of the tunnel ?
Willi's illustration of a "Bridge Stone" is not what I would recommend for viewing stone or suiseki appreciation though it is fine. If Willi presented his illustration to appreciate I would accept it as suiseki display. Still, I would be distracted by the undulating bank or shore line into which a stream flows. Its feel is close to land-&-water penjing appreciation (emphasizing the water's margin on a shoreline). close to bonseki "sand painting" for appreciation. It is creative, beautifil and engaging... but different from the astrigency of most suiseki presentation. It engages by using more construction (close to bonseki "sand painting") with arguably strained verisimilitude to an actual scene.

For this tunnel stone which can stand on a board, I recommended the option (instead of the ubiquitous tray-nearly-full-of-sand) of two small islands of sand (or coarse pebbles) only modestly extending beyond the ends of the stone where they touch the daiza. Preferably, their size would not be identical by the area naturally touching each end-- you could assure the appearance of difference. The sand should be almost negligible for simplest focus on the stone. The stone could be put in the suiban without any sand, but Nippon Suiseki Association/Matsuura encourages the distinction of adding only a little when allowing the tray’s bottom to be appreciated. It works for me as a modest touch of naturalness.

RE’ daiza, I previously recommended to Marie in Roanoke that she obtain the two “Important Suiseki” texts (burgundy & blue slipcased books from NSA) widely available to see MANY great examples of tunnel stones. Tunnel stones are landscape-view (including seascapes, of course) scenes. Some of the daiza are extraordinary, I copied several for Marie & munged a couple of photos for posting on IBC. I'm uncomfortable posting copyrighted photos, but would be glad to send you any I can find, privately, Norma. The best daiza for me are constructed like two separate daiza joined by a gradually thinning (from each end) & straight wood bridge gradually reduced in width (& often in wall height) under the bridging stone arch. It is perhaps a bit more elegant when an inner wall grasps each buttress closely even under the arch while the revealed bridge has no wall at all. Still, I’m attracted to even more simplicity, closely grasping the stone at each end & gradually diminishing the wood bridging under the arch between the ends with as little modeling (e.g., wall contouring) as possible. For Chinese scholar rocks of similar configuration, I think the most common & appreciated shizuo “wood seat” reflects the arching above the imagined ground-level with arching downward of the shizuo—thus creating a rounded hole suggestive of “entry to a grotto heaven” or of the reflection of the arch in water at the stones base.

Yes, there are stones mounted with separated daiza on each end including mountings of important suiseki, but the choice is rare and arguably not as effective for viewing.

I am intrigued by the Elias/Nakaoji’s translations for domon on the Ei/Nagase charts in books published one year apart by the same author (“Ei” the art name for Nagase). If I recall correctly, Ei’s chart from 1967 refers to domon-kei “tunnel shape,” but Dr. Elias & Hirome Nakaoji clarify the domon definition among water-form stones in the 1968 book by Nagase as “archways in water.” Japan doesn’t have the “desert windowpane” landscape rocks as Jim Greaves displayed in the exhibit Beyond the Black Mountain. It unmistakably has natural bridges (I’ll attach a Meiji era photo if I can find it).

Arguably, the domon "tunnel" is expected to refer to undercut shore stones with naturally bridging connection -- not “bridge stones” (hashi-ishi) representing constructed objects. Natural bridges in mountains would be San-kei “Mountain-form” rather than Sui-kei “Water-form” suiseki.

Some might question whether the view of a bridge is an appropriate scene for a tray—it is arguably an object rather than a landscape-view in suiseki practice. Chinese and viewing stone practice can be more forgiving, but I prefer suiseki as the way of viewing for tray display. A domon defined as "archways in water" arguably pulls Willi’s bridge stone arching over a stream out of landscape-view & into an object view, which should not be displayed on a tray. The far more common definition for domon is tunnel stone. Lacking clarity of understanding, myself, I would suggest being open to others' impressions. Willi could be expressing a natural form (and with his wide travel likely knows of one or more) that is replicated in miniature. I have little complaint fow the view other than prefering more said with less that relies mostly on the stone.

It is not necessary to make these many distinctions to enjoy a stone. In fact, the technique can be more of a distraction than an asset to viewing. Some discipline in technique can mitigate distraction though it might only be appreciated by a small audience. There is more of importance to gather in looking with an open heart to a host's presentation & enjoying its atmosphere.

(My search for the "natural bridge" photo is taking too long, & I lost an earlier draft of this, yesterday. Excuse my sending, now.)


Last edited by Chris Cochrane on Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:06 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Clarification on re-reading)

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Norma on Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:20 pm

Hi Chris,

Your excellent discussion has touched on so many things .....I want to think about a response that clarifies my thoughts about stone presentation and now....viewing!

I'd would really like to see the photos of the daiza you described for (domon) tunnel stones....you have my email, I believe? Just to be clear...if I call my stone "tunnel" rather than "bridge"....it can be displayed with suiban OR daiza? The length of my tunnel stone is 4 1/2......what size suiban would you recommend?

Your final thoughts on viewing a stone, though filled with ambiguity , are perfect for those of us struggling with the issue of tradition in stone display. "Some discipline in technique can mitigate distraction though it might only be appreciated by a small audience. There is more of importance to gather in looking with an open heart to a host's presentation & enjoying its atmosphere."

Thanks, Chris !!

Norma

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Chris Cochrane on Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:29 pm

After trying a few (oval & rectangular) tray bases based on look rather than applying proportional size, I wanted to rotate the stone slightly. Imagining a beach mostly to the left & slightly behind with swells rolling into the prominent, somewhat-blunted headland buttress on the right works for me. Alternatively, it just looks majestic as sculpture representing whatever the mind sees. I imagine a landscape-view scene because of the tray but accept it could be whatever the host wishes outside suiseki discipline. The same host might reset it on the right side for a different occasion, but it shouldn't suggest grandma's shoe in a basin for suiseki appreciation.... :-)

There are number of predominately black well-known Japanese suiseki of similar form (though usually not as tall) shown in trays. I would have to research to share if any are named stones. I think they sit in a full bed of sand with less distinctive tunnels, if tunnels occur at all.

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Alan Walker on Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:40 pm

Interesting, Chris. The size of suiban you suggest is considerably smaller proportionally than what I was advised a few years ago when I showed one of my stones in a suiban before it had a proper daiza carved. Are the standards changing, or is it a matter of the type and physical configuration of the stone?

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Guest on Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:03 pm

Hi Allan:

You refer to "changing standards" in your inquiry to Chris. Well, I have two inquiries from you: Where can I find those more or less uniformly accepted standards? Second question: Are there any type of standards, well, save the Ten Commandments," that don't change over time?

I have posted a message on a thread on this forum that was eventually split trying to express my sincere belief that standards in viewing stones are an artificial, subjective construct. Consistency of jello.
They can have multiple meanings and interpretations. Something as "concerete" as language shows that when we look for a word in a good dictionary we will see multiple meanings depending on context. And if we look at dictionaries that translate one language into another the problem will be magnified by cultural difference and experiences. Well, sorry but I am multilingual and do use dictionaries often.
Since I made this point now twice, I am promising our friendly moderator Chris and the rest of the enthusiastic members of the "Viewing Stones/Suiseki" gallery that I hereby bow out and will be a passive reader of this forum from now on.

Cheers.

Peter Aradi

PS. Allan, we hope that Kathy and you are well and soon can return to visit us in San Antonio.

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Will Heath on Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:53 pm

Peter,

The points raused by you are interesting and perhaps need to be addressed on their own. Maybe starting a thread that focuses on the topic alone would allow for some discussion on it? I, for one, would be interested.


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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Alan Walker on Sat Mar 07, 2009 10:20 pm

Will Heath wrote:Peter,
The points raused by you are interesting and perhaps need to be addressed on their own. Maybe starting a thread that focuses on the topic alone would allow for some discussion on it? I, for one, would be interested.
Will
Will: Peter did, in fact, start a thread focusing on the topic of suiseki values and "standards". You can find it at http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/suiseki-f2/suiseki-values-tradition-t238.htm

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Chris Cochrane on Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:40 pm

Hi Alan... Rather than begin talking about technique & the traditions which seem to pique Peter, would you share a suiseki you own, like or have received advice about. Rest assured we each can point to dozens of arrangements (perhaps tens of dozens if carefully paired) which don't follow an exacting or even general technique. A host can change the arrangement of a stone & even reverse its directional pull (visual thrust & speed) for another viewing. Just share what you like & why talking about the impression you receive in viewing it. I'm sure to like it, too, if open to your feeling.

Better yet, or in addition, I'll post Norma's stone without a board underneath in its original orientation on this thread. You or another respondent can easily copy it. Depending on your photo editor, you can rotate it. I did this & then dropped the image into the Windows "Paint" program (in the Accessories menu). Choosing an oval or rectangle which is open inside (transparent), your resulting image could be more expressive than mine. Being able to talk about what we see isn't important for deep appreciation, but the expressiveness will be evident.

I think there is a balance for arranging stones in suiban which uses space conservatively-without-squeezing to say more with less. Some stones are best tightly held in deep suiban, some best arranged with considerable open space in shallow suiban.


Hi Peter... There obviously are many traditions and threads leading to officially sanctioned traditions. Japan's Ministry of Cultural Affairs supports official Japanese tradition in sponsoring Nippon Suiseki Association & its exhibitions. Tradition is not static-- my impression is far less static than yours. "Modern suiseki" began in seeing things with a fresh eye not overly-conditioned by the immediate past tradition & seeking to refresh appreciation. It was this tradition invigorated by Japaese literati, their clients and friends in gadan painters' circles (quite unlike Chinese literati painters circles) that brought literati flavor to bonsai & suiseki that we practice today. In sencha banqueting halls, steeped tea was served ritually or informally; at shogakai ('sho' brushed calligraphy + "ga" painting + "kai" gatherings), the public was invited to watch literati and others brush works which were immediately for sale. Both appear accompanied by sencha-seki reception areas and alcove display including bonsai & suiseki).

Mark closed-out the earlier discussion with direct challenge to the accusation that no tradition exist. Mark hit the nail on-its-head for me. I would have wasted more words saying less. Answers some have pursued including technique of exacting measurement, while available, are obscuring.

Is there an absolutely dead-to-feeling enthusiast who glumly pursues perfection of technique setting aside feeling, taste and aesthetic variables? It is probably more notion than fact. I've pursue those questions, but increasingly perceive it is not so important.

Mr. Matsuura is credited with little context explaining simple "rules of proportion of the suiban & the stone"...
For a one-foot-wide suiban, about an 8-inch suiseki may be appropriate for display. A larger stone may not fit in the one-foot suiban. (Proceedings of the International Scholarly Symposium on Bosai and Viewing Stones- May 2002, p.201)


Last edited by Chris Cochrane on Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:35 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Jasper Stones

Post  Chris Cochrane on Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:11 pm

Rolling Eyes

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Re: Jasper Stones

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