Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

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Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

Post  David Brunner on Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:50 pm

This posting is mostly as an appreciation for Chris Cochrane and his great contribution to stone appreciation, at least to mine.

I posted a picture of this stone on the older version of IBC. To me it represented at the time the image of a cave-riddled sea isle. I’ve had the stone for many years – it was encountered on one of my first botanical expeditions in Baja California, Mexico.

At that posting many viewers saw a skull image, which I found somewhat macabre; but Chris enlightened me to the long-tradition of skull imagery and in particular to the poems of and legends regarding Ono no Komachi, a Japanese poet from the Heinan and Kamakura periods. This has given me a new and deeper appreciation for the stone and the image it conveys.

In doing a little research about Ono no Komachi I came across the follwoing poem which is said to have been heard by a passer-by as if on the wind. On further investigation the poem was found to be coming from a whitened skull. The passer-by, feeling pity on the poetic soul, took the skull to a purified location and that night, in a dream, was visited by the poet “I am that person called Ono no Komachi from long ago. I am happy and indebted,” she said.

akikaze no
fuku tabi goto ni
aname aname
ono towa nanaji
susuki oikeri

the autumn wind
every time it blows
oh, how painful, how painful
it will not become Ono/a little field
in which pampas grass grows.

I now see this stone in a new and more profound light - thanks Chris.




To conclude my “thank you” to Chris Cochrane, here are two poems by Ono no Komachi:

The pine tree by the rock
must have its memories too:
after a thousand years,
see how its branches
lean toward the ground.


Seeing the moonlight
spilling down
through these trees,
my heart fills to the brim
with autumn.

David Brunner
Member


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Re: Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:03 pm

David,

I think your stone is wonderful!

Back when I was in Japan we had a big suiseki show at the Bonsai Park. Really incredible and educational. It's been almost 25 years and the one stone I vividly remember was a skull, not because it was creepy or macabre (well maybe a little), but because it ALWAYS had a crowd of people who seemed awed by it. Seems like it was a pretty famous stone, but I don't recall ever seeing a picture of it anywhere since.

I don't remember hearing anything about the history of the stone, or who owned it. I'll see if I can find a picture of it in my albums. It was brownish and sort of flat, about the size of a big softball and was turned slightly to its left - not a front or side mugshot. The eye sockets, nasal cavity and jaw line were very pronounced. The daiza was unlike anything I'd ever seen. It wasn't just carved to fit the stone but actually had an "arm" that moved way off to the stone's left to fix its gaze to a specific spot. Truly amazing.

I'm eager to hear what Chris has to say about the placement of your stone. From the direction of its gaze, or sea caves as you noted, I would have placed it on the opposite side of the suiban.

Thanks for sharing.

Russell

Russell Coker
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Re: Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

Post  Chris Cochrane on Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:55 pm

Hi David. Hi Russell. Among my habits is tripping over my shoelaces. I can't keep them tied. Acquaintances chuckle at knots lasting less than a city block. Whether from frustration or thoughtfulness, companions resort to instructing my tying, overseeing the process & occasionally doing it themselves. Who would tie the shoelaces for an old & woefully scatterbrained guy? You might wonder; there is no accounting for friends.

I have wonderful memories of falls and saves created by knots. Around 1960, my father depended on my knotting skill to hold a huge and heavy TV antenna above our house. I had proudly guaranteed my 'summer camp' knots functionally superior. "You must have 'studied' too hard!" Dad seethed as the antenna immediately toppled.

David's placement of the stone is distinctive for an open space flowing behind the skull. Embracing both landscape view (thus, suiban placement) & object view (the fleeting beauty of a Heian poetess & her later legend), there is a flow that seems so natural and achingly palpable. Aesthetically, it is better implied than seen. Perhaps you feel it, also, from a poem of Yosano Akiko in Midaregami (Tangled Hair, publ. 1901)...
That girl at twenty-/her black hair ripples/through the comb/in the pride of spring--/such beauty!
(sono ko hatachi kushini nagaruru kurokami no ogori no haru no utsukushiki kana)
source: Awakening Female Sexuality
There are other (& perhaps better) ways to unwrap this landscape & object view. The knot unfurls with the impression of flowing hair for me.

_________________
... visit the U.S. National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, Washington DC USA-- http://www.bonsai-nbf.com

Chris Cochrane
Member


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Re: Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

Post  Russell Coker on Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:25 am

Chris, have you been in the hard cider again?

Russell Coker
Member


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Re: Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

Post  David Brunner on Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:50 pm

Chris and Russell - I thank you both for your insights. Knotty and otherwise... (and by the way, why not share that cider!)

David B.

David Brunner
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Re: Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

Post  chansen on Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:48 am

Chris Cochrane wrote: David's placement of the stone is distinctive for an open space flowing behind the skull. Embracing both landscape view (thus, suiban placement) & object view (the fleeting beauty of a Heian poetess & her later legend), there is a flow that seems so natural and achingly palpable.

Chris -

I've been digesting your thoughts on the stone's placement, and had a thought or two.

I do like having the option of viewing the stone as either a landscape or object view, and I like how the placement allows for that. I don't know much about the common practices for skull object stones, but I feel that as object such as this is something that needs to be found, and not presented as directly as you would other objects. When considering the passing of a living being, it brings to me a more solemn feeling. When recalling the passing of a close family member, it was a personal time. One where there was much individual reflection and remembrance. I like the fact that a viewer entering the scene has to find the object, it is as if there is a personal journey involved for the viewer.

Best,

Christian

chansen
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Re: Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

Post  Chris Cochrane on Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:20 pm

Hi Christian... Your description is elegant & cuts to the chase of feeling an atmosphere or 'poetic space' attached to stone appreciation. I love your expression of scene & object.

_________________
... visit the U.S. National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, Washington DC USA-- http://www.bonsai-nbf.com

Chris Cochrane
Member


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Re: Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

Post  David Brunner on Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:59 am

Christian - thank you for the delightful description of your response to the stone and presentation. I would love to tell you that evoking such a response was purposeful and thoughtful; alas that would be false. My efforts here were inexpert and naive at best. I am delighted however that by happy accident this stone took you on a personal journey. But in the end it seems that serandipity was Ono no Komachi's companion; why should that not play out similarly here as well?

David B.

David Brunner
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Re: Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

Post  chansen on Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:55 am

David Brunner wrote:Christian - thank you for the delightful description of your response to the stone and presentation. I would love to tell you that evoking such a response was purposeful and thoughtful; alas that would be false. My efforts here were inexpert and naive at best. I am delighted however that by happy accident this stone took you on a personal journey. But in the end it seems that serandipity was Ono no Komachi's companion; why should that not play out similarly here as well?

David B.

David -

If you're presentation was inexpert and naive, at least you can know you're in good company! I'm still early in my stone appreciation journey and have much to learn. I find that one of the best learning tools I have available to me is this forum (not too many stone enthusiasts in Utah). I appreciate you sharing the stone, it was a good learning experience for me.

Best,

Christian

chansen
Member


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Re: Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

Post  chansen on Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:29 pm

Chris Cochrane wrote:Hi Christian... Your description is elegant & cuts to the chase of feeling an atmosphere or 'poetic space' attached to stone appreciation. I love your expression of scene & object.

Thanks Chris.

chansen
Member


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Re: Thanks Chris! Ono no Komachi stone

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