what would you do with this stone?

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what would you do with this stone?

Post  NeilDellinger on Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:13 pm

Hello all, This is a nice stone I received as a gift from a friend. Let me know what you would do. All views are within the same little stone. If I did cut it, I'd lose a couple nice views. So, if you would cut then where? If not, how would you display? I'm pretty new to the whole suiseki thing. Thank you for looking!!














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Re: what would you do with this stone?

Post  irene_b on Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:03 pm

Pic 4 or 6...And don't cut the stone...
(all 6 photos)

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Re: what would you do with this stone?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:47 pm

You could make a number of different stands that fit the stone in each display mode, then you could change the stone to suit your mood.

Or, you could use a bed of small gravel or large sand and do the same.

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Re: what would you do with this stone?

Post  Chris Cochrane on Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:05 pm

Hi... Mine is a suggestion, Neil. Don't take it as gospel as few suggestions will be. When you get much below 4" in length, perhaps you don't have to worry about suiseki guidance. You can clearly perceive landscapes from the views shown, & the stone could be large enough to perceive as a credible suiseki. In reality, it is a bit too small for suiseki landscape views, which should be primary display objects, even when on a shohin stand. It is a good example for learning & sharing.

From which views do you find backsides as well as frontsides as credible landscape scenes-- the backside should not appear undercut but could (and perhaps 'should') approach vertical nearing its exposed base to appear to have a natural bottom. The stone's ridgeline should not run dead center across the top of the chosen mountain view when seen from directly above. Looking from left to right, the major peak should not be dead center (therefore, view #2 & #4 of 6 are a little too symmetrical). View #5 might need to be shortened in height to create a realistic scene (perhaps, suggesting an avalanche or waterfall). None of these landscape views can be obtained with a daiza or suiban of modest depth if uncut, so enjoying the stone will be separate from strict suiseki appreciation.

In facing views, #3 would be my preference; I might attempt more balance of the stone beginning to turn inward on both sides rather than still extending outward on the right (facing) side if more depth or angling would help. It would be best to make the stone's bottom appear naturally flat to approach a suiseki view. That parts of the ridgeline are horizontal (nice choice, Neal!) enhances the interest of view #3. View #6 would be my second choice though it is a little less interesting, partially because the straight parts of the ridge silhouette are all on the diagonal where a gentle cyma curve might be better appreciated.

Arguably, cutting the stone decreases its suiseki potential; a stone needs to be special to consider cutting. Mr. Matsuura of Nippon Suiseki Association has suggested cutting a stone with a complex footprint such as detailed coves to create a view unlikely to be found in a natural, flat bottom stone. I agree with Irene that these views do not appear to warrant cutting. You would expect their features in stones with naturally flat bottoms. An exception might be in a very well-mounted waterfall scene if the waterfall doesn't extend to the stone's backside; the two views with waterfall features are not my favorite views for reasons already noted.

I collect a small landscape view stone, too, when the view interests me or recalls a friend. In 15 years, I have mounted two. I crafted a wood daiza for one & put the other in pseudo-daiza constructed of dark brown wax for my own pleasure. I do not think of them as suiseki. The wax will bleed color into the stone, though sable-color (deep brownish black) looks not much different from black. I'm not destroying a valuable suiseki but easily craft a supporting base which might be deeper than suiseki appreciation requires.

Hope this helps. A stone gift from a friend has value apart from its suiseki value. The two of you should, perhaps, discuss its merit in choosing a view & display format.

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

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Re: what would you do with this stone?

Post  NeilDellinger on Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:24 am

Thanks for all of the input guys. I think its fun trying to determine what view is best.

Chris,
I am questioning the comment regarding size, specifically that smaller stones may not be good candidates for suiseki. Why is this? If I had not included my hand for scale, would the topic of size have been raised? Many of the stones I have seen in books fall into a size only slightly larger than the stone in these photos.


Please help me understand. Seriously, I have never heard this.

Thanks again guys!!
Neil

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Re: what would you do with this stone?

Post  Chris Cochrane on Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:51 pm

Hi Neil... Thanks for your sincere question & open mind. It isn't either written in stone nor practiced with precision to cut off a stone for its size throughout either the Japanese or larger suiseki world. Still, most would agree it must be larger than a gemstone in smallness. We could argue whether a gemstone is the size of an engagement ring stone, an egg or the palm of a hand. An extreme smallness is so seldom encountered as to possibly be reserved for stones collected in eras where smallness was an essential quality-- though, perhaps, not. Small stones occur over many eras of collecting.

A stone in a suiban might also be smaller than a stone in a daiza to have similar presence in a display. Empty space in a suiban expands the presence of a stone & in some circles, is the only way of display allowing a companion plant to accent the stone as a principle object for display.

The famed Suenomatsuyama "Eternal Pine Mountain" is 16.5 cm (~ 6 1/2") & very flat so has modest mass. It sits in a metal tray (saharibon) for display. Other famed stones for tea that I can identify are much longer & more massive. The impression that early suiseki used for display in tea ceremony (in Japan, early daimyo stones used for display with tea are called bonseki) were commonly held in the palm of one hand (or even in one hand) appears false.

The famed thatched hut stone owned by Rai Sanyo titled Setsuoku at 8.5 cm (~ 3 3/8") is the smallest suiseki that I can readily find published among important Japanese stones. Other hut stones hover a bit larger (12-12 1/2 cm is more common-- still, a relatively small landscape-view stone in approaching 5").

In 1898, the owner of the stone Umikongo "Sea Diamond" was offered a 2000-ton class cargo ship in trade for the stone. It is a coastal rock shown in a suiban by Houn & only 9 cm (~3 1/2") in length.

In Important Suiseki and Accessories Certified by the Nippon Suiseki Association, Volume 2 (Red cover, published 2001) there are 12 stones not numbered which are illustrated before the numbered stones. One is a stone named "Blue (or 'Green' Ao) Mountain, White Water" which is mounted on a daiza and only 8 cm (~3 1/8") in length.

In 2004, Kunio Kobayashi purchased an apparently old, uniformily red in-color, landscape-view stone of ~2 1/2 to 3" (note: not actually measured though I saw it exchanged) along with its daiza & fitted box from the son of a previous Nippon Bonsai Association president Mr. Koide, who preceded Mr. Kato in that position. Mr Kobayashi was very pleased with the purchase-- such commerce also seals bonds between the buyer and seller. Having such owners accept the stone into their personal collections is a substantial value & the stone likely has an earlier history of significance. Perhaps, Peter Warren can share more.

These are cases to support small stones... and I'd encourage IBC contributors to post others.

If you will, Neil, please post photos of the five views of the stone you displayed (photos #2-#6) from directly above each. If they suggest a sincere effort for five mountings of your stone, I'll add why certain smallness is largely rejected in suiseki practice. It would require more than a little effort to satisfy you but could be worthwhile for extending understanding. The effort on this thread is a little one-sided between us if you are not sharing the faces of five possible suiseki, which cannot be asserted from the one view taken of each.

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

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Re: what would you do with this stone?

Post  NeilDellinger on Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:11 am

Thanks Chris. I will see if I can find photos of the stones you mention that are of an historic significance. I will also try to find some time soon to photograph from above those 2 views.

Appreciate the information as always.

Neil

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Re: what would you do with this stone?

Post  NeilDellinger on Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:37 am

Chris,
Here you go. Stones from top...the proposed front in the first post is pointing "South". Starting with photo #2 and working to photo #6 in the same sequence the tops of the stones are as follows:
#2


#3


#4


#5


#6

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Re: what would you do with this stone?

Post  Chris Cochrane on Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:24 pm

Thanks, Neil... I know taking photos & posting them requires considerable effort-- especially when the stone can't sit flat for the view to be captured. These are excellent photos!

It looks like View #6 has its peak in the far back without enough backside to consider it for mounting, but I could be misinterpreting.

View #2 appears to have the best footprint toward the front-- it shows the stone's length horizontally & has no jutting forward that would encourage the eye to glance off the stone toward either end (a near flat or concave front footprint is much better than a severely convex front footprint). While the peak (seen from the front view as well as the overhead view) is almost centered horizontally, I think the front edge on this view raises it to the best. Also, I realize that in Japanese art, mountains including Mt. Fuji have at times been pictured with exactly the symmetrical
front view silhouette which this stone has. Early okimono of Mt. Fuji are as likely to show the center peak supported by symmetrically humped ridges (as in your example) as to show the long shallower slope to one side for which we are familar today. I'd embrace this as a special case stone-- special case examples are so common in suiseki as to shatter most guidance that we need for learning.
silhouette that th

The footprints of Views #3 & #5 glance away from the center of the stone too dramatically on one (#3) or both (#5)sides to be strongly considered. View #4 presents the stone with too much depth front-to-back as compared with side-to-side.
-----------

I'm working on a counter position, Neil. Still, I've thought of another whole area of small landscape view stones that run counter to the common choice-- companion stones in Kokufuten shohinkazaridana displays placed outside the multi-tiered stand. I've some pressing projects due effort today, but will get back to you soon.

Do you recognize that suiseki (landscape-view stones as opposed to figure or pattern stones) in intimate (alcove)display & most exhibit displays should not be companions to other objects (e.g., a suiseki should not be a companion supporting bonsai as the principal object of display)? Do you recognize landscape view stones (sometimes supplemented with hut & plain boat stones as landscape-views--though they can also be treated as figure stones) as distinct in function from other stones for appreciation? This will be difficult to prove but essential to understanding some taste that should be considered.

Hey, you won't have to agree, but it is a choice to understand and choose with knowledge of practice or to reject it either commonly or selectively. Sometimes knowledge gets in the way of naive appreciation-- that has good-&-bad/useful-as-well-as-unhelpful consequences. Feeling is always more important than technique.
-----------

You can find the suiseki Setsuoka-- the small Rai Sanyo thatched hut stone on the Nippon Suiseki Association website-- look at the "Fine Suiseki" tab, & it is the stone on the bottom right (identified as Kamogawa-ishi, I think).

In the Proceedings: International Bonsai and Viewing Stone Symposium, 2002 text, the suiseki Umikongo is illustrated in a chapter on historic suiseki by Mr. Matsuura. It is also seen and measured in one of the two volumes of Important Suiseki and Accessories Certified by the Nippon Suiseki Association. It is distinctive for its size and its uncommonly symmetric fall of steps from two ends leading toward the middle front of the stone.

Suenomatsuyama is so important that it is found among the earliest illustrations of suiseki in several texts.
It is a stone of little height that sits with no sand in what appears to be a shallow round plate. A book on daimyo tea utensils identifies the tray as a thin metal saharibon under the stone. This was the stone traded along with another tea utensil by Oda Nobunaga as a token for a besieged feudal lord to give up Osaka Castle.

If you easily find other named landscape-view suiseki below 10 cm (~4") in size, I will be surprised. It doesn't suit their use in modern display as principal rather than accessory items for full or shohin-sized presentation.

Hope this is more useful than confusing.

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

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Re: what would you do with this stone?

Post  irene_b on Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:35 am

I like #6 still....

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