The March 2019 meeting of the Cleveland Bonsai Club featured a presentation by member Les Allen on Suiseki, the Japanese art of stone appreciation.
Suiseki are small, naturally formed stones selected for their shape, balance, simplicity, and tranquility. They invoke a feeling, memory, or impression in the viewer and can resemble landscapes, mountains, huts, people, animals, and more.
They are usually displayed on a daiza (a wooden base custom made for that particular stone) or in a shallow tray of sand called a suiban (ceramic) or doban (bronze). The display may incorporate a stand and possibly a scroll on the wall.
Suiseki are selected based on five criteria:
- Shape – balance and proportion
- Quality of material – appearance of hardness
- Color – reflection of nature
- Surface texture – varies but should never show damage
- Age – appearance of age (patina)
Some classifications include:
- Landscape Suiseki (Sansui keijo-seki): shaped like a mountain, island, waterfall, shoreline, cave, canyon, or plateau.
- Object stones (Keisho-seki): resembling a person, animal, boat, house or bridge.
- Celestial (Gensho-seki): with patterns resembling the moon, sun or stars.
- Plant (Kigata-ishi): with patterns picturing flowers, fruits, grasses, forests or even Bonsai.
- Weather (Tenko-seki): resembling rain, intense sunlight, lightning or snow.
- Abstract (Chusho-seki): with surfaces similar to animal prints, tangled nets, etc.
Suiseki are sometimes displayed along with bonsai trees and can be valued in the thousands of dollars.
The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum located at the U.S. National Arboretum is seeking an intern for 2019. The intern will be trained by the bonsai staff in the care and maintenance of the bonsai collection. Weekend work will be required. The length of the internship is one year. The approximate start date is February 1, 2019. The internship is paid through a stipend funded by the National Bonsai Foundation.USNAInternship2019