Cape Suiseki Society

Suiseki is the love of natural beautiful stones or rocks.
Telephone 021-790 3478 or 021-797 8972 if you have any queries

Viewing Stones
Japanese Name: Suiseki Bonsai conveys the feel and grandeur of mighty trees, from straight and upright trees growing in gentle conditions to twisted and weather-beaten trees struggling for survival.

The Art of Viewing Stones is similar. They too can transport the viewer into a gentle landscape or a rocky ravine.

Features of Viewing Stones or Suiseki

  1. They are formed by nature alone. They are only cleaned and rubbed, never carved or polished.

  2. Many collectors accept that the stones may be cut underneath for more effective display. Many purists reject this "interference into nature".

  3. The shape of the stone should suggest a natural scene e.g. a landscape, a mountain, or an animal, bird or person.

  4. They should be fairly hard and not liable to break or crumble.

  5. The suggestiveness of a stone comes from the successful combination of it's shape, colour and surface texture.

  6. Their over-all shape should be harmonious and well balanced.

The culture of Viewing Stones started in China just like the art of miniature trees.
Both were brought to Japan where they changed to develop distinctive Japanese characteristics.
According to ancient Chinese under- standing, all things and all beings are connected by a vital energy, a life- force called "qi", which runs through them.
In stones and rocks this life- force becomes cristallized. Stones are thus regarded as the essence of this energy.
Chinese stones are predominantly upright with lots of surface features, often referred to as "near view mountain".
Japanese prefer horizontal stones with smooth surfaces or "far view mountains".

Suiseki are displayed in such a manner that the "feel" or "suggestiveness" is enhanced. The traditional methods are:
A wooden stand which in everyday Japanese is called a "dai". However the correct term for a specially made and carved wooden holder is "daiza".
This is the normal way to keep and display one's stones at home. The carving of the daiza is an interesting adjunct to the hobby, often using beautifully grained woods.
The alternate way is to display the stone in a flat tray, often filled with sand and/or water. If made from ceramic it is called a "suiban", if made from metal (bronze) it is called "doban".