suiseki as accents




Dan Barton's "Bonsai" viewing stone — given to him by a friend in the USA and collected in Death Valley. It still requires a daiza stand.


There will be very many more examples in the Exhibition on 27th May 2012

SUISEKI — in the context of an ‘accent’ when used in the display of bonsai.

Suiseki or ‘viewing stones’ is the appreciation of the hidden image or spirit within a stone.  The classification of viewing stones is extensive and varied, with profound associated philosophy accompanying the art, when pursued exclusively for its own sake— but that is beyond the scope of this blog so we’ll keep explanations as simple as possible in the hope that this may encourage more people to become involved in the use of suiseki in their bonsai displays.

Our main interest in suiseki as an accompaniment to a bonsai in a formal presentation is purely to provide an imagined ‘idea’ as suggested by the suiseki.  For instance, the stone may suggest a distant mountain range or a single mountain; a waterfall; a basin; a plateau; an animal or human figure etc.  So, to include a suiseki in the display should be to add an element that connects with the bonsai and also the scroll, if one is used.

Suiseki that suggest distant mountains for instance can introduce a spacial perspective that may give the presentation an overall sense of great depth and possibly trigger the imagination to see the bonsai in the context of a mountain tree and so on.  And the scroll that completes the display may further the idea if perhaps it included a soaring eagle or a slumbering moon or some other such like image that is in sympathy with the suiseki and bonsai thus completing the triadic relationship.

Suiseki when used as accents, should be included in the display to allow the viewer to travel with the etherial spirits to an imagined dream-world suggested by all of the elements contained within the display.  Achieving this goal of spiritual transcendence is a demanding and exacting task!

Any of the four ‘seasons’ may also be considered within the design — as appropriate.  EG. A suiseki with a ‘snowy’ apex or mountain top ridge may suggest a wintry scene.

The inclusion of a suiseki as an accent in a bonsai display offers much for the imagination and well worth the challenge!

© Dan Barton


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