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Over the next week we would like to do numerous posts on the suiseki that we were fortunate enough to acquire while on our trip to Japan this year.  It was fun to post lots of photos from the Green Club and we hope you enjoyed those, but these photos are much more personal to us as these are stones we were attracted and sufficiently so to make a purchase.

I will not delve in this post into the almost “religious” debate about buying stones vs. personally collecting them.  Without question this is bound to raise many viewpoints and most of them conflicting with each other.  Let me just say this and then move on.  Suiseki to us is about what “we” like and it begins and stops there in lots of ways.  To many this is heresy in that suiseki has been classified by many parties and what we have observed is that virtually no one agrees to a uniform and respected classification.  OK enough for today on this subject.

This stone was the last stone we bought on the trip and in may have brought about the most joy as we think this is a beautiful stone that elicits all kind of visual and emotional responses.

Suiseki Wave Stone

Suiseki Wave Stone

When we were discussing purchasing this stone, the seller asked us what we saw.  We looked at the stone for a minute and indicated that we saw a hut stone.  This was already after he had disclosed that the box holding the stone said “wave.”  Of course we saw the wave, but frankly in an abstract sort of way we also saw a thatched hut.

Hut stones in particular are an enigma as frankly most of them that actually look like huts are manufactured stones, meaning carved, and those that are truly hut stones only faintly resemble them or perhaps better said they are an abstract representation of one.

You tell us wave or hut?  Does it really matter.  To us no – but what we love about this stone is that it can generate this type of discussion.  At home we tend to put out a stone about once a week to really enjoy and concentrate upon and this stone is no exception to the “concentrate upon” idea.  This stone contains for us what we really like – motion, depth, color, gracefulness and last but perhaps most importantly it ignites our imagination.

This suiseki reminds me of my first visit to the Pacific Ocean (Carmel, CA) where I stood watching the waves crash on the beach.  Having grown up in Memphis, I must tell you it was spellbinding.  To watch an endless series of waves approaching and cascading into the beach.  This stone reminds me of exactly that – just at that moment where the wave turns over on itself.  That indentation where surfers like to hide knowing that the ride within this wave is about to come to and end so enjoy it in solitude even though all hell may be breaking around you.  Almost a paradox isn’t it – peace and tranquility amongst force, motion and noise.

In some ways this is suiseki to us.  The ability in a day of motion, stress and noise to gain peace and tranquility while gazing on a small stone that represents artistically something on a much more grand scale.

If suiseki is new to you and as you read this you go “what the…” we understand that view.  Only a few years ago I had the same reaction.  It is only a rock – never say that to a suiseki purest by the way!  But perhaps that is why many suiseki collectors are a bit older or should I say grayer.  In the later stages of life one begins to look beyond the surface to attempt to see beyond the obvious.

Top of the wave

Top of the wave

This photo is perhaps a bit jarring after the above discussion but we wanted to return to taking about the physical attributes of this stone.  If you have collected suiseki for a while, and I mean personally walked up and down the river looking for them, then you will understand when we say how often we believe we have just found a wonderful stone, lets say a mountain stone, to pick it up admire its front to then turn it around and see the back disqualifies it from being a great stone.  If the back runs in rather than having a soft run out then the back distracts from the stone’s overall beauty.

Perhaps we can say that the perfect stone is one that is beautiful from all four sides: front, back, top and bottom.  Most stones in this country that are collected are cut on the bottom as this provides in many cases a beautiful front, back and top.  However, suiseki collectors know that to find an uncut stone where there is harmony on all four sides is something to behold.

This stone falls in that category – for us.  It has a great front, top, bottom and back.  I guess we could add side as well but to me if those four work it is unlikely you have a bad side; even though of course that is possible.

I don’t know why this stone was sold frankly.  Perhaps it was from someone that had passed away, tired of it, needed money – we simply don’t know.  I do know that for whatever the reason, we are happy that we were fortunate enough to add it to our collection to enjoy for many years to come.

The kiri wood storage box with inscription.

The kiri wood storage box with inscription.

The seller indicated the inscription said wave but frankly I haven’t had time to validate that.  Perhaps Janet or Mas could offer up a translation for us.  We only know that we are pleased when we purchase a stone that it comes in a box and even happier when there is an inscription.  What can only be seen faintly is that to the left of the bottom character is a red seal. Much too faint in this photograph to discern what it is, but perhaps at our next club meeting we can get to the bottom of what it says.  Lastly for those interested the diaza was created by Koji Suzuki – and perhaps this is how we can determine the history on this stone.

Well we hope you have enjoyed this post about our “wave” stone, and we think you will enjoy our future posts about other suiseki we acquired as well.

Please comment your thoughts about today’s post!  Sam and KJ