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The danseki stone often incorrectly called a doha (open flat space resembling a plain with often a mountain at one end) is frankly pretty hard to find.  Not wanting to make the same mistake we made in bonsai, purchasing many trees we should have never bought, in suiseki we determined early on if that we were to purchase a stone it should be a very good stone.  In heading to Japan we hope to find a high quality doha or even better yet a danseki stone.  We have seen a number of these offered but more often or not they were just “OK” stones in either shape, texture or quality.

When we walked onto the second floor of the green club this stone not only caught our attention but caused us to stop and to really evaluate this stone.

Danseki with kiri box and inscription

Danseki with kiri box and inscription

This is a two-step danseki and it would have been nice to have three steps but regardless this is a quality stone as can be told by its heritage but more on that in a moment.  Once again we need to have the inscription translated and frankly I’m clueless as to why we didn’t do this while we were in Japan.

This stone is 33 x 7.6 cm in size.  This approaches the maximum size stones we collect or purchase.  We were struck by the quality of the stone in numerous ways: shape, color, patina, and its ability to remind me of fly-fishing the Upper Sacramento River one of our favorite rivers to be on in Northern California.

Top view of the stone

Top view of the stone

Sorry for the light quality in this photo, yep it is time to purchase a lightbox or better lights, but hopefully you can see some of the detail in the top of this stone.  The patina is clear as are the riffles in the water to me.  Oh yes, I realize that a danseki is often viewed as a stepped plain, but I would like to think this could also be a river.  The color of the stone is excellent and is very tranquil to me – exactly how I feel on a river casting a fly or just enjoying the scenery.

The Upper Sacramento River

The Upper Sacramento River

This stone is long but narrow and it works for us.  Perhaps this is another reason this reminds us of a river rather than a plain.

The bottom of the stone and its diaza

The bottom of the stone and its diaza

The diaza is well made and has some age to it.  I discovered one nick on it and whereas a few years ago this would have troubled me greatly – today it simply doesn’t bother me.

I did ask the provenance on the stone and was told it once belonged to Mr. Sugii Chuji.  I knew by seeing the stamp on the bottom of the kiri wood box that this was a famous collector.

Mr. Sugii's seal - Paulownia

Mr. Sugii's seal - Paulownia

“Sugii Chuji (1930-2007) Born in Tateyama City, Chiba.  He was introduced to the hobby of suiseki in 1966 by the present Chairman of the Japan Suiseki Association, Matsurra Arishige. He is a major suiseki collector active from the mid-Showa to the Heisei Period.  He was Chairman of the Sugii Kogyosho, a manufacturer of cardboard containers established in 1922.  He was a famous suiseki enthusiast.  He learned under Katayama Teiichi of Ichiu-kai and received the penname “Utei.”  He was an instructor of the Katayama style Keido, and was also Advisor to the Japan Suiseki Association. ”  The Sen-En-Kyo Collection of Japanese Viewing Stones.

Does this add value to the stone?  Well we think this up to each of us who collect or purchase stones if we feel it adds value or not.  We have an opinion but frankly that opinion is only important to us – you agree?

Well we enjoy this stone, and others in our collection, so much so we have finally decided to have a display cabinet built in the house so we can take them out of the closet (cat loves to knock stuff of shelves) and hopefully have more of them on display soon.

Enjoy your weekend, KJ and Sam

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