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Today we would like to introduce you to the new book by Mr. Matsurra Arishige the past Chairman of the Nippon Suiseki Association. His book was translated by Wil Lautenschlager.  All photographs depicted herein are the copyright of Mr. Matsurra Arishige.  The following is the introduction to his book.

“This English publication introducing suiseki to foreign audiences is a book that I have long wanted to produce, and it is a great pleasure for me to finally be able to offer it to the world. The text covers all of the basics essential for newcomers to suiseki, and also includes a number of finer points that will help more experienced practitioners refine and build upon their knowledge. It includes sections on the history of suiseki, the five key factors to keep in mind when assessing stones, a discussion of classification, comments on cutting, storage, display, and more. This book will surely make an important addition to the library of anyone interested in Japanese stone appreciation.”

Exterior Cover - Interior Cover

Exterior Cover Interior Cover

The book is beautifully printed and is 87 pages long.  The book contains 10 sections: 1) Foreward; 2) Introduction; 3) The Five Factors; 4) Classification; 5) On the Subject of Cutting; 6) Making a Daiza; 7) Storage; 8} Elements of Display; 9) Seasonality; and, 10) Map of Japan and Popular Suiseki Collecting Sites.

The difficulty in any book that is an “Introduction to…” is balancing the right amount of information for new readers and those that know the subject well.  It is our opinion that Mr. Matsurra Arishige has done exactly that.    We highly recommend that you add this book to your collection as soon as possible. This is a limited edition book as only 1,000 copies have been printed.

To order, please send an International Postal Money Order for the amount of 10,000 Japanese yen (price includes airmail shipping fees) to:

Matsuura Arishige
1-4-3 Nakamurakita
Nerima ku
Tokyo 176-0023
Japan

For additional information or inquiries regarding payment or bulk orders at a reduced rate for clubs, please write in English to: matsuura@suiseki.jp

We really enjoyed the classification section as there are some incredibly beautiful suiseki in this book.  Our personal favorites are show next.

Toyama-ishi

Toyama-ishi

Toyama-ishi

Frankly this is the finest distant mountain stone we have ever seen.  This Kamagowa-ishi was formerly owned by Rai San’yo a very famous collector of suiseki.  The name of this stone is Yamato Murayama (“Mountains of the Kanto Plan”) and is 27.0 x 10.0 x 8.0 cm.

The scale, color, shape, and composition of this suiseki is just utterly outstanding.  The position of the dominate peak the plains below and the various other mountains complete a beautifully captivating view.  The daiza in our opinion is perfectly matched to this stone.  We have to admit if we could have only one suiseki in our collection it would be this stone.

Sugata-ishi

Sugata-ishi stones are those with shapes that represent birds, animals or other icons and may also include boats, bridges or small huts.  This category is KJ’s favorite without question.

Gagyu-ishi ("Sleeping Ox Stone")

Gagyu-ishi ("Sleeping Ox Stone")

A very famous stone formerly owned by Kamiya Yoan-ken.  This is a Setagawa-ishi stone 17.5 x 5.5 x 8.0 cm.  Notice how many of these stones are the size that can be easily held in the hands.  This was the early form of enjoyment for those who collected high quality stones.

Miyako-dori ("Plovers")

Miyako-dori ("Plovers")

This is a Kamogawa-ishi stone (L) 9.0 x 6.5 x 6.0 cm (R) 7.5 x 5.0 x 5.0 cm.  These two suiseki remind us of the piping plover a small, stocky shorebird. The adults weigh 1.5 to 2 ounces, have a length of 7 inches, and a wingspread of 15 inches.  What do you think?

Piping Plover

Piping Plover

Murasaki kifune-ishi

Murasaki kifune-ishi

This stone is 40.0 x 16.0 x 11.0 cms.  This bridge stone is exquisite and the daiza is a model of creativity that enhances this stone.  We love the way the daiza maker reduces the width of the daiza to enhance the overall arch of the bridge. We have seen many bridge stone daizas that maintain the same width across the length of the stone and even though beautifully crafted they just don’t seem to bring to life the bridge arch as this daiza does.

Kuzuya-ishi

The Kuzuya-ishi stones are a subcategory of the Sugata-ishi stones; however, as many of us know they are so popular that as Mr. Matsuura Arishige indicates they desire a specific mention on their own.

Kamagawa-ishi

Kamagawa-ishi

This beautiful hut stone is 10.0 x 7.0 x 6.5 cm.  We really love this stone.  We have learned as many have that the popularity of the hut stone has lead to many “carved” hut stones.  We admit that early on we purchased several stones represented as natural hut stones that we now know are simply stones carved to look like huts.  Our general rule today is if it looks too much like a hut it is likely fake.  If it is more abstractly resembles a thatched hut, as this stone does, then the chances are it is real.

This stone reminds of a an old hut just barely standing. With a roof that is beginning to break down but displaying that feeling of longevity and sanctuary.  In America, what comes closest to this feeling for us is the old wooden barns that have lived for a century or more and now are beginning to fall apart but still stand proudly in the pasture or near the farm house.

Old Barn on Highway 89 - By Mas Nakajima

Old Barn on Highway 89 - By Mas Nakajima

Conclusion

We hope that these few photos will leave you wanting more and you will order this fine book.  If the book is out of print you might visit Mr. Matsuura Arishige’s web site.

The book contains examples of fine suiseki stands, suibans, and the like. There is even a page showing how Mr. Koji Suzuki makes daizas for those interested in that art form.

Again we highly recommend this book and don’t tarry too long or it might go out of print before you order!

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