One of our favorite stones is the kuzyua-ishi, or thatched hut stone.  What a beautiful scenic view of a lonely hut in the distance.  You know the kind that has that thick straw-like material on the roof.  Here is a photo we took in 2010 in Kyoto.

Thatch roof on the grounds of the Golden Pavillion

Thatch roof on the grounds of the Golden Pavillion

We love the bright green moss growing on the roof.  Hut stones can be found in great numbers – unfortunately most of them are carved.  Needless to say, when we first got into suiskei we purchased numerous hut stones to determine later on that they were simply carved stones.

Our favorite ones are artistic interpretations of one of these lonely thatched huts.  Take this one for example.

An Introduction to Suiseki By Matsuura Arishige (©2010)

An Introduction to Suiseki By Matsuura Arishige (©2010)

What an incredible stone with very good patina and a well matched diaza.  What we like about this stone is that it is quite natural – more of an artist rendering of an old hut.  A very nice aged stone.

So can we find stones like this in America?  My experience is that it is rare to find a natural stone of this quality.  If you have found one we would love to feature it on our blog!  So for the most part we have had to “purchase” our hut stones realizing that most of them have been likely carved. So let’s take a look at a few in our collection or those of a good friend.

Hut stone - likely carved.

Hut stone - likely carved.

A nice stone but we think it has been carved.  However, whomever did the carving did a decent job.  The stone could use more patina but we enjoy the stone nevertheless.

Hut stone from the same dealer as above.

Hut stone from the same dealer as above.

Well a number of similarities wouldn’t you say.  Again, we can’t say for sure it was carved – but these two stones are very similar.

Another hut stone.

Another hut stone.

Are we beginning to see a pattern?  I think we might.  Anytime there is a great demand for any item you can be sure that someone is going to attempt to meet that demand.  Perhaps a good stone carver just can’t resist “creating” in such a short time what nature takes eons to do.

A more artistic interpretation?

A more artistic interpretation?

This stone I have held an examined.  I believe the bottom has been worked but otherwise the stone appears to be natural.  I like this stone because it reminds me of the first stone in this post.  Is the opening carved? Who knows – and perhaps who cares.

Type of stone? I'm not sure.

Type of stone? I'm not sure.

I’m not really sure what type of stone this might be but we do like it.  It reminds me more of a cave hut that a straw thatched hut.  The texture of the stone is inviting and gets our imagination in gear. Anyone thinking “Clan of the Cave Bear” by Jean Auel?

So what do we think about these stones? It really revolves again around your personal view on carved stones.  If it is carved is it suiseki?  Some would say absolutely not.  Others might let it slip by especially if you own it.

Our view is a bit more simplistic as is our view on most art.  Do we enjoy it? Do we tire of it upon seeing it every day?  Are we pleased to have it in our collection?  If the answers are yes, no and yes – then we think it doesn’t matter.  Would we prefer to own the top stone in this post well of course.  However, how many of us will ever own one?  In some degrees it is like the argument of an original oil  painting or a very good copy.  Is the point to own the original, which most of us simply can not afford, or to have something that is close to the original – affordable and thus within our grasp?  I believe the latter.

That being said, when we collect we constantly are looking for a natural kuzuya-ishi to add to our collection. What a prize that would be.  Believe me the moment we find one we will post it.

Sam and KJ

P.S. If my schedule slows down I will get up the photos of pots for sale.  Between work, teaching, and taking college classes again it seems time for photography is  just hard to come by.  Sam

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