Japan Suiseki Exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

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History was made on February 9-13, 2014 when the newly reorganized Nippon Suiseki Exhibition held the first ever suiseki exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. Under the leadership of Kunio Kobayashi (Chairman) and Seiji Morimae (Secretary General), the event was held concurrently during Part 2 of the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition so people could enjoy both arts in one venue (separate floor galleries). This brings a new era to the combination, appreciation and promotion of bonsai and suiseki.

 

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As often the case, the opening ceremony was a colorful event with a few speeches from prominent figure heads and officers. Seiji Morimae was the MC and did an excellent job keeping the event moving along. After the formal ribbon cutting ceremony they lead visitors into the four gallery exhibition containing some of the most famous suiseki in Japan including a rare treasured suiseki which has not been seen outside a Ueno temple for over 45 years.

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Included in the Japan Suiseki Exhibition were 5 special exhibits, 28 tokonoma alcove displays featuring long elegant scrolls, 135 general exhibits and a display of 15 suiseki accessories of historic display tables and water basins. Soil and water were not permitted in this second floor museum gallery so companion plants were not displayed with the stones and the water basins were shown with dry sand, which is unusual for Japanese suiseki exhibitions. Actually, the lack of companion plants put more focus on the stones.

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Among the general exhibits were 10 prominent foreign suiseki lover’s displays of some of their finest Japanese suiseki: Dato K. H. Chua (Malaysia), David J. Sampson (England) and Martin Pauli (Switzerland).

 The foreign suiseki exhibitors from the United States were:

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Hideko Metaxas, California

Kamuikotan Ishi

 

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Larry & Nina Ragle, California

Sajigawa Ishi

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Ronald C. Maggio, New York

Fujieda Ishi

 

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Sean L. Smith, Pennsylvania

Seijaku Ishi

 

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Tom Elias, California

Setagawa Ishi

 

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Wil Lautenschlager, New York, now living in Tokyo

Chikuzen Maguro Ishi

 

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William N. Valavanis, New York

Tamagawa Ishi

 

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The exhibition was beautifully staged and laid out. Small size historic suiseki, boxes and bronze ornaments were displayed in long museum glass cases. The ample room surrounding the displays, tokonoma alcoves and pedestals allowed visitors to fully appreciate their beauty. I have personally studied many suiseki exhibitions in Japan, the United States, China, Indonesia and around the globe and have never seen such high quality stones displayed better and more beautifully. I’ve already made two visits to this exhibition and will return several times on Monday and Tuesday before I leave Japan.

In the evening of the opening day, the Nippon Suiseki Association hosted a party for the exhibitors. Our entire tour group was honored to have been invited to this special event. The Suiseki Study Group of Upstate New York 20 presented a congratulatory certificate to Kunio Kobayashi commemorating this important exhibition. At the presentation, our study group members Ron Maggio, Marc Arpag and I expressed our appreciation to the Nippon Suiseki Association and for leading the way to promote suiseki. We have learned quite a bit by studying the exhibition.

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A 232 page full color exhibit catalog was published of all the exhibits and is available on my web site at:

http://www.internationalbonsai.com/page/1442819

2 thoughts on “Japan Suiseki Exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

  1. DEAR MR VALAVANIS,WE ARE SO FORTUNATE TO HAVE YOU HERE IN ROCHESTER AS OUR BONSAI MENTOR.YOUR MANY ACHIEVEMENTS OVER THE PAST FIFTY YEARS ARE KNOWN ALL AROUND THE GLOBE.HOWEVER;YOUR HUMILITY AND WILLINGNESS TO SHARE,TEACH AND INSPIRE EVEN THE LEAST TALENTED OF US IS TRULY A GIFT WE APPRECIATE AND NEVER TAKE FOR GRANTED.GOD BLESS YOU FOR MAKING HIS WORLD EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL.THANK YOU.BEST WISHES TO YOU,MR MAGGIO AND MR SMITH.RESPECTFULLY.,TERESA GIULIANI

  2. Dear Bill:

    Thanks for the pictures from the stone show and congratulations to the USA folks that had their stones on display there.

    I liked the navy table covers and the straw colored and the cream backgrounds. The purple bunting had a nice effect too.

    Ill be waiting to hear the details about both shows when you get home.

    Rick Marrriott

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