The 3rd Japan Suiseki Exhibition is being held on February 9-13, 2016 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno Park, Tokyo, Japan. It is in the same building as the Kikuyu Bonsai Exhibition on the 4th floor. The opening ceremony was held on Tuesday, the day between Part 1 and Part 2 of the bonsai exhibition when they remove over 200 trees and reset the show with another 200 plus trees.
The Nippon Suiseki Association, sponsor of the event is guided by Kunio Kobayashi and Seiji Morimae. They are primarily responsible for the exhibition and their families and staff set it up, host and clean as well. A large job, but the passion these two fine gentlemen have for the promotion of suiseki, and bonsai too, is unequaled in Japan.
This year there were approximately 133 suiseki on display from Japanese exhibitors and 24 from foreign exhibitors, plus 10 historic and beautiful water basins and display tables. Included were also 25 large size alcove displays, featuring stones combined with scrolls. Unfortunately, the museum does not permit companion plants in this gallery.
I was amazed at the quality of the stones, of course, but also at the “perfect” display table for each display. Although I’m always surprised at the vast amount of new bonsai on display at the yearly Kokufu Bonsai Exhibitions, it seems like there are even more suiseki. Both bonsai and suiseki grow wild in Japan, you know. But what is even more remarkable is that all the stones are not newly collected. They all have patina and age, which is difficult to fake. Several of the historic special display stones were collected and have been appreciated for well over 100 years. They were not just picked up from a mountain, water stream or behind a Wal-Mart.
The main special displays were labeled “Bonseki” because they are antiques and that is the old and original term used to designate scenic stones. Additionally, there were two guest displays from the Hosokawa School of Bonseki, one of the oldest schools still teaching the art of arranging stones with sand on flat black trays.
Two display tables made of bamboo interested me so I photographed a few details. Its unbelievable how much work goes into the design and construction of display tables. Of course, many of these display tables can cost more than a car in the United States.
Exhibitors from the following countries shared their suiseki: Italy, Malaysia, England, Germany, Switzerland, China, Denmark, Philippines and the United States.
There was one unique small stone, the likes of which I’ve never seen before. It was, of course, displayed in a glass case for security, but my photo came out well. It was displayed by Yvonne Graubaek from Denmark and was labeled as a bonseki because of its old age, probably from the Edo Period. This stone has a most interesting story. Yvonne purchased (actually stole) her stone on E-bay, a couple of years ago for only $200! She was just looking at the stone offerings and spotted this gem. Twelve people were lurking watching the price for a long time. She recognized the value and “bought it now.” And, I’m glad she did because she will appreciate its beauty, plus I have the opportunity to see it too. The bonsai is in two pieces, the stone that looks like Mt. Fuji and the base, or daiza which is carved from wood and colored. The blue waves were added. The flat display table is also part of the carved daiza. When I get home I’ll start looking at E-bay…..
Mr. Morimae insisted that I have my photo taken with the President of the Nippon Suiseki Association and Mr. Babba, a noted collector of Kamogawa stones from Kyoto. He has hundreds of high quality suiseki in his collection and always has a large special display at the Taikan Bonsai Exhibition held in Kyoto.
This year I displayed one of my suiseki, which was collected in Ontario, Canada. At home it is normally displayed in a water basin. My friend Bob Blankfield hand carved a wooden daiza for the suiseki last month, specifically for this exhibition. I was kind of afraid to send my bronze basin because it might get lost. I was completely surprised to see it displayed in a bronze basin supplied by Mr. Morimae or Kobayashi, along with the elegant display table. The length of the bronze water basin, with the sand suggests a much wider view than displaying it in the daiza.
Enjoy the suiseki photos.
Bonsai porn photos begin tomorrow when Part 2 of the Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition opens.