Mas and I found this stone on our first date, a collecting trip to Black Butte Reservoir in Northern California. It was Thanksgiving weekend in 2004 and the weather was ice cold and with a strong north wind blowing. The stone has several significant features, including the amazing autumn colors, the large tamari or waterpool, and the steep cliff recessed under a big overhang. By contrast, the surface features, including the two small peaks to either side of the tamari, are more restrained and gentle.
Soon after bringing it home, Mas made a daiza. Sometimes when so many interesting features are present the viewer’s eye gets lost. Simplicity is one of the most important aesthetic virtues for a suiseki. Mas wanted to simplify the stone by emphasizing the tamari and surface features. This gives the suiseki a modest, settled feeling. We kept the suiseki in the living room and enjoyed our memories of that day.
Recently, Mas took the stone out of the daiza and put it on the table. He didn’t have any intention of redoing it, but while looking at the stone he started appreciating the cliff area. He thought it enhanced the stone rather than detracting so he decided to open up the front of the daiza to reveal this unique feature.
It seems to me that he has revealed the heart of the stone. Its features combine in a dynamic harmony, and the recessed cliff gives a sense of depth and mystery. Removing the wall of wood from the front also allows the eye to appreciate the subtle movements of the stone surface, and perhaps creates more room for the viewer’s imagination.
Well said. Simply well said.
Hi Jesus – yes, the first way is more serene. It becomes a very quiet stone. In that version, we didn’t feel it had the quality to be exhibited as a good suiseki. However, we enjoyed it very much for its own kind of gentle, shy quality – and for our memories.
You can’t really see it in our photos – but the tamari is so deep that you could not cut this stone without cutting through and opening the bottom, so wrecking the waterpool. You would not improve the stone by cutting, so shouldn’t do it.
This is another opportunity to think about and meditate. The initial presentation evokes a serene atmosphere, though a bit costrained by the daiza; probably I would have opted for cutting, reducing so the visual weight of the daiza. But doing so, it would have not been possible to redesign the presentation: now the stone looks more free (on the other way, more dinamic), reminding me of a flowing volcano or the wilderness of Scots mountains in autumn. Yes, I must see and think about,
Andrei – I love your way of seeing this stone, and the way you express it. It’s interesting – for Mas, when he is making his artistic decisions it is based strictly on the artistic view of it. How it looks, what the piece “needs” – he looks at line and form and color. Any conceptual or emotional or spiritual reactions only come afterwards. But always when he’s finished, I find so much there…
dailyartmasomenos – thank you!
Beautiful as always — thanks for showing the process.
My train of thoughts while reading and looking.
To me, this story indicates a mystical experience. It would seem to me that suiseki is about listening to what things have to say.
Now this is not a one-way communication. Stones talk to us. By listening we let them also do something to us. The result is that they change something in ourselves. So we respond and, in turn, we change them.
This two-way communication has in my eyes a mystical quality of which this piece is evidence.
The cliff in the stone concentrates the living part of it. It is where the stone has changed, It is the story that this stone had to tell to whomever was prepared to listen. It is the story of a break, of an event, of a lost part, of overcoming this pain and looking to the future. It was there all the time, but the message got through when its time arrived.
Don’t we all carry such marks, and don’t we all carry on, and don’t we all look for someone who would listen?
Thank you for sharing this with us.