scholar's rocks
July 10, 2007 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Known as scholar's rocks or gongshi, viewing stones are rocks of complex shapes that suggest worlds within worlds, microcosms in stone. In Japan they are called Suiseki, from the Japanese characters for water "sui" and stone "seki", placed on a daiza, a carved wood base. They are at once a miniature landscape and a point of imaginative departure…
posted by nickyskye (11 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Glossary, classifications. Scholar's rocks at the Metropolitan Museum.
posted by nickyskye at 12:10 PM on July 10, 2007

I saw Roy Lichtenstein's take on the subject a few years back.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:37 PM on July 10, 2007

My favorite part of going to the National Arboretum to look at the bonzai trees (aside from the giant koi) is the collection of mountain shaped viewing stones.

Thanks for the post.
posted by OmieWise at 1:21 PM on July 10, 2007

Interestingly, there appear to be several for sale on eBay when searching for "scholar's rocks"
posted by bra1n at 1:41 PM on July 10, 2007

(isn't gongshi also mandarin for work(place)?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:59 PM on July 10, 2007

bra1n, Pretty much everything seems to be on sale at eBay. Those are a nice find, of the Biseki category. They're cut and polished to enhance the colors, shapes and surface patterns.
posted by nickyskye at 1:59 PM on July 10, 2007

In Pratchett's Discworld series, he introduced a character named Lu-Tze who keeps banzai mountains. The scholar's rocks reminded of me of this, and that I've always wanted something like that.
posted by quin at 2:02 PM on July 10, 2007

As a genuine rock-hugger, hound and collector, I must thank you so much for this lovely post! Gorgeous stuff!

Aside from their natural beauty, there is just something so amazing about rocks. I mean, here are these hunks of minerals millions, perhaps billions, of years old and they're just lying around! You can pick up a billion years of history and hold it in your hands.

[I have a LOT of rocks. Makes moving a bitch.]
posted by LeeJay at 2:16 PM on July 10, 2007

Yes, but can the scholar's rocks teach me how a bill becomes a law?
posted by thanotopsis at 2:20 PM on July 10, 2007

quin, the first time I saw a scholar's rock in a NYC art gallery window and read the little info on the card, all of a sudden I felt such huge admiration for people who took the time to savor and contemplatively, playfully enjoy the subtleties of rocks or anything. The beautifully carved daiza created a frame of sorts, which changes perception too, honoring the beauty of the rock, if you know what I mean.

*waving to LeeJay* Been thinking about you, hope you're well, fellow rock enjoyer.

thanatopsis, Confucius say: He who throw dirt is losing ground.
posted by nickyskye at 2:44 PM on July 10, 2007

Some of our local stones from jade cove area.
posted by hortense at 4:12 PM on July 10, 2007

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