The Suiban and The Doban|
The suiban and doban are oval or rectangular trays used to display suiseki. Soft delicate smooth suiseki are best suited to a suiban or doban, more shallow and oval trays with a narrow lip or no lip and plain legs. Large and rugged suiseki are appropriate for powerful and ornate trays.
Common tray styles/features:short legs
rectangular or oval
earthenware, glazed or unglazed
metal trays (called "doban" and are usually bronze)
bonsai trays (shallow, oval or rectangular)
Tray colors most preferred: neutral colors (especially shades of gray)
pastel colors (especially beige, tan)
Most typical tray sizes:
16 to 18 inches long and 10 to 13 inches wide
Height ratio to stone: 1: 2 and up to 1: 7 for larger stones
suiban should typically be twice the length of the suiseki
trays that are too large can be filled with a miniature accessory: cottage, sailboat, human figure, etc.
Filling the tray trays are usually filled with sand and/or water
height of the water above the level of the sand: 1 inch
sand should be level and smooth; smooth using using feathers, spoons, shaking side to side, etc.
sand should be sieved and washed
fine-grained sand used with smaller stones
coarse sand used with larger stones
pure beige sand (white is considered too bright)
fineness: between screen-mesh 24 and 14 lines per inch.
sand texture depends on what best complements the stone
Proper positioning stone is anchored or buried, not floating or sitting
stone should be off-center, slightly behind imaginary horizontal line running through middle of tray
position approx. 60% of distance from left or right side of tray
ample room left between the stone and all edges of the container
for stones angled to the right ( or highest peak is on left side) stone placed on left side of tray
for stones angled to the left ( or highest peak is on right side) stone placed on right side of tray
most suiseki are tilted toward the viewer
Miniature accessoriessometimes used: miniature houses, boats, bridges, animals, or human figurines
should be inconspicuous and accent strong points of the stone
should be in scale
should be of fine quality (copper or bronze figures are among finest)
must be in scale with scene suggested by the stone
should not limit the suggestive nature of the stone
Although miniature accessories are not frequently used in the Art of Suiseki, they can, if carefully chosen, heighten the viewer's appreciation of the suieki. Accessories can also balance a display when the stone is too small for a particular tray.