The History of Suiseki
Japanese History
Chinese History
Korean History
Common Classifications   
Japanese Classifications
Chinese Classifications
Korean Classifications
Japanese Terminology
Chinese Terminology
Korean Terminology
Collecting Suiseki
Where To Collect
Tools & Gear
Evaluating Suiseki
Ten Views of a Rock
The Science of Suiseki
Preparing Your Suiseki
Using Acid
Drying Stones
Stone Cutting
Developing A Patina
Caring for Suiseki
Displaying Your Suiseki
The Daiza
The Suiban
The Tokonoma
Other Displays
Overall Design

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Displays: | Overall Design | Daiza | Suiban | Tokonoma | Tables Other Displays

Overall Design
When creating a beautiful display area, use great care and consideration.
  • one object clearly the main subject of display
  • placing main object on higher stand creates emphasis
  • main object is complimented by shape and theme of accompanying pieces
  • accompanying pieces should be lower in height
  • number of objects kept to minimum, usually three

    The colors of stands, containers, and objects should complement the main object.

  • dark purple suiseki often displayed with greens, reds, yellows, blacks, gray-browns, or neutrals
  • add interest by using objects with dissimilar colors

    Texture, shape, size, and height:

  • vary objects' texture, shape, size, and height
  • example: use smooth suiseki with delicate art object
  • vary the slant of the objects, distance between, and shape stands

    Space relationships:

  • generous space between objects and edge of tokonoma or display
  • adequate space between objects
  • adequate space between bottom of scroll and top of objects
  • main object traditionally off-center, 1/3 from edge of display area
  • traditionally, main object slightly behind imaginary horizontal line running through middle of space
  • with two-object displays, one is set back from other
  • with three object displays, arrange in asymmetrical triangle
  • highest point of each object forms triangle with main object highest point
  • top of scroll and edge of stand or display area can form triangle elements

    Combining display objects:
    A major consideration in combining art objects is the degree of intended formality. Three levels of traditional japanese formality are: formal (shin), semiformal (gyo), and informal (so). Formal (shin) display:

  • verticality, straight lines, decorum, symmetry
  • best suited: distant mountain stone (classic suiseki)
  • stands, containers and other objects also conform to style
  • neutral colors for stands, containers and other objects

    Semi-formal (gyo) display:

  • horizontality, asymmetry, soft lines, curves
  • best suited: plateau stones, slope stones
  • objects with slanted /curved lines and smooth contours
  • rounded or oval containers and stands

    Informal (so) display:

  • horizontality, asymmetry, irregular, casualness, delicate, soft
  • best suited: are waterpool, thatched-hut, pattern, and slope, distant mountain
  • objects placed next to dwarf grasses: sweet rush, pampas, bamboo
  • humorous or playful stones
  • objects elaborate and colorful or simple
  • containers and stands elaborate and colorful or simple

    Seasonal displays:
    Japanese traditionally take seasons into account when designing a display area.

      Winter display:
      Wishes for good fortune in the new year are represented by color, object or pattern stones, combined with a scroll or plants called "the three friends of winter" - Japanese plum blossoms, pine and bamboo.
    • Japanese plum blossoms symbolize courage and nobility: appear when ground is still covered with snow
    • pine symbolizes long life: green all year, clinging with all its power to a rock face or cliff
    • bamboo symbolizes strength and endurance: flexibility and its ability to bend without breaking

      Spring summer, and autumn displays:

    • spring: Japanese plum blossoms, wisteria, forsythia, cherry blossoms
    • late spring: azalea, iris, peony
    • summer: lotus, bush clover, willow, morning glory, pomegranate, green grass, waterfalls, mountain lakes
    • autumn: chrysanthemum, persimmon, berries, pampas-grass, red maple leaves, harvest moon

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