The History of Suiseki
Japanese History
Chinese History
Korean History
Common Classifications
Chinese Classifications
Japanese Classifications
Korean Classifications
Common Terminology
Chinese Terminology
Japanese Terminology
Korean Terminology
Collecting Suiseki
Where To Collect
Tools & Gear
Evaluating Suiseki
Ten Views of a Rock
The Golden Triangle
Tools & Techniques
Preparing Your Suiseki
Stone Cutting
Oils and Other Methods
Displaying Your Suiseki
The Daiza
The Suiban
The Dai
Bonsai & Gardening
Other Methods of Display

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History of Viewing Stones | Japanese History | Chinese History | Korean History

Between 592-628, the Japanese Empress Regent Suiko received the first Penjing and Gongshi from the Chinese imperial court. Magically shaped with holes, hollows and highly eroded surfaces, they were very interesting to the Japanese aristocracy. These vertical stones, representative of the imposing mountains and cliffs of China, remained popular in Japan for hundreds of years.

The samurai warrior class rose to power in Japan during the Kamakura period (1183-1333), and trade between China and Japan had brought the teachings of Zen Buddhism which won wide acceptance with the samurai. With the acceptance of Zen Buddhism, stones with more subtle lines became highly sought - in keeping with the Buddhist teachings of austerity, intuitive insight and meditation.

During the Muramachi period (1338-1573), Zen monks influenced the Japanese aristocracy and sought stones that were simple with subtle details, in line with these teachings -- stones that were suggestive rather than precise. These stones became a means to spiritual refinement, inner awareness, and enlightenment.

The rise of wealthy merchants during The Edo period (1603-1867) saw increased interest in Suiseki and there began a competition for these stones between the aristocracy and merchants. At this time, Japan had closed their borders to the outside world, bringing a period of isolation that allowed their arts to flourish without outside interference.

Due to a decrease in wealth of the nobility and the samurai during the Meiji period (1868-1912), the art remained somewhat stagnant in many ways. But this period also saw the development of Suiseki classifications still in use today.

Thereafter, interest in Suiseki has renewed and expanded throughout the twentieth century, and has grown into a multi-cultural art in the international community with widespread interest with Suiseki associations throughout the world.

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