Bonsai Beginners.Eiichi on Instagram: “五葉松は黒松のように葉切りはしないけど、 葉透かしと葉切りをしました。 マア実験です #五葉松葉切り #やって見ないとわからない #ミニ盆栽 #懸崖”

Bonsai Beginners.Eiichi on Instagram: “あるオークションにて購入した鉢ですが、落款を読み説く事が出来ません お分かりになる方がございましたら🙇‍♂️ かなり手の込んだ造りに見えますが、鉢底が円錐型になっており水が抜けやすく作られております👏”

bonsai pottery, mostly on Instagram: “Revisiting this #Siamese #mame pot, because it is available now on Facebook 99c bonsai auctions along with a couple others. Bid before…”

Anibal Poublan on Instagram: “Buenas noches! De frente reconocemos al silencioso paso del tiempo. #盆栽 #盆栽鉢 #bonsaiargentina #bonsaimente #bonsailabo #bonsailabo凜 #盆栽園…”

The Book of Tea, Part I

Sam & KJ's Suiseki Blog (水石)

The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzō, 1906

The Book of Tea (茶の本 Cha no Hon) by Okakura Kakuzō (1906) is a long essay linking the role of chadō (teaism) to the aesthetic and cultural aspects of Japanese life.  This essay, or book, was written for a Western audience where the book emphasizes how Teaism taught the Japanese many things; most importantly, simplicity. Kakuzō argues that this tea-induced simplicity affected art and architecture in Japan. It is a 53 page book that can be easily found in PDF format if one has a desire to read and study his writings on this subject.

Okakura Kakuzō (February 14, 1863 – September 2, 1913) was a Japanese scholar who made contributions to the development of art in Japan.  Okakura was one of the principal founders of the first Japanese fine-arts academy, Tokyo bijutsu gakko (Tokyo School of Fine Arts).  He also…

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The Book of Tea, Part II

Sam & KJ's Suiseki Blog (水石)

Part II, The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzō, 1906

If you haven’t read Part I, we suggest you do that before beginning Part II.

“The tea-room (the Sukiya) does not pretend to be other than a mere cottage—a straw hut, as we call it. The original ideographs for Sukiya mean the Adobe of Fancy.  Latterly the various tea-masters substituted various Chinese characters according to their conception of the tea-room, and the term Sukiya may signify the Abode of Vacancy or the Abode of the Unsymmetrical.  It is an Abode of Fancy inasmuch as it is an ephemeral structure built to house a poetic impulse.  It is an Abode of Vacancy inasmuch as it is devoid of ornamentation except for what may be placed in it to satisfy some aesthetic need of the moment.  It is an Abode of the Unsymmetrical inasmuch as it is consecrated to the worship…

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The Book of Tea, Part III

Sam & KJ's Suiseki Blog (水石)

The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzō, 1906

This is the third part of this story and comprises the final section.  Let us continue with Kakuzō’s writing on the tea ceremony.

“The tea-master, Kobori-Enshiu, himself a daimyo, has left to us these memorable words: “Approach a great painting as thou wouldst approach a great prince.” In order to understand a masterpiece, you must lay yourself low before it and await with bated breath its least utterance. An eminent Sung critic once made a charming confession. Said he: “In my young days I praised the master whose pictures I liked, but as my judgment matured I praised myself for liking what the masters had chosen to have me like.”

“It is to be deplored that so few of us really take pains to study the moods of masters.  In our stubborn ignorance we refuse to render them this simple courtesy, and…

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Kokan Shiren (虎関師錬), 1278–1347)

Sam & KJ's Suiseki Blog (水石)

Kokan Shiren (虎関師錬), 1278–1347), Japanese Rinzai Zen patriarch and celebrated poet in Chinese, was the son of an officer of the palace guard and a mother of the aristocratic Minamoto clan.  Kokan studied under the celebrated Chinese monk Yishan Yining. Their relationship can be regarded as the beginning of the golden age of the Literature of the Five Mountains in Japan. He studied calligraphy under an additional Chinese master Huang Shangu. A portrait of Kokan Shiren is in the Kaizoin of the Tōfuku-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan.

Wang-Zhiweng-active-14-th-century-Portrait-of-the-Japanese-Monk-Kokan-Shiren-dated-1343 The Japanese monk Kokan Shiren dated 1343, painted by Wang Zhiweng.

Our interest in Kokan is for the similarities that many of us experience today when sharing our stones (suiseki) with friends.  His experience was recorded in his  essay entitled Rhymeprose on a Miniature Landscape Garden.   Take a few moments to read a portion of his essay and see how well it resonates with your own experiences.

What I liked to do…

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Su Shi (蘇軾) – Chinese Poet

Sam & KJ's Suiseki Blog (水石)


Su Shi(simplified Chinese:苏轼;traditional Chinese:蘇軾) (8January1037– 24August1101),courtesy nameZizhan, (Chinese:子瞻),art nameDongpo, was a Chinese writer, poet,painter, calligrapher, pharmacologist, gastronome, and astatesmanof theSong dynasty.”

Portrait of Su Dongpo byZhao Mengfu

Su Shi was born into a literary family in 1037. At the age of 19 he passed the highest-level civil service examinations with flying colors, and was marked out as a rising star within the world of officialdom. His lucid, eloquent essays greatly impressed Emperor Renzong (1010-1063) and by the time the young Emperor Shenzong (1048-1085) ascended to the throne in 1067, Su Shi was a respected figure among scholar-officials at court.

‘During the Song dynasty, a period of unsurpassed refinement in the arts in China, Su Shi had a brilliant and staggeringly varied career,’ explains art critic Alastair Sooke. A poet, politician, writer, calligrapher, painter and aesthetic theorist, Su Shi was the pre-eminent scholar of the Song dynasty…

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