VSANA Featured Article 专题

Articles on stone appreciation by Thomas S Elias and other authors are available from the VSANA Article Archives categorized by year. See list on the right for links to each article.

Viewing Stones of Malaysia and Singapore

by Dato Chua Kok Hwa & Tom Elias


Malaysia is made up of West (Kuala Lumpur) and East (Sabah and Sarawak) Malaysia, located on the equator on the Malay peninsula, is a sizeable country with a 32 million multi-racial, multicultural and Multi lingua population. Capital of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory state of West Malaysia.

Viewing stone appreciation began in the early 1980s in Kedah and Perlis, northern states of Malaysia and slowly spread to Kuala Lumpur. Most started with horizontally cut bottom stones and some of these types of stones were imported from Taiwan due to local demand. One of the earliest places for Kuala Lumpur folks to collect stones was Rumput River near Mimaland Park, Gombak Road, Selangor, about 1-1.5-hour drive from the city. Until the late 80s, as demand for the preferred stones grew and more river sources were discovered, the stone trade started to flourish to cater for the needs of collectors.

Most of the viewing stones in Malaysia were found in the northern states especially in Kedah, Perlis, and Perak; and East coast in Kuala Terengganu. Kedah and Perlis are known for their Wax stones, mainly yellow, red, brown, black wax stones are known. Perak is known for its stones collected from the mountains and black or dark brown river stones that resemble the skin of a pear and the skin of a tiger and rough texture. Kuala Terengganu is known for its jagged, rough, and poles dark grey or black stones. Other states where stones were found include Seremban, Pahang and Johor.

Malaysia has been influenced by both Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese and Malaysian style stone appreciations customs; thus, stone exhibitions express a wide range of stone types, shapes and colors. The collectors preferred medium to big natural unworked stones. Preference for shapes is landscape, figurine, and abstract. A strong Chinese influence is seen since many of the serious stone collectors are of Chinese origin. There are a few societies regularly stage exhibitions of stones.

The Malaysia Bonsai and Suiseki Society founded in 1988, the oldest society with over 600 members, regularly stage exhibits of bonsai, viewing stones and wood art. Recently, they had held the 2018 15th National Bonsai, Suiseki and Wood Convention in conjunction with the annual Royal Floria Putrajaya, Malaysia’s largest flower and garden festival held in Putrajaya. This year, 115 viewing stones were exhibited along with 83 pieces of wood art in the indoor Pavillion and 170 bonsai in the outdoor Bustan Inggeris. An estimated 1.1 million visitors for the 2018 Royal Floria.

Several books have been published on Malaysian stones, most following major exhibitions. These include The 7th International Stone Exhibition in Malaysia 98 (1998), Malaysia Bonsai & Suiseki Exhibition and Competition 2000 by the Malaysia Bonsai and Suiseki Society (In 2000, Malaysia hosted the 6th Asia-Pacific Convention and Exhibition which had both bonsai and suiseki exhibits for this international convention), Natural Art Stone Exhibition 2000 (2000) by the Malaysian Stone Lover Society, and The Vivacity of Stones based upon the 11th International Natural Art Stone Exhibition.  Later, the Malaysian Art Stone Society was established in 2010 and published a book, Malaysian Shushi Collection in the same year.   This country has healthy and enthusiastic groups of people pursuing varying aspects of stone appreciation cultures.

Dato Chua Kok Hwa became the President for the Malaysia Bonsai and Suiseki Society in May 2017. He is a vivid bonsai, suiseki, bonsai pots and art collectors. He resides in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.



This is a small island nation with a small population that is the most technically advanced country in southeastern Asia. There are virtually no areas to search for naturally occurring stones. Thus, stones displayed in bonsai and susieki exhibitions have originated in other Asian countries.

Singapore Penjing and Stone Appreciation Society

by Lim Keow Wah

The society was founded in 1978 with a mission to promote the art of Penjing and artistic stones. The current President is Mdm. Chai Kwei Foon. We have about fifty active members only a small portion are stone lovers or collectors. As Singapore is land scarce, almost all bonsai and Stone materials are not originated from this tiny island.

In 1995, together with our Chinese Garden we jointly organized The 3rd Asia Pacific Bonsai and Suiseki Convention and Exhibition. Our regular large-scale Bonsai and Stone exhibition normally held once in every two years to coincide with the National Parks Board’ s Singapore Gardens Festival, the latest exhibition was held at Gardens by The Bays from July 21st to 3rd August 2018.



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