VSANA Library of Stone Appreciation Books

The following reviews are intended to give readers an indication of the wide range of books available, primarily on Asian stone appreciation, but also on Western stones. Additional reviews are added to this site each month. They are presented in the country where they are produced. Unfortunately, some of the books are out of print and difficult to obtain.

German Publications

Benz, Willi and Gudrun. 2003.

Asiatische Kunst mit schӧnen Steinen (The Asian Art of Beautiful Stones)

Verlag. 115 pp. ISBN 3-00-011520-X. 12 €.


Willi and Gudrun Benz were collectors of stones in Japan and China and assembled an outstanding collection. They attended many of the early stone festivals in China when cities were first organizing these major events. Willi and Gudrun were leaders in the German bonsai community and organized the European Suiseki Association. This volume features many stones from China as well as some from Japan, Italy, Korea, Indonesia, South Africa, and the United States. It is an attractive soft cover book with numerous excellent photographs. German is the primary language; however, English translations have been included. The authors provide a broad introduction to Asian stones (Gongshi, Shangshi, Suiseki and Suseok) and give descriptions for many of the stone types illustrated in their book.

This book is available from Gudrun Benz, Karlsruher Strabe 101, D-68775 Ketch, Germany. Shipping is an additional 7 € to all countries outside Europe.

Ratings:  Recommended. An important publication, documenting stones when it was initially published.



Benz, W., G. Benz & H. Lehner. 2014.

20 Jahre Deutsche Suiseki-Gesewllschaft.

Deutsche Suiseki Gesellschaft Ketsch. 112 pp. No ISBN number. No price given.

This attractive volume is to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the German Suiseki Society  founded in 1993 by Willi Benz.  It is dedicated to the late Willi Benz who founded this society. It was the first national suiseki organization in Europe according to the brief history provided in the initial pages. This is followed with an explanation of both Chinese and Japanese stone appreciation concepts. The text is richly illustrated with excellent sharp photographs. The latter part of the book contains photos taken from a suiseki exhibition on the occasion of this important anniversary date. Each stone is displayed in a tokonoma accompanied by an accent item and, sometimes, a scroll.

This design, layout, and production is very good. A nice volume except for one important feature. That is, the insistence on the authors to refer to Chinese stones as suiseki, a practice that is inappropriate and inaccurate.

  Rating: Recommended, the text is in German and English which is an added feature.



Mowry, Robert D. 1998.

Chinesische Gelehrtensteine aus der Sammlung Richard Rosenblum.

Harvard University and Museum Rietberg Zurich. 92 pp. ISBN 3-907070-8. Price unknown.

This is the German edition of the exhibit catalog for the Richard Rosenblum collection of stones that was displayed at the Museum Rietberg in Zurich, Switzerland from 17 May until 30 August, 1998. This large format, soft-cover book contains 80 color plates.

Rating: Recommended, especially for those fluent in German

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