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.
Madame Soka Revealed, My Journey in Life with Bonsai and Suiseki.
Privately published by Sue Aziz and Family, Jakarta, 295 pp. ISBN: 978-979-16556-0-6. No price given.
Information on Indonesian stone appreciation is largely intertwined with published materials on bonsai. Thus, there are very few books solely on stones from this country. This work is a beautifully produced book that includes 100 pages devoted to stones. Mrs. Aziz is a long-standing, international leader in bonsai and stone appreciation in Indonesia. Her book features many of her best trees and stones while celebrating her life’s devotion to tree and stone appreciation. The first two-thirds is devoted to bonsai.
Mrs. Aziz’ interest in stones has been strongly influences by Japanese suiseki practices and this is reflected in the introductory text. Chinese and Korean stones are also mentioned. The real value of this volume comes from the full-page color images of the stones. Nearly all are from different regions of Indonesia and the majority are handsomely displayed in metal or ceramic trays, often with white sand. The carved wood bases reflect a mixture of Japanese, Chinese, and Indonesian styles. Most of the stones are dark, ranging from jet black to varying shades of grays and browns. There are beautiful smooth water-worn stones along with abstract and rugged shaped stones. This is testimony to the fact that Indonesia has a wealth of beautiful natural stones that can support a thriving stone appreciation community. This book is a high quality product that comes with an attractive slip case.
Suiseki Seni Batu Alami (Suiseki, Natural Art Stone).
Perkumpulan Penggemart Suiseki Indonesia (The Indonesian Suiseki Association). 84 pp. Jakarta. ISBN: 979-9001-03-X. No price given.
This is one of the first important books on natural stone appreciation to be published on Indonesian stones in the Indonesian language. The author, Ismail Saleh, was an avid stone collector, a civic leader and judge in Indonesia. It is an excellent introduction to stone appreciation in this country while also providing information about similar endeavors in China, Korea, and Japan. Saleh has been most influenced by Japanese criteria as evidenced by the used of many Japanese terms to describe different types of stones.
This book was published when Japanese suiseki culture was being spread to different regions of the world and information about Chinese stone appreciation was just beginning to reach western countries. This is an attractive volume with good layout and design and sharp photographs.
Pameran/Kontes Nasional Bonsai & Suiseki 2013
Perkumpulan Bonsai Indonesia. Jarkarta. 164 pp. ISBN: 978-979-8160-05-9. No price given.
This is the official record of the 2013 national exhibition of bonsai and stones that was held in Indonesia. Illustrations of 105 trees and 21 stones are provided, one per page. The quality of the trees and stones is very good. Stone appreciation is a fairly recent development that emerged primarily among bonsai enthusiasts. Thus, it is not surprising that a significant portion of the information about stones is found primarily in bonsai literature. This book is a good example. The text is in Indonesian.
The stones illustrated in this book are mainly from Indonesia, although a few from Korea and China are included. Also included is a two-page introduction to susieki written by Mr. Mak Paiman, and brief background information about stone appreciation in Indonesia, also written by Mr. Paiman who has been a leader in the development of a stone appreciation culture in Indonesia.