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.
Oriental Excellent Stones.
Published by Korea Suseok Research Institute. 622pp. No ISBN number.
This large-format book, 38 x 26 cm, is a photo album of Taiwanese, Japanese, and Korean stones from these three countries. Approximately half of this weighty volume is devoted to Korean stones, while the remaining half is devoted to Japanese and Taiwanese stones. Typically, each page has a photograph of a stone and a close-up of a portion of the same stone. The name, size, and owner of the stones are given in all three languages. There is a short paragraph accompanying each stone, also in the three languages. A major advantage of this book is that viewers can easily compare and contrast stones from the three countries. A wide range of base types can be seen along with the frequent use of bronze and ceramic trays to display stones. This is an interesting look at Asian stone appreciation just prior to rise of modern stone appreciation in mainland China.
Jeon-won Publishing Co., Seoul. 150 pp. ISBN: 89-333-0030-9. 10,000 won (about $10)
This is a nice edition of an introductory book about stone appreciation based largely upon Japanese suiseki guidelines. The first 48-pages present excellent photographs of Japanese stones, including descriptions and a brief history. This is followed by other introductory material including basic types, shapes, features of quality stones, steps in making a base, and basics of display. Information about collecting stones and where to collect in Korea is an added feature.
Natural Stone Catalog. (然石譜 ).
Chang Joon Geun Publisher, Privately published. 135 pp. Not for sale.
This is a catalog of 105 Korean stones nicely displayed one per page in this catalog. Each entry is labeled in Chinese and Korean along with the measurements. The title page is in Chinese, a reflection of the use of the Chinese language by the Korean literati for many years. The majority of the stones are displayed in trays—bronze and ceramic—with coarse light- to tan-colored sand. Other stones are held in typical Korean styled hand-carved wooden bases. There is a propensity for dark, rugged landscape type stones in this volume.