The Combined 38th All Japan Aiseki Association National Exhibition and the 2018 Hokkaido Suiseki Federation Exhibition.
The 38th All Japan Aiseki Association held their annual national exhibition together with the 6th Hokkaido Suiseki Federation at the Citizen’s Gallery in Sapporo, Japan from June 29 through July 1, 2018. The gallery with its movable partitions and lighting was designed for exhibitions of art objects such as viewing stones, bonsai, paintings, and scrolls. A total of 89 stones were displayed along with several bonsai, companion plants, and a spectacular dried trunk of a shimpaku juniper. Most of the stones were from Hokkaido, although some excellent stones from Honshu were included. A few viewing stones from North America and Italy were entered by foreign participants in this year’s exhibition.
Even though this joint exhibition was planned and staged by stone hobbyists associated with the Aiseki Association, the quality of the stones and displays was excellent. Dozens of volunteers converged on the Citizen’s gallery two days prior to the opening to set up tables, backdrops, and unpack and arrange the display tables, stones, scrolls, and accompanying items. Because of this, the cost of staging the exhibit was greatly reduced, resulting in lower fees which made the exhibition affordable to a larger number of people.
The Japan Aiseki Association’s exhibition is the best venue in the world to see the wide range of excellent stones from this northern-most major island of the Japan archipeligo. The exhibit was dominated by the well known dark stones from the Kamuikoton region of the Ishikari River, as well as the various colored, and often more rugged, stones from the mountainous Koutaro region of central Hokkaido. A smooth greenish colored stone known as Aotora also originates in the Koutaro area. The Koutaro stones are often large and used as landscape or garden pieces, while other smaller ones make nice viewing stones. Lesser-known stones such as Sengen, Rekifunegawa, Inagawa, and Tesiogawa were also displayed in this exhibition. The smooth textured Toyoni stones and the more complex scenic Pompira stones are of sedimentary origin. Jade, native to Hokkaido, was displayed along with more colorful native stones. The majority of the displays were traditional, consisting of a display table and scroll. One attractive low Aotora stone was displayed on a stand that consisted of a small tatami mat enclosed in a dark hardwood frame. A low rectangular wood screen served as a backdrop in this display.
There was a small sales area with several hobbyists/collectors selling stones, mineral specimens, and a few fossils found in Hokkaido. A dinner and auction was held on the first evening of the exhibit. A portion of the proceeds from the auction goes to the association to help offset the cost of holding a major exhibition. Nice stones were sold for very reasonable prices—often for a a fourth of the price the same stone and base would cost in Tokyo or Kyoto. The presence of nine foreign stone collectors helped to increase sales much to the delight of the exhibition organizers. At least eleven foreign visitors from Italy, Philippines, and the United States attended this year’s exhibition.
An illustrated catalog of this exhibit will be published by the All Japan Aiseki Association likely by September 2018. This catalog will be available from VSANA for non Japanese stone collectors this autumn. Watch this site for more information. The print run is limited to 200 copies, thus it is best to reserve your copy early.