NOV 1, 2022 - JAN 8, 2023

Expand your imagination with stone viewing! From November 1, 2022 to January 8, 2023, the Puget Sound Bonsai Association’s Northwest Viewing Stone Club mounted Stone Images XII, the latest in a series of exhibitions of viewing stones at Pacific Bonsai Museum.

Scales of a mythical dragon, rugged black mountains soaring to one inch and a hungry bear fishing for a tasty salmon are among more than 30 viewing stones on display in our Pavilion. The show, Stone Images 12, is staged by the Northwest Viewing Stone Club which is a study group of the Puget Sound Bonsai Association.

Appreciation of viewing stones as a natural art form dates back at least 1,500 years in China, Japan and Korea, but only started to spread around the world late in the past century. Japan has a centuries-long tradition of showing viewing stones in formal bonsai displays. In China these stones are known as Scholar stones or gongshi. In Japan they are called suiseki while Koreans call them suosek. Today these stones are prized by collectors and there are viewing stone clubs on every continent except Antarctica.

Viewing stones are shaped by the forces of nature. The powerful action of water, sand and other stones in swift flowing rivers and streams over time create many viewing stones. So does the pounding coastal action of waves. Stones found in the deserts of the western United States are called ventifacts and they are shaped by wind-blown sand, frost and colored by chemical reactions in harsh desert environments.

There are numerous categories or classifications of viewing stones. The most commonly found are miniatures of mountain vistas, some which are enhanced by waterfalls, lakes, pools, snow and clouds. Shore stones represent islands and rugged coastlines. Celestial stones copy images found in the heavens including the sun, moon, stars and deep space. Object stones depict human or animal figures while abstract stones include fanciful shapes, patterns or color combinations.  When displayed a viewing stone sits in a custom-carved wooden base called a daiza. Stones also can be set in a sand-filled ceramic or metal container, on a fabric pillow, or on simple board.

The Exhibition is free and open to the public.

Stone Petting Zoo, Saturday, Nov 5 from 10am to 1pm (or later, if there is interest). Two club members will be here to answer questions about this ancient art. Also, you can pet and polish stones, see how custom carved wooden bases are created, and take home a small stone to keep for yourself. Free and open to the public.