Suiseki, a Japanese term, is the abbreviation of "san-sui-kei-jyo-seki" or "landscape scene stone." Suiseki (pronounced suu-ee-seck-ee) are natural stones that suggest natural scenes or animal and human figures.
They are sometimes called 'viewing stones'.
I started learning about Suiseki when I was in California a couple of years ago
The display and appreciation of natural stones was introduced to Japan from China some 1400 years ago, and was gradually adapted to Japanese taste and culture. Collected in the wild, on mountains and in streambeds, and then displayed (often in trays) in their natural state, these stones are objects of great beauty. They are also sophisticated tools for inner reflection that stir in all who see them an appreciation for the awesome power of the universe. While honoring the history and culture of suiseki, California "viewing stone" collectors often depart from this tradition in color, pattern and abstract form.
Gualala Arts, a multi-million-dollar cultural facility situated on a beautiful property of tall pines in the little community of Gualala on the Northern California coast is home to art exhibitions, performing arts and community events of Mendocino and Sonoma counties
There will be a special Suiseki exhibition and presentations there on February 2nd 2013
Please check out their website.
The show runs through to the 24th.
Here's a 'double viewing stone' !
Heres one I found in Toronto, imbedded
in the sidewalk.
Here's one I brought back from California the last time I was there and added my own curve on the suiseki theme
Quite small really.
Zen gardens often incorporate 'special' stones which are very much like viewing stones.
Here's me trying to be a Zen-like stone.
Here's a rock that looks amazingly like an animal.