my Book

Suiseki: The Japanese Art of Miniature Landscape Stones


As I've been updating my web site it's natural that I think back to when I wrote my first suiseki book (more on this later) . It was published in 1997, and was a labor of love as the old cliche goes, but it was well worth it. The suiseki community needed a book from an active field collector that was also trained in evaluation and aesthetics, and that's what I gave you. The book has been a terrific success, way beyond the publisher and my expectations. To all of you that have purchased one or even two books, I thank you.

When I said my "first book", I was referring to the fact that I'm in the process of writing a second book. It's going to be a book of essays dealing in detail with suiseki aesthetics and the dyad between Japanese and Western aesthetic influences and movements, evaluation, the notion of praxis and field collecting, issues of cross cultural sensitivity and appreciation. It will also deal with issues around stone classification, hermeneutics, etc. Please don't be too impatient. The book will probably take about two years so don't be in too much of a hurry.

My book received numerous favorable interviews from such well known suiseki artists as Luciana Queirolo, Jim Hayes, Marco Favero, Chiara Padrini, Joe Davies, and Hideko Metaxas, to mention a few.

Suiseki: The Japanese Art of Miniature Landscape Stones


Foreword by Arishige Matsuura



Color Plates

Plate Captions

Suiseki: A Brief History

Suiseki Aesthetics

Classifying Suiseki

Collecting Suiseki

Evaluating Suiseki

Displaying Suiseki



Stone Bridge Stone Bridge

My Publisher - Stone Bridge Press

The Eclctic Lapidary, vol.1, No. 8.

On Line, 7/01/97

Suiseki is an art form that will be readily understood by the mineralist and the rockhound alike. Both are accustomed to seeking the forms and colors of stone and mineral that please the eye and meet collecting goals. From here, it is an easy step to appreciating this ancient art. Felix Rivera provides a bridge between the two worlds in his new book, "Suiseki: The Japanese Art of Miniature Landscape Stones."

Suiseki (pronounced soo-ee-sek-ee) is a combination of two words meaning "water" and "stone." It refers to stone materials shaped by natural forces into the miniature forms of mountains, waterfalls, islands and even living creatures. The stone is not worked in any fashion, except for cutting to provide a flat base, and developing a patina over time through handling and applying water to the stone.

Rivera takes us through the history of the classical suiseki forms (Japanese collecting dates back over six hundred years), into the most recent use of western United States materials in the last decade. The global internet community will appreciate the section describing overviews of collecting areas in the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, Puerto Rico and Australia.

Suiseki: The Japanese Art of Miniature Landscape Stones covers a wide range of suiseki topics in a casual, easily read and highly informative format. Rivera goes beyond the history and aesthetics and covers practical information on classifying, collecting, evaluating, display and photography as well. The appendix offers definitions, additional information sources for clubs, societies, internet sites, maps and other resources. This book would be a wonderful addition to a rockhound's library.

Copyright, 1997 by Carol J. Bova

21 of 21 people found the review helpful: from

A thorough and lovely book, February 1, 2000

Reviewer: "papitaglass" (San Francisco, California)

"I own all the other books listed in the suiseki section, and have read numerous descriptions of the art of Suiseki as they appear in books on Bonsai,and I feel that Mr. Rivera's book was the first to help me understand what makes a suiseki different than any fascinating stone that I might pick up. The sections on aesthetics, and display were extremely helpful. And lastly, the photos were of terrific quality, and variety.It would be the first book I would buy on the art."

Suiseki: The Japanese Art of Miniature Landscape, January 8, 2001

Reviewer: Cassandra Barnes "Cassandra" (Yuma, AZ)

Looking for something new to do? Something out of the ordinary? Something inexpensive and relaxing?

Maybe its time to collect suiseki (soo-ee-sek-ee).

Felix G. Rivera, founder of the California Suiseki Society, explains how to collect and appreciate suiseki in his book, Suiseki: The Japanese Art of Miniature Landscape Stones.

Rivera began collecting more than twenty years ago. Since then he has written and lectured internationally about the centuries-old art of suiseki collecting.

New and experienced collectors alike will find his book interesting and helpful. Although they may look like nothing more than plain rocks to the casual observer, suiseki are very special stones. The forces of nature have carved them into miniature mountains, islands, waterfalls, and other landscapes. Some suiseki resemble humans or animals. Suiseki collectors are simply people who search for intriguing stones, which they bring home, clean, and display.

Among the benefits of collecting suiseki is time spent enjoying the outdoors and a fascinating stone that reminds you of the good time you had finding it. Rivera says "the true spirit of suiseki is a shared experience," and for many,the search is as pleasurable as finding that one perfect stone.

Suiseki are never machine cleaned or polished; collectors spend many relaxing hours lovingly hand-rubbing their tiny landscapes. Other than perhaps grinding off the bottoms so that they may be displayed, suiseki are not altered in any way by humans.

Rivera writes that "a suiseki may be viewed quite simply--as a pretty stone with a nice shape--or it may be viewed at various levels of complexity that embrace art, philosophy, or mineralogy or that serve as a metaphor for the connections between one's private world and the universe." He says that the various levels at which one can enjoy and appreciate suiseki make them not only art, but also enable collectors to "achieve personal satisfaction and peace."

He has filled his book with tips on where to search, what to look for, and how to clean and display suiseki. Rivera provides general and introductory material for new collectors, and detailed references for the more experienced. He includes drawings and photographs, including 32 full-color plates with detailed captions. The appendices include a glossary, bibliography, and lists of where to obtain more information, such as maps and collectors clubs.

In his forward to Rivera's book, Arishige Matsuura, Chairperson of the Japan Suiseki Association, writes "all that is required to enter the world of suiseki is to find something intriguing about the stone." Rivera opens the doors to that enchanting world with his comprehensive, but easy-to-understand book.