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The literal translation of Suiseki is water stone. This refers from ancient time to the sites of stones. In or near a river or a lake, these often polished stones by the water found.

A suiseki is a "look" stone. Some of these stones depict a mountain, cliff or mountain range while other stones, sometimes with some imagination, showing a figure. This can be a human - or animal figure.

Originally Suiseki were exhibited in a water bowl. A low bowl filled with a layer of water where the stone was used. Nowadays zuiseki often shown in an artfully crafted wooden coaster. These are called Dai or daiza. For making a Dai or Daiza is usually a refined wood species, such as rose wood, or other precious type of wood, is used.

Sometimes Suiseki exhibited as a side with a bonsai. Good imaginative stones are rare and can be very costly.

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