I am a collector of sorts: I pick up newly fallen leaves and make them book-marks, I collect feathers (peacock, Indian roller-wing, sea-gull, and pigeon), finding them homes in clay bowls or once again, books. Sometimes, I collect anything that catches my fancy. For many years, I kept in my possession a tender green pine-cone I found nestled at the foot of a pine-tree in a Rhine-side German town when I was eleven years old. It constantly shuttled from one surface to another in my room and I reluctantly threw it away only when I was going to university and had to prune my life of all those extraneous possessions that I had accumulated so far.
When I was little, though, I collected shells...and rocks. Oman's incredibly rich geological heritage meant that I only had to walk some distance from my home and find a huge array of different kind of rocks awaiting me. I possessed such a mania for rock collecting that I would return home with my loot of the day and write up detailed reports with accompanying meticulously water-colored sketches and drawings (yeah, I was a geek:) If blogging had existed then, I would have surely begun a blog to document my rock discoveries! Having exhausted text-books and library books about rocks in those pre-internet days and wishing to move beyond the igneous/sedimentary/metamorphic paradigm, I even sought out geological experts to show my reports and learn more; bless their souls, instead of dismissing me, they provided me books which were infinitely more sophisticated and technical in their breadth and scope of geological knowledge. I probably understood and absorbed little but I was fascinated to the point that I was even seriously contemplating becoming a geologist when I grew up.
And so I grew up...yet, that carefully maintained pile of rocks in my backyard eventually diminished before entirely disappearing altogether. While I still do occasionally collect shells, I cannot think of the last time I embarked upon a rock-hunting expedition or brought a rock home.
Yet, when I stumbled upon these incredible stone sculptures wrought by Japanese artist, Jiyuseki, I could not help hearkening back to those childhood days in which I found myself interpreting my surroundings through the language of stone. Jiyuseki's works reminded me of the reasons as to why I gravitated towards rocks: they were undeniably solid and impenetrable, and therefore, seemingly forbidding...yet, they were also simultaneously so beautiful through their colors, patterns, and textures. Furthermore, akin to a tropical fruit which may look non-descript on the outside, an otherwise dull-appearing rock would reveal gorgeous interiors within upon slicing through it.
Mining the language of stone to the fullest, these works are examples of stone poetry indeed. I love the fact that these sculptures celebrate the sheer solidity of the stone form...and yet, also transform it into something friendly, fluid and open to interpretation; it is reminscent of the manner in which wind, sunlight, water, and other chemical processes collectively combine to carve rock surroundings into natural sculptures, reminding us that rocks are not so indomitable, after all.
It has been a delight to discover these stone sculptures, jogging my memory cells of a childhood mania that I had almost forgotten about. These sculptures are also something that I can imagine adorning my work-desk, keeping me company while I write or muse or contemplate; they would be objects of beauty, inviting admiration, function, paper-weighting my clutter, and curiosity, eliciting attention.
All images courtesy Jiyuseki