A.I.A.S. Congress and Exhibition - Edition 2013

21st - 22nd  September 2013

XVI National A.I.A.S. Congress Edition 2013

National Exhibition of Suiseki
Franchi Bonsai Center

Ponte all'Abate - Pescia (PT)


Report and photo by Mr. Carlo Laghi
Photo Gallery (requires Flash Player)                
Photo Gallery Other Stones(requires Flash Player)                
The venue “Franchi”. It seems a word as many others : for we lowers of the Japanese culture, it means so much.
The family Franchi since the beginning of the ’80 years was known solely for the nurseries  and  the commerce of plants; then Costantino  experienced the bonsai and become fond of it so to place together a fine number of exemplars.

In those times, the pioneers of Bonsai in Italy could be counted on the fingertips : they  deeply know all each other.

At half way of ’90 years , one of them  Mr. Werter Paccagnella  run out; the widow  after various contacts , left to the family Franchi  all the bonsai collection of her husband  on condition that they should take care in the times to come.

On purpose there was made ready a pavilion  to house the Paccagnella  collection: it was inaugurated  in 1996. Now some story of Italian bonsai is well displayed  at the Franchi  also because  near to the pavilion  stands the Franchi Bonsai Museum  in memory of Costantino .  Do you know who is taking interest  of it ? Mr. Franco Santini , smiling in the left photo.

I have found the time  during the A.I.A.S. Congress , to visit it, plants kept as relics , of 50-70 years old.

To those passing by those places I deeply suggest  to stop at Franchi and visit the Museum, the Paccagnella pavilion and why not, the shop.
The outsides :    
The Paccagnella pavilion   The watchman of the nursery   The selling point
Exemplars for…  Museum :
Pseudocydonia chinensis….40 years old   Ulmus parviflora ….250 years old   Picea abiens…. 80 years old
Juniper chinensis … 50 years old   Pinus pentaphilla …. 70 years old    
The environments : the preparation of the exhibition.
The potentiality of the environments  put at disposal, was high: 110 linear meters prepared, as to say spaces for 110 stones. The friends of A.T.A.B.S., Tuscany Association of Bonsai and Suiseki lovers  of Florence, have furnished the fittings, a thanks to all those who have been prodigal in this important stage of an exhibition.
I have to say thanks to the essential pre-selection carried  out, it has allowed to fill up  all the spaces, leaving to the biggest stones more than the regular linear meter.
From July 2013 the Franchi Museum is embellished by a new tokonoma of welcome: in this occasion  “The Flight” the suiseki of the AIAS President Mrs. Luciana Queirolo, welcomed the Visitors.
All has run smoothly and around 10.30 -11.00 hrs. on Saturday the exhibition has been opened
A group photo, together with our guests   The Luciana’s suiseki   A view of the exhibition hall….it starts
The judge : Mr. Jesus Quintas, his critics
One of us : As you know  Jesus is Spanish (born in the Basque country and resident in Madrid) is with us of AIAS  since 2008.  He , is author of the book “Qseki 2009” where he tells how he sees the suiseki , accepted to judge one of our congress in Florence  for the 2012 year, but then the events induced to organize for the 2012 the “Willi Benz Memorial” with judge the widow Mrs. Gudrun Benz and Jesus  accepted to postpone to 2013.
His has been a very hard task, for the high level of stones exhibited;  late in the afternoon of Saturday  he had as “finalist” 9 stones in the category “Landscapes stones” much valid  and he had to select 3 in addition to the eventual trophy.  His words “ it has been hard  to leave 5 stones  from  finalists” and he has spoken in an comprehensible  Italian and we all have very well understood  .
These words have been said at the awarding  during the gala dinner  and repeated on Sunday morning  together with the evaluation criteria  before the round comment criticism on the awarded stones and not only. This criticism system  on the stones awarded and  on others, on request of those present  as well as some  particularly intriguing case, is  on my  opinion much valid : in presence of the owner  and with his consent, the stone or the stones were turned, shifted making them easier so much  to improve the exhibitions  ;  taking others in hands and turning them slowly they offered  different options, from various views  of a bird perched  on a trunk, one better of the other, to a human figure and  all valid.
In front to the winning  stone of  the Trophy   An abstract figure , many the suggestions   Looking to let us see a small bird
  Another example : the biseki of the side photo  has been taken off  from the daiza  and the under part  of the stone has been positioned  in front vertically: in the whole  it was more intriguing .  The owner  “ wanted  to cut” this stone  in “slices”  to make 3-4   picture-cards to hang as some Chinese stones,  but Jesus has strongly advised against it.

Another criticism  evidenced for two  near object stones  with same display : the potentially  inferior  stone with  suitable daiza and kusamono  resulted winner  in respect  to the near potentially superior  stone. 
As regards the judge evaluations, some  members  during the General meeting had asked that in the future all stones were judged  giving them a score  (as Mrs.Luciana Queirolo did  as judge for the AIAS Congress 2005 appraising the value of the stone , its display  and the emotion  that it awaked), but nowadays, with the number and with level of the stones  which is increasing year after year  and the times always more and more limited it is no longer  possible, especially with foreign judges.
A consideration of Jesus :” I do not understand the category of stone to contemplate, since  all stones have to be contemplated “
Personally, as I hope many others, I do accept  the judgement and the criticism on the stones : the Jesus vision  was superior to mine,  in fact it evidenced all potentiality of the stone in examination , furthermore he included  in his comment two or three magic words “in my advice – my opinion”.
Let us listen with attention...   Suggestion…. a lower table   Suggestion ….. to improve the levels
The stone out of contest  of  the judge Mr. Jesus Quintas :
Object stone
  “ Do not disturb”
  An accompanying object

  Object stone
"Flying carpet"
 A new meeting : Mrs. Silvia Orsi and the accompanying herbs.
I do not remember before now , inside of  an AIAS Congress, an intervention of an expert who was not  but on the stones : Mrs. Silvia Orsi , author of the book “Spontaneous plants  - Shitakusa and Kusamono”  has enriched our knowledges  on  this important component of exhibitions.
On Saturday afternoon he has explained  and showed us the best coupling, the hooking with the season, and not last the Tempei (Typically Japanese small bronzes) and their employment.

“Why we place an accompanying item  to a suiseki or to a bonsai ? To transfer  emotions , with  elements  which immediately  transport the observer’s imagination towards a natural environment. A sassifraga  for example, immediately identifies  the mountain  environment , but some times, also for the difficulty  of cultivation  of these small plants, one brings in exhibition what one has , or which is better”.
This the Silvia introduction which after accompanied us in the analysis of the stones’ couplings with essence, in her opinion, more succeeded. Her botanical competence was well known  to us but has positively surprised us her enthusiastic involvement in the observation of the stone.

What…instead of the deers near to a waterfall stone?

  A saxifrage cortusifolia “Rokujo” : perfect  for a mountain and to denote the autumn   A beautiful tenkei accompanying a  pool stone , but also an equisetum could work well.
 An awaited moment : The Awardings.
  It is sufficient  to look the satisfaction on the face of the new members awarded, as in the side photo Mr. Pietro Prudentino: people can  be the same happy  if thinking to be more lucky in the next Congress.
The assignment  of the Trophy has particularly pleased me : with this I have reached the third , but no I am not  the winner of the Trophies , I have only taken part in the manufacture  of their daiza and so I  feel them  a little also mine.
In addition to the AIAS awards have been assigned the plates U.B.I. and  I.B.S. and furthermore have been granted A.I.A.S. plates to the judge Mr. Jesus Quintas, to the family Franchi and to Mrs. Silvia Orsi.
...Mrs. Virna Marchi, winner of the AIAS Trophy  at her first attendance….. together with me   .. The photographer Mr. Carlo Laghi ….. awarded and photographed !
  ...Mrs. Daniela Schifano  while receives the
”UBI President“ award by the UBI Vice President Mr. Leonardo Pettinari.
Thanks ...
The judge Mr. Jesus Quintas   ... Mrs. Silvia Orsi   ... the Franchi family
The friends : Aias members.
44 members of which 38 present  have registered 104 stones, of  which 101 in contest (the stone of Luciana in the tokonoma and the stones of Jesus were out of contest).
By category :
Biseki = 3
Stones to contemplate = 7
Pattern stones = 6
Stones on multi stand = 8
Object stones = 29
Landscape stones = 48
For the biseki category  only the first prize has been assigned since only 3 stones have been registered, and they should be 5 at least  for awarding three prizes.
The AIAS Board  should discuss on the possibility to grant eventual Mentions of Merit according to the number of stone registered in the Object category and particularly  in the Landscape Category.
As I told, there was a great attendance to the Congress, attention to the criticism, the Members are becoming mature and increasing. In my opinion , the most important thing is to gather together happy to see ourselves, inevitable  the stones exchanges , the experiences on daiza and on finishing varnishes.
At the time of greetings  I have asked to many participants how it had gone : all have been enthusiast of these two days  spent  together.
 Mr. Carlo Laghi
 Without forgiving ….. the classic recognition to the  stone winner of the 2013 A.I.A.S. Trophy,  which has been granted  to a landscape stone  of a new member, Mrs. Virna Marchi.
2013 A.I.A.S.  Trophy

"The mystery of the mountain"

Landscape Stone

of  Mrs. Virna Marchi

The suiseki who obtained the prizes for Category and UBI and IBS awards were:
"Landscape Stones" Category

1° prize to

Mr. Felice Colombari
"The coco"


2° prize to

Mrs. Daniela Schifano

"The dwelling of the White Tiger"


3° prize to
Mr. Giuseppe De Vita
"Shelves " Category

1° prize to

Mr. Claudio Nuti

"The scenery of the approaching  autumn is almost ready" 

2° prize to
Mr. Sergio Bassi
"Autumn in far away lands" 


3° prize to

Mr. Carlo Laghi

 "A weak light guides my steps"

"Object Stones" Category

1° prize to

Mr. Antonio Marino
"The wise man"

2° prize to
Mr. Pietro Prudentino
"Moby Dick" 


3° prize to

Mr. Renzo Rabitti

Without name


"Biseki" Category

1° prize to

Mr. Giuseppe De Vita

"Tuscany landscape"


"Pattern Stones" Category

1° prize to
L'Arte del Bonsai Club"



2° prize to
Mrs. Daniela Schifano
"Plots of branches, sparks of light"
 3° prize to
Mrs. Pilar Guillen
"Stones to admire" category

1° prize to

Mr. Attilio Valdifiori

"Abstract figure"

2° prize to

Mr. Renzo Rabitti


 3° prize to
Mr. Marino Nikpal
"Remembering Michelangelo"
"I.B.S. Plaque" Award
Judges : I.B.S. Istructors Mr. Angelo Attinà and Mr. Ezio Piovanelli

 Mr. Primangelo Pondini

"Landscape Stones" Category

"The dark mountain"

"U.B.I. Plaque" Award
Judge: U.B.I. Vice President  Mr. Leonardo Pettinari

Mrs. Daniela Schifano

"Landscape Stones" Category

"The dwelling of the White Tiger"