Jesús Quintas

I was born in Bilbao (Spain) in 1951. Though being a typical “urbanite”, during my youth years I made trekking in the mountains of Basque Country   (do you wonder I think they are the most beautiful mountains in the world?) and one of my dreams since then is to get a mount with rocks, trees and prairies.
For many years I devoted mainly to Conduct a professional career as economist in banking and in the Ministry of Finance. At this moment, I manage my own small firm of lawyers and economist; in addition, I give lessons at the University of Alcalá , as well as sminars and conferences on tax and financial matters.
But in 1987 I got in contact with bonsai and after a few month of hesitation (I guess love for bonsai is proved when you continue after the death of your three first bonsai) and I continue since then. Some time later, I heard something about accompanying stones, but I was not able to find suitable study books. At his this point, I assisted ’93 BCI Congress at Orland, met Msr. Rosa Bonet (from Barcelona, ) and through her the Yosimura/Covello book, achieving my first enlightenment.
My involvement with suiseki has led me to subscribe to European Suiseki Assocciation and to Asociación Española de Suiseki, and to participate in national and international exhibitions. I have also attended international congresses in Europe, and Asia.
To get stones, I often make rock hunting, mainly in North Spain and in Liguria . But I also get stones by interchange and by buying at the sale stalls often placed in or beside the congresses.
And, of course, I look in garden centers and pet shops for new findings as potential contemplation stones, better than in the bonsai/suiseki section.
I am specially proud for discovering the potential  of mopane and mangrove root as contemplation "root stones"
following a Chinese and even Japanese tradition (you should not confuse them with fossil wood stones).
To get a better understanding, I look for any book and article written in a Western language I can understand, dealing not only with contemplation stones, but also with oriental painting, gardening and cultural history, in order to understand the role played by this specific and, up to recent years, minority art. And, of course, I try to explore and anticipate next steps in its evolution.
Along these years in which I have been trying to design and follow my own path to suiseki art, that can be summarized as follows :
  • Japanese suiseki is a recent school in the arte, evolved in the last 150 years,but contemplation stones art cannot be fully understood without consideration of the underlying history coming from Chinese Scholars’ Rocks, dating back 1500 years, at least.
  • Western passionate people should be able to gradually construct their own evolution, firmly supported in the history and findings of the East.
  • Interaction among different schools and styles (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, American and European, to say the best known) should be able to communicate and interact, so improving this art even more.
  • As in bonsai and other arts, evolution is more often produced by a sequence of small and moderate changes, and only occasionally by isolated sharp revolutions.
  • It should be allowed to display stones of different schools and styles and evaluation should consider their specific characteristics.
  • The merit of a stone should be based mainly on their aesthetical characteristics, as they are displayed and only secondarily on its origin and history.
  • The merit of a stone should not be based on how was it collected (in nature, in an auction, in a fair or… in a construction warehouse or in a petshop) or circumstances of the owner(social relevance, wealth, or whetherhe was also the collector.
  • Rock alterations should be accepted provided they are subtle, not noticeable and improve beauty and quality of the piece as a contemplation stone. In particular, bottom-cutting does not decrease by itself the merit of a stone.
  • Roots and wood pieces can be occasionally treated in the same way that stones.
  • Theme, if it exists, should be introduced as a factor in stone evaluation and classification and, particularly, in naming the stone. A theme exists when the stone can be associated to a specific subject of art, philosophy and history, among others (Madonna, Mi Fu, immortals, dragoons, Li Po, Fuji, etc.). A well-suited theme name improves stone merit.
  • Contemplation stones are to be displayed according to its school, style and theme.
  • Understanding of contemplation stones requires not only practical experience in collection and preparation, but paying attention to study of their cultural and historical background as well.
I am confident that this declaration will help you to understand the motivations that underlie in my articles and stone displays, but obviously you do not have to share them, just think and enjoy.