Deciphering DC: Viewing Stones @ National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

Viewing Stones
Viewing Stones @ National Bonsai & Penjing Museum (Photo Credit: Jeremy Bailey)

Exploring DC should be on everyone’s agenda.

The ‘occasional’ series Deciphering DC highlights some of our discoveries during the frequent explorations.

I like exploring the National Arboretum, partially because in locales throughout there is a sense of keen remoteness where many of its features appear ancient or deserted.

The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum isn’t one of those deserted places, it like the Herb Garden next to it, showcase the parts of the Arboretum that are alive and vibrant. I do love walking around the bonsai and penjing trees, and wonder about the focus and patience it takes to grow the trees into works of art.

In the International Pavilion of the Museum, there is often rotating exhibits or collections. Since early August, the collection has been the ‘Appreciation of Viewing Stones of the World‘.

I know about the minimalist dry gardens of Japan, where sand and stone create a place for peaceful contemplation, but I’d never heard about ‘viewing stones’ as a thing. But it aligns with the aesthetic of bonsai, as a way to contemplate and respect nature.

Odd shaped rocks, of bold color and unique mountings, line the Pavilion, some from as far away as China and Indonesia, others from US states, like Maryland and California. They are like miniature dioramas of landscapes where you can imagine new worlds.

You don’t really have to like rocks to appreciate this, because when you go, you’ll also be spending time with the trees nearby.

The Viewing Stones are there through September 30th, so you have the rest of this week!

Explore the Arboretum, you will enjoy.

Until next time.

Viewing Stones
Viewing Stones @ National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Viewing Stones
Viewing Stones @ National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Viewing Stones
Viewing Stones @ National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Viewing Stones
Viewing Stones @ National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Viewing Stones
Viewing Stones @ National Bonsai & Penjing Museum
Viewing Stones
Viewing Stones @ National Bonsai & Penjing Museum

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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