In Japanese, a suiseki literally means: one stone (seki)of water (sui), that is to say, one stone, usually small, exposed on a tray with water.
Like the bonsai, the Art of Suiseki was originated in China, where since ancient times there is a tradition of placing stones on a special beauty, on some kind of pedestal, trying to evoke islands, mountains, landscapes, etc.. generally associated with religious myths East (Buddhism, Taoism, etc.)..
The suiseki as we know at present, through Japan, is only the adaptation of these Chinese traditions to the Japanese customs and practices.
“Suiseki are stones which had been formed only by nature. Thy are collected and treasured for their original beauty and their power to suggest natural sceneries such as miniature landscape, for instance small mountains, or objects related to nature. As early as 2000 years ago, such stones were already collected and appreciated by high ranking officials and artists in ancient China and displayed together with calligraphies and pictures. Since the 6th century A.D. , this trend spread from China to Korea and Japan where it was developed in a different way. Nowadays this art form enjoys under different names popularity all over the world, but mainly in east-Asian countries.” (Willy Benz)