Chinese Scholars Rock

A beautiful and quite large Scholars Rock for the interior of a home. This rock dates from about 19th century China and comprises figures and pavilions in a landscape setting. The boulder itself is an even pale green jade across the carving with a russet exterior and measures about 16 inches in height. The Scholars Rock is available for £1700 subject to prior sale. (Item 148).

The Chinese interest in collecting rocks for religious or aesthetic purposes has been traced back to the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) when Chinese connoisseurs began using large stones to decorate their gardens and courtyards. Scholar’s Rocks (or Gongshi) began as stones that resembled or represented mythological and famous mountains, or even whole mountain ranges in China. Some of these rocks are also appreciated simply for their dramatic form, their wondrous colours, or feelings they evoke from the viewer. Gongshi evolved from Chinese garden stones, which varied in height up to about 5 or 6 feet. Scholars’ Rocks are smaller than garden rocks and are selected for more refined qualities. The size of Scholars’ Rocks varies from miniature stones of about one inch to rocks of about 4 feet, the normal size however is meant to fit on a desk, table or windowsill.

To the Chinese scholars, these rocks represented a focus for meditation of religious or philosophic principles and served for contemplation prior to writing poems or painting and when small in size can be taken with the owner as they travelled. Although most rocks resembled mountains (both famous and imaginary), mountain ranges, overhangs and various natural wonders of the world, many also reminded the connoisseurs of famous people, animals, and mythical creatures. Above all, these learned Chinese scholars admired the rocks for “surfaces that suggest great age, strong dramatic profiles that portray nature at its best, with overlapping layers or planes that impart depth, and hollows or perforations that create rhythmic, harmonious patterns. The Scholars Rock comes in many colours with a pure even colour being the most desirable. They have become highly collectible in the last 20 years or so and command high prices.

Name Dimensions Price
Chinese Scholars Rock £1700