According to legend, stones have been revered in China since at least the third millenium B.C., when they were presented as tribute to Emperor Yu, a mythical sage-ruler. Stones were prized and collected for display in gardens and, probably, interiors from the Han dynasty onward, and by the Tang dynasty a true literature of stones had appeared. This tradition of stone collecting, which was to find its ultimate expression during the second half of the late Ming dynasty, focused on stones as representations of the universe in miniature, or, more precisely, of the inchoate energies that created the universe. The most treasured stones were those with strange and bizarre shapes suggestive of remote and numinous mountain peaks or of Daoist paradises.
In April 1999, The Art
Institute of Chicago presented an exhibition of more than thirty-five of these sacred Chinese stones, along with related paintings and objects, from the Ian and Susan Wilson Collection. The accompanying catalog explores the history of stone collecting in China and the connections between stones, Daoist philosophy, cosmology, garden design, interior decoration, painting, and woodblock printing.
|Publisher:||University of California Press|
|Product dimensions:||7.50(w) x 10.25(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Stephen Little, Pritzker Curator of Asian Art at The Art
Institute of Chicago, is an authority on Chinese and Japanese art. His numerous publications include Visions of the Dharma: Japanese Buddhist Paintings and Prints in the Honolulu Academy of Arts (1991) and Du Jin: The Life and Art of a Ming Dynasty Painter (1996).