Referred to in the west as “scholar’s rocks”, gongshi have been collected by Chinese connoisseurs since the Tang dynasty (618-907)1. Appreciation of these ancient stones in the west began to develop during the last decades of the 20th century2.
Sometimes referred to as “spirit stones”, the organic, sculptural quality of scholar’s rocks inspired this composition in feather rock set on a Corian pedestal, with a small crown of moss and pilea. Waterfalls cascading through the rock’s many furrows and tunnels into the pool below create distinctive natural music.
Feather rock is far too soft to endure for the centuries typical of gongshi. But the volcanic origins of this stone offer opportunities to create contours reflective of gonshi, as in this composition.
1 Hu, K. (1999). The Spirit of Gongshi: Chinese Scholar’s Rocks. Chicago: Art Media Resources Ltd. p. 25
2 Gerstle, M. (2006). Beyond Suiseki. Arcata: Water Stone Press. pp. 15-23.