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Title

Grey Taihu rock

Artists

Unknown Artist

No image
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    China
    Media category
    Sculpture
    Materials used
    stone
    Dimensions
    187.0 x 80.0 x 60.0 cm
    Credit
    Purchased 2003
    Location
    Upper Asian gallery
    Accession number
    338.2003
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  • About

    In China the appreciation of Taihu rocks has a long history. In the Chinese garden, Taihu rocks play the role of sculpture in Western gardens. Taihu rocks are essential elements of Chinese painting and literature. The Taihu rock takes its name from Lake Tai, about one hundred and twenty miles from Nanjing by water transport, a place famed for its rocks for about a thousand years. The typical Taihu rocks are hard and glossy, with strange configurations of hollow 'eyes' and twisting peaks. They have a net of raised patterns all over, their surfaces covered with small cavities, worn by the action of wind and waves. The rocks may be produced in the waters of the lake. Du Wan, a rock connoisseur of the twelfth century wrote in 'Yunlin shipu' ('Stone catalogue of the cloudy forest') about how people collected the Taihu rock in his time: "Those who harvest these stones dive for them, mallet and chisel in hand. A very toilsome business. When a fine specimen has been cut free, it is bound with huge ropes and then winched up into a large boat." But the same type of rocks may also be found underground.

    The Chinese interest in rocks has been closely associated with the cosmological idea and the thought of immortality. A rock with its eroded surface and twisted peaks is a symbol of the cosmic mountain that functions as an intermediary realm between heaven and this world. It serves as a symbolic link between man and the realm of the spirits.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, October 2003.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    China

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition