Its large size aside, the present rock is of outstanding quality. The extraordinary rock hanging over with jagged edges suggesting the form of a growling beast, interrupted by cascading layers of deep ravines and jagged ridges to create a powerful crumbling effect. The massive columnar white marble stand largely undecorated to draw focus on the colossal effect of the rock, boldly worked on the square base with layers of lotus lappets, leaves and stylised heavy scrolls echoing the cascading structure of the rock. A closely related lingbi example from the imperial gardens in the Forbidden City, Beijing (fig. 1), similarly fashioned with deep crevasses resembling undulating water valleys, is illustrated in David Ren, The Imperial Rocks, Hong Kong, 2000, pp. 84-85, no. 21. Like the present example, the rock was raised on a white marble stand, carved with ferocious dragons characteristic of the Yuan dynasty.
Lingbi stones are found at Mt. Panshi, Lingbi county, Anwei province. The black stones are the most prized. In Dongtian qinglu (Pure Record of a Daoist Cave), Zhao Xigu of the Song dynasty wrote, 'Lingbi stones are located not on the mountains or valleys but deep within the earth. They can be found only by excavating. Their colour is like black lacquer, and they may be laced with thin, white veins like jade.'
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