With origins extending back to the Han dynasty (206 BCE-CE 220), the practice of collecting scholar’s rocks is inextricably linked to the ancient philosophy of Daoism, with its fundamental principles of celebrating the dynamism of the natural world, and the escapism provided through the appreciation of the metaphysical. Seen as miniature representations of the broader landscape, scholar’s rocks were valued based on their likeness to the grandiose mountain ranges of China. For this reason, the worth of a ‘spirit stone’ would be determined by its porosity, striations, texture, elegance and the quality of its resonance when lightly tapped. The forthcoming London sale of Chinese art will feature a Danish private collection with a captivating array of scholar’s rocks.
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