Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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A ‘yellow wax’ scholar’s rock

  • Description

    A scholar’s rock is usually a naturally formed stone. It can be of any colour and size. Such stones were used to adorn a scholar’s desk in his studio and represented mountains, while acting as indoor versions of the magnificent natural stones that were installed in gardens and palaces. In the Tang dynasty (AD 618–907), a set of four principal aesthetic qualities for the rocks were developed: thinness, openness, perforations, and wrinkling.

    Among the four major stone formations of scholar’s rocks in China, ‘yellow wax’ rocks come from the Lingnan region of China and are mainly composed of andesite with silica, therefore they are as hard as jade. The term ‘yellow wax’ may derive from their purity of colour and the glossy surface. Its golden caramel colour and natural perforated form rank this rock among the finest of this type.

    Inscriptions on the back of the rock suggest that it may once have belonged to the Chinese collector Xu Shizhang (1889-1954).

  • Details

    Associated place
    Asia China (find spot)
    AsiaChina Lingnan region (probable find spot)
    AsiaChina Jiangnan region (probable find spot)
    inscribed 1936
    Associated people
    Xu Shizhang (1889 - 1954) (said to have been owned by)
    Material and technique
    yellow andesite and silica, polished; wooden stand
    rock 35 x 50 x 43 cm (height x width x depth)
    stand 16 x 48 x 26 cm (height x width x depth)
    Material index
    inorganicstonelava andesite,
    organicvegetal wood
    Technique index
    formed carved,
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Presented, 2013.
    Accession no.

Past Exhibition

see (1)


    • Ground floor | Room 11 | Chinese Paintings

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