Rabbit: Chinese Scholar's Rocks - Kun Stones, Chicken Bone Peak

1 month ago

Feature:Chinese scholar's rocks (1*) - Kun Stones (2*), Chicken Bone Peak.
Size:33x36x12 cm
Collector:Chen Zhigao
Source:Private collection
1* Chinese scholars' rocks, also known as scholar stones or viewing stones, are naturally occurring or shaped rocks which are traditionally appreciated by Chinese scholars. Scholars rocks can be any color, and contrasting colors are not uncommon. The size of the stone can also be quite varied: scholars rocks can weigh either hundreds of pounds or less than one pound. Chinese scholar's rocks influenced the development of Korean suseok and Japanese suiseki.
2* Kun Stones, or Kunshan Stones, are one of China’s four historically famous stones along with Taihu, Lingbi, and Ying.Kun stones are beautiful, delicate, fragile white stones that quality Kun stones are rarely seen outside China due to their rarity in markets today despite having been prized for nearly 1,000 years in China. The stones were mined from Ma-anshan (Ma-an Mountain), a small hill in Jiangsu Province. The Kun stones consist of a complex assemblage of quartz druses that must be carefully cleaned to expose their delicate structure and white color. They are mostly small- to medium-sized stones ranging from only a few centimeters high up to ones 60 to 90 cm in length or height. Kun stones are one of the oldest types to be collected and appreciated for their beauty and interest in China.
Produce in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, Kun rocks are made of berg crystal formed in dolomite from siliceous liquid that filled the holes and tissues of the rock. To make them suitable for display is quite complex. They are typically pure white to pale yellow, soft, with numerous crevices, holes or thin overlapping small plates. They are fragile and break easily. The quality of Kun rocks only becomes evident after prolonged exposure to the sun for five to six days followed by repeated washing of the mud in the holes. After hundreds of years of extraction, they have become quite rare and successive governments have banned their mining.
Kun stones were frequently the subject of many famous Chinese poets. Zhang Yu (Yuan dynasty) described them in his work Gaining Kunshan Stone as “The hidden circles are bones of the immortals, heavier than water there is a cold fragrance. The alone root standing in the snow supports the zither, small blossoms produce clouds and water the ink stone.” Lu You (Song dynasty) wrote in one of his poems “Acorus calamus from Yan Mountain and stones from Kun, one fist of (kun stone) is worth a thousand gold.” Many other writers and poets composed songs and poetry to praise these stones. Siren (1949) wrote that Kunshan stones were used to plant dwarf tree and irises and that they also were placed in bowls and used as miniature landscapes. Kun stones can be purchased in certain markets, especially in Shanghai and in Jiangsu Province, for reasonable prices, with the exception of Snowflake Peak or a Chicken Bone Peak stones which command a premium price. Bases made for these stones are often elaborate to match the complex nature of the stones.
Stones of this type are rare: Snowflake Peak, Chicken Bone Peak, Jellyfish Peak, Walnut Peak, Bay Berry Peak, often reveal their standing and value in China. Other types are typically inferior in quality to those listed above.


For more information, visit Shanghai Viewing Stone Collectors' Association