In ancient China strange and marvelous stones were valued for their beauty and as reflections of the hidden structures underlying the universe. Stones were seen as fluid and dynamic, constantly changing, and capable of magical transformations. Certain stones were believed to be able to speak, to emit clouds and rain, to predict the weather, to move about of their own accord, and to heal. Fantastic stones were perceived as mountains in miniature, imbued with the same primordial energies that made up peaks sacred to both Daoist and Buddhist traditions. Like the human body, stones were believed to be born, to live, and to die, just as were mountains themselves.
The exhibition focuses on the most extraordinary painting of a stone ever created in China: Wu Bin’s Ten Views of a Lingbi Stone (1610), a Ming dynasty handscroll comprising 10 separate views of a single stone from the famous site of Lingbi, Anhui Province. Also including superb examples of Lingbi and Taihu stones and contemporary Chinese ink paintings depicting stones, this exhibition explores the history of collecting strange stones in China and the relationship between stones, Daoist cosmology, and classical Chinese poetry.
This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. For more information, please visit exhibition website.
WING FUNG YAU 邱榮豐, Smog Clouded the Grotesque Rock 雲抱詭峰，2014，Ink on paper，144 X 72 cm
The exhibition view at LACMA. Photo credit: LACMA 洛杉磯郡立博物館“吳彬：《十面靈璧圖》”展覽現場，圖片來源：LACMA
WU BIN 吳彬 TEN VIEWS OF LINGBI STONE《十面靈璧圖》，圖片來源 Photo credit：Marcus Flacks ed., Crags and Ravines Make a Marvellous View: A Study of Wu Bin's Unique 17th-Century Scroll Painting Ten Views of a Lingbi Rock (London: Sylph Editions, 2017）