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Lose yourself in the endlessly rich variety of Chinese scholars’ rocks, or gongshi, in this catalog featuring a major gift of Chinese stones to the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the U.S. National Arboretum. This gift from recognized authority on scholars’ rocks Kemin Hu includes 50 types of stones, ranging from the traditional to the modern. Lingbi, taihu, ying and other stones have been collected from all over China and are presented here in nine thematic groupings. One hundred and seven stunning photographs allow readers to plumb the depths of this ancient yet dynamic art form.
Phillip E. Bloom, curator of the Chinese Garden and director of the Center for East Asian Garden Studies at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, guides readers through gongshi’s 2,000-year history and introduces them to some of China’s most passionate “lithomaniacs.” Featuring numerous illustrations and historical aficionados’ own musings in both translation and the original Chinese, Bloom’s essay cracks open gongshi’s history for a Western audience. A collector’s preface by Hu, as well as reflections on stone collecting by American enthusiasts, complete the catalog.
Stone appreciation is on the rise in the United States, although the English-language literature remains slim. Cultivated Stones is a valuable contribution to this growing field, not just an introduction for the interested novice but a scholarly advancement in its own right.