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wong tsz mei Art Blog

The beauty of stone

by tszmei , January 4, 2011—05:26 AM

Topics: accomodating manner, inner cultivation, jade, pristine stone

Jade is stone;in fact crystal,jadeite,ruby,sapphire, et cetra are none other than stones.Their being deemed as precious stones and standing out from the same kind are nothing more than the excellent quality,the unique beauty which make them of position. Whether it is jade,or precious stones, they all have alluring color and luster comparable to that of gold. Therefore the desire of wearing the precious stones as to enhance our beauty are evoked. They are categorized as jewelry and are treasured up for fear of damaging it. We tend to overlook some stones which candidly expose themselves in the wide- open area and undergo the endless erosion,severe test by rain and wind. All the effeminacy and luxury are scaled off and the austere spirit manifests. This is a kind of natural wonder which is beyond the creation of manpower.

People who like to collect such kind of natural wonder mostly love the eroded stones produced from the provinces at Tai Woo county and Ying De county in China. These kinds of stones lie in water near the waterfront so the quarry workers have to dive in the water to chisel the stones of groteque shapes with their iron hammers and chisels. If the stones are really big ,it would be bundled up with thick ropes and winched out of water by the apparatuses installed on ships. The type of stones,with criss-coss grains all over the bodies, because of the swash of stormy waves make the surface covered with a lot of concave holes,be named as ___the holes of billiards___. The large rocks would be choosen as the rockeries placed in the courtyards or gardens allowing some majestic feeling be added to the charming sights. As for the small rocks,placing on the teapoys or decorating the bonsai would be applicable to the enjoyment of admiring the beauty. Whether it is rockery or intricate stone,it should have a proclivity of vicissitudinous charges and then would suit the taste for particular appreciation. Some arty virtuosi heard that somewhere the famous garden fell into disuse and had some old rockeries for sale,or they noticed some stones bearing the inscriptions of some celebrities being brought to market; they would offer a high price to buy it. In fact,such kind of stones is the same as that in the mountains or at the wilds,for they are exposed to the weather in the same way.As there is no difference of the stones,so why should we separate the old from the new?

What is the criteria do we use when judging the quality of the stones for appreciation? Ancient stone evaluative terminologies are penetrant,thin,wrinkled,leakage,ugly,stubborn,clumsy. Judging from the adjectives, the traits of the rockery are insulated with the elegant,splendid ambiances,and we also do not want to be linked with such descriptions. This is something out of the compass of human power, and should be ascribed to the extremely fine craftmanship of Mother Nature. Man with the superiority of its own wits established the modern world invested with our form of values, we habitually thinking , planning and persuing the goal in life according with the established orientation. We are accustomed to the complacencies of the pursuit of well being and blissfulness,being under the impression that we are the ruler of the existing world.Only when nature bring its mightiness into full play,destroying our constructions and paralyzing our transportations, then we would realize that who Is truly the master. Those wrinkled thin rockery,ugly clumsy stone is the masterpiece of nature who finished it effortlessly. Thus masterpiece is a microcosm of the real circumstances outside our comfort zone. Placing it in our own created little world, the meteorology of nature would be led into our living environments.

The stone collectors besides knowing how to choose stones,they also have to know how to arrange them. Some stones should be placed on the ebony pedestals,some rocks should be put in the container with water,that should not be misplaced. Moreover,the ebony pedestal with stone should be put on small table adjacent to the bright window;while the stone in basin should be situated at the winding balustrade. To speak of the stones of the bonsai, only those showing stratiform resembling the folds of mountains could manifest the momentum of nature;what is more the set-up of the bonsai should also be attentive. The flowers and plants growing on the stratified rockery should be compact with vigorous branches,and futhermore even a small spot of moss,a little stem of grass should also be laid out meticulously. With all these elaborations facing the bonsai, our ideological levels transcending the boundaries of the physical environment,get into contact with the vast ,boundless space of thousand miles away.

Therefore not only the glittering stones of the quintessence of mother earth are valuable,but those recorded the vestige of ancient history with the leakages and sores are also priceless.The long distant past, the time scale over which unpreditable changes occurred in matters left them retaining some indefinate duende. Ancients had a saying:the millenary turpintine dropped into the ground and turned to be amber.Also said that: the ice which had gone through thousands of years, changed into crystal. It is a metaphor about the spotless beauty of the unflawed limpidity of ice anologious to that of crystal. Such glacial beauty as a goddess of northland ,coupled with the remote indistinctness, seems having an aura of mystery. No wonder the mediums would use crystals as a vehicle to communicate with the unknown territories. Refering to practicality,in China at the Stone Age there were tools making of crystals,which have been produced at many places,almost in all provinces, in China. The rough classification of crystals is ___the nothern black,the southern white___. The southern area of China produces clear,colorless stones which are hard and as shiny as glass; the northern area of China produces crystals black in color. Some crystals are purple for the mixture of manganese;when the mixture is plant that the color would be dark brown being named citrine. Furthermore,the crystal with the mixture of other kind of stones, cross-grained, it__™s popular name is___haired crystal___, and the course-grained is named ___bristle crystal___. All the above mentioned is the main sorts of crystal which is a kind of common and ancient gems. China is a vast territory with abundant resourse, where produces many kind of stone with different temperaments, but only one kind of stone which would consubstantiate with human as an organic whole. Only jade was deemed having the affinitive nature with human.

One of the reasons is that jade is moderate in temperament with mild body temperature. It is suitable for wearing all the year round compared with other precious stones which should only be wore in summer, especially not to be wore in winter. It is because other stones__™ cold nature with the indistinguishable biting chill which could harm the health of the wearer. The innate sleek and warm character is the inherent virtues of jade.Such properties of jade could better the blood circulation of human body,could milden our nature,that was why the ancient people wore jades all the time. The other precious jewelry attracts people__™s attention by it__™s glaring luminosity. Ancients thought that such splendors were the remaining internal heat skimming over the surfaces of the stones,and such light is pleasing to the eye,not to the heart. The glory of ancient jade being latent within is a kind of solemn and quiet aura assimilating with the awe-inspiring bearing restrained inside of a sage who preformed an accommodating manner. Therefore the integrity of jade is much more superior to the general stones ten million times.

The photo shows a cup shaped container with the height of 12.3cm which was carved and polished from a jade. This is an antique of Han dynsaty(from B.C.206 to A.D.220).From it__™s partial erosion with brown and purple color,we can see that it is an unearthed relic,not being handed down from generation to generation. This was originally a treasure of the collection of Qing court;now in the possession of the Palace Museum. It is a wine container named ___Vessel with Phoenix and One-legged Dragon Motif___.Mostly the unearthed jades were furnishings and accessories,so it is rare to excavate a whole piece of jade curved in the shape of an utensil. Moreover,both the body and lid of the vessel without damage were skilfully and delicately carved the low relief of the variant dragon and phoenix pattern, contrasting with the three-dimensional sheep heads__™carving which symbolizes good luck.The handle of the vessel is cloud-shaped form and the bottom of it are three beast__™s legs. The whole vessel is the combined craftsmanship of sculpture,relief and linear engraving.It embodied the beauty of pristine and sprightly,which being constituted in a harmonious whole. It is a national heirloom for there is no other one in China. Furthermore,the finishing touch on the translucent aura of mystery by the hand of human,with the earthy flavour of it__™s being excavated from underground; consequently, there is certain inwardness between human and jade.They are interrelated and interacted on each other.

Therefore the ancients thought that jade is a living material and have strong affinity with human. When the jade was lay hidden in the earth,it would absorb the immediate elements into its body.Then the action of acidification in its body occurred,which led to the loss of properties of itself after a considerable period of time. There is a saying in the past: The buried jade,in the course of one thousand years, it__™s quality is similar to stone;two thousand years,it__™s appearance is associable with decayed bone;six thousand years without exacavation,it would decompose as mud. However no matter how rotten the jade is, as long as being unearthed,in the caress of human__™s hand, the character of jade would gradually recover. When the jade comes to life again,it would evacuate the differentiated matters out of its body,or would melt the absorbents into its veins,and then produce a kind of pulp to fill in the gaps. As a result,the original color of the jade changes,or beautiful patterns appears. Undergoing such noticable transformation in it__™s appearance, the whole body of the jade becomes even more grossy,much more glittering and translucent,coruscating extraordinary splendor. In the past,such action of transforming was named as___ casting off one__™s old self___,which in a certain sense is quite similiar with the transfiguration of a mortal who thoroughly remould oneself is reborn as a celestial being.

Therefore nothing can rival the sublime status of jade in ancient China, and the extent of using jade in daily life is vast,from the important affairs of state,such as sacrificial rites,grand ceremonies,royal engagements,the seals for the emperors,ect.,to folkways and civil life,for instance,betrothal gifts,study apparatuses,accessories,tableware, wine containers,even the ornaments of houses and chariots. Jade had blended in every aspects of life far back in history and could be considered as the prevailing custom of a given time. Therefore at that time wearing jade was the necessity for gentlemen and they would not put away the wearing jades without reason. Besides,the close affiliation of jade and human was personified as an affinity between oneself and the Sage whose virtuous spirit redolent of pristine ideals would always remind us of the continuing efforts of inner cultivation. By making unremitting efforts, we would some day turn into a Sage. Nowadays, in this modern world,most people adore the flashy beauty,and few people have a strong admiration for the inner beauty of the pristine stone.



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