Lingbi Stone

Scholar's Rock - Lingbi StonePlace of origin:
Lingbi County, Anhui Province

Mineral composition:
Calcite and other limestones

Ranked first among the four types of famous Chinese Scholars Rocks. These are found in Lingbi county of Anhui Province, China. They are fine-grained, delicately textured limestone and lie deep in the red mud of the Qingshi mountains. Naturally shaped, they need no cutting or carving. Depleted after generations of mining, high quality Lingbi are now quite rare. They are hard and an ordinary knife cannot cut them. Their mineral composition is such that they produce a metallic, resonant sound when tapped. Hence they are also called ‘resonant rocks’ (bayinshi). They were sometimes used for making chimes and are thus also known as ‘chime rocks’. Lingbi rocks are beautiful and clear-cut, with a frame of soft lines. Combining masculine beauty with antique simplicity, they have been admired by connoisseurs for centuries. In the Northern Song dynasty, Emperor Huizong wrote this inscription on one Lingbi in his collection: “The mountain is high while the moon looks small the water ebbs and the rock juts forth.”

Taihu Stone

Scholar's Rock - Taihu StonePlace of origin:
Jiangsu, Henan, Guangdong, and Guangxi Provinces

Mineral composition:
Limestone (calcite)

Found mostly in the vast drainage areas of Tai Lake, these limestone rocks are hard but brittle, with slight variations among those taken from lake beds and those extracted on land or from different districts in the surrounding environs. Those formed underwater are more precious, because of their fresh, soft color and their multiple, linked perforations produced from years of wave and water erosion. With their pale gray or ivory tint, Taihu rocks are usually large and are regarded as the best garden rocks. Artificial hills made of Taihu rocks give the appearance of strange peaks looming up or chains of hills connected by streams and bridges, with successive peaks along narrow, twisted paths. Small Taihu rocks of good quality are rare and meant for indoor appreciation. The beauty of Taihu rocks comes from their thinness and wrinkles as well as their as their perforations and hollows which enhance their open appearance.

Ying Stone

Scholar's Rock - Ying StonePlace of origin:
Yingde County, Guangdong Province, and Guangxi Province

Mineral composition:

Limestone (calcite)

Tradionally produced in Yingde, Guangdong province and in Guanxi province, these rocks are limestone with calcite deposits. less hard than Lingbi, they are often full of furrows with twisted lines on intricately textured surfaces. Notable for their diverse shaped, they appear to embody a thousand hills and valleys, and so are well-suited for representing a far distant landscape. Their typical thin, wrinkled appearance often exhibits traces of sawing and cutting with distinguishable front and reverse sides. The best known example is called ‘Winkling Cloud Peak’ in Hangzhou’s West lake, China.

Mohu Black Ying Stone

Scholar's Rock - Mohu Black Ying StonePlace of origin:
Liujiang County, Guangxi Province

Mineral composition:
Limestones (calcite)

Also known as black Ying stones, these are formed by erosion of lake water. Like Taihu stones, they are characterized by their shou (thinness), zhou (wrinkles), lou (hollowness), and tou (transparency), but they are more diverse in shape and with gentle, smooth lines on the surface. In addition, collectors take a great fancy to the pitch black color of Mohu stones. Other Mohu stones have white streaks on the surface; those with many gorgeous white streaks are know as “white-streaked Mohu stones” (baihuamohu), a rare and precious stone type.

Smooth, elegant, and with gently undulating lines on the surface, Mohu stones excel in the features of traditional scholars’ rocks, resemble modern art as well, and so appeal to the tastes of interior designers. Mohu stones appear in colors other than black, including, deep gray, but these are not commonly seen. Like Taihu stones, Mohu stones are not as hard as Lingbi and Ying stones.

Zibowen Stone

Wen rocks are found in Zibo, Shandong province. They are decayed rocks composed of lime, granite or clay stone. Aesthetically wen rocks have a naturalness and antique simplicity. They have a weathered look with dots or crossing lines on the surface and a variety of wrinkled forms. Among this type are aragonite rocks which are usually black and very hard. Wen rocks portray a feeling of “pu.”

Yellow Wax Stone

Yellow wax rocks are found in many places in China including Guangdong, Guanxi, and Ganxu but not in great quantity. Their gentle shape and smooth texture is neither thin nor perforated, but dense. Composed either of andesite with silica or sandstone, they seem hard as jade. A distinctive feature of yellow wax rocks is their purity of color.