Chinese Scholar's Rocks


(Chinese Viewing Stones)

You will notice that I often use the words "viewing stone" and "scholar rock" interchangeably. The reason for this is simple, the Chinese Scholar's Rocks are quickly becoming part of American Viewing Stones. Many of us have grown up using "suiseki" as the only term for such stones. Japanese suiseki criteria formed the basis for defining good and bad characteristics of our stones. As interest in the aesthetics of viewing stones increases in the West, many are now looking at scholar rocks as an adjunct to more traditional "suiseki" criteria. 

Whichever name you use, one of the key aspects of viewing stones is the suggestability of the stones. True suiseki, scholar's rocks, penjing, sosuk, or viewing stones should "suggest" something to the viewer, not be a precise miniature representation of the object. 

Scholar's Rocks are classified by the place of their origin. Such rocks are either from that specific area or are "similar" to rocks found in that area.


Lingbishi - Lingbi, Anhui province. Black limestone; medium gray limestone highly eroded but without perforations; buff limestone; green limestone with peaks, grottos, stalctites and stalagmites. Many colors and types. Most renowned are dark in color. Some have traces of red clay in bases. Often have resonance. Surfaces are grooved and channeled from erosion of slow-moving water. Original cave rocks are dark gray or black.

Taihushi - Lake Tai, Jiangsu province. White perforated limestone with significant erosion. Also black limestone. Wuxi, Zheijiang province. Swiss cheese appearance with many holes, limstone but lighter in color than Lingbi or Ying Shih.

Yingshi or Yingdeshi - Yingde, Guangdong province. Black limestone perforated with peaks and grottos; dark gray Ying limestone. Ying-shih rocks; dark gray limestone, grooved or channeled and striated. Distinctive surface dimpled and pock-marked.

Qilianshi - Mount Qilian, Gansu province. Black limestone.

Zhauqingshi - Zhauqing, Guangdong province. Off-white limestone with multiple perforations.

Shoushanshi - Shoushan, Fujian province. Mottled yellow soapstone or golden silica in the form of quartz. Shoushan stones are divided into three catagories according to presumed source; field, water, or maountain deposits. They are often further divided based on color and internal markings.

Changhuashi - Changhua, Zheijiang province. Soapstone.

Huanglashi - Guangdong or Guangxi province. Yellow wax stone with surface that almost appears to be partially melted, or with naturally polished surface resembling wax. Collected in riverbeds. Possibly jasper.

Hongheshi - Guangxi province. Quartz stones found in the Red River, Guanxi province

Muhuashi - Zhejiang province. Petrified wood found in many locations. It is very hard and often retains the appearance of the original wood.

Juhuashi - Yung river, Hunan province. Chrysanthemum stones.


Laoshan Lushi - Laoshan green stones.

Kongqushi - Malachite.

Lusongshi - Turquoise.

Duanshi - duan stones.

Shoushanshi - Soapstones.

Dalishi - Marble.

Qixiashi - Qixia stones.

Xuanshi - Xuan stones.

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