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Book of Rocks according to the early cosmogonic theory that the One became Two, Two be­ came Three, and out of Three the multiplicity of things issued (Tao Te Ching, Ch. 42, and I Ching, Appendix III). In other words, the One can only be ex­ pressed through the Three. 2. Wa Huang was the mythical Nu Wa, sister and successor of the legend­ ary ancestor-emperor, Fu Hsi. Described as having the body of a serpent and a human head, she was a Chinese version of the snake goddess. She was con­ nected with painting because she was said to have melted stones of the Five Colors and repaired the inverted bowl of Heaven, which had been damaged by a rebellious god. Full title of this book: Book of Mountains and Rocks (Shan Shih P'u). ROCKS Indicating the three faces of a rock1 in the first stages of painting rocks In estimating people, their quality of spirit (ch'i) is as basic as the way they are formed; and so it is with rocks, which are the framework of the heavens and of earth and also have ch'i. That is the reason rocks are sometimes spoken of as yiin ken (roots of the clouds). Rocks without ch'i are dead rocks, just as bones without the same vivifying spirit are dry, bare bones. How could a cultivated person paint a lifeless rock? One should certainly never paint rocks without ch'i. To depict rocks with ch'i, it must be sought beyond the material and in the intangible. Nothing is more difficult. If the form of the rock is not clear in one's heart(-mind) and therefore at one's finger tips, as it was with Wa Huang,2 the picture can never be completely realized. I have, however, at long last learned that this is not so difficult to achieve. The three faces or aspects of a rock are to be found in the depths of its hollows and the height of its projections, in the rendering of which attention must be given to light and shadow (yin and yang), placing, and height and depth and volume. There are the following different formations of rocks: fan t'ou (alum head), ling mien (water-chestnut top), fu tu (half covered with earth), and tai ch'iian (source of a spring). While one must know the types of rocks, it is only through complete knowledge of their structure that the ch'i will emerge naturally as the forms are drawn. There are not many secret methods in the painting of rocks. If I may sum it up in a phrase: rocks must be alive. 1. As with the four main branches of a tree, the principle of distinguishing the three faces of a rock (shift fin san mien) contains the essence of the lao of painting. Rendering the solidity and volume of a rock, the sculptural aspect, is achieved by drawing or "writing the form" with the brush, an art essentially of line. Rock formations and types are keenly observed, but the main concern is to transmit the living quality of ch'i in them. The technical and aesthetic aspects are given an extra dimension of meaning by the symbolism of the Three Faces of a Rock; the rock or mountain as the One, the Tao, given expression through the Three (continued at left) 129 1 ROCKS Methods of grouping and establishing the forms of rocks I (Lu Ch'ai) said that the main thing in painting rocks was that they should be alive. Even before one indicates the three faces of rocks, their first outlining should be alive with ch'i. Each brushstroke should move and turn, with abrupt stops (tun),1 sinuous as a dragon. First, with light ink, place and outline the rocks. Then use darker tones to accent the outline. If one side is already dark enough, the other should be slightly lighter in tone to make the distinction between light and shadow and front and back. Whether one is painting a thousand or ten thousand rocks, this step in beginning to compose them is basic. There are, however, several ways of composing a small rock among large ones or a large one among small. Once the outlining has been done, the brushstroke for modeling (ts'un) should follow. Brushstroke methods vary among the different schools and the setting of the rocks determines their formations. Although there are many variations within the methods...


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