The art of enjoyment and appreciation of rocks and stones available in their natural state began 2000 years ago in china. This art form moved to Korea and Japan 400 years ago. Western world adapted this form of art only 100 years back. Asian forms of stone appreciation are well developed than the western counterpart.
Chinese people are lovers of nature and any forms that exist in nature including mountains. They are known for their religious beliefs and this love has brought forth beautiful work in arts including exquisite painting works and sculpting. Chinese love of nature prompted them to reconstruct the natural wonders into their garden by growing small trees and installing rocks representing mountains. These small version of rocks became the part of the scholars basic tools and eventually moved to Korea and Japan because of cultural similarity.
Collection of rocks by the Chinese has started during the Han Dynasty between 206 BC and 220 AD when large stones decorated the garden yards of Chinese royal families. Poems dating back to Tang dynasty (618-907) refer to the specialty of garden rocks and stones. The name scholar rock is given to the distinct small stones valued by the Chinese connoisseurs of the song dynasty. The interest area widened with the possibility of decorating them indoors for admiration and meditation.
Scholar rocks known as Gongshi in Chinese are considered a representation of mountains and mountain ranges of china with significant mythological history, forms, colors and the feelings of appreciation of its viewers. Gongshi are smaller stones of 5 to 6 feet high garden stones gifted among the highly educated and royal families for more than 1000 years. Gongshi means spirit stones identified by their location, stone type and quality.
Today garden rocks are found in solitary or group representation representing a single or range of mountains. High quality singles always have greater importance to groups of stones. Stones are found in white or gray color shades worn due to extreme weathering. Rocks with perforations and unique shapes existing today as Collectors specials are from a lake in Jiangsu in Taihu provice.
Black and slate gray stones are the high in demand stones and range in colors from shades of white to yellow and from red to black. The value of the scholar rocks are high due to the perforations, age, weathering undergone by natural forces. Today there are many rocks going through man made effects to add value to them by polishing and drilling and immersed in water to restore natural effects to prove their beauty. So careful analysis and consideration is required to identify the scholar rocks that have a everlasting beauty and significant attraction in them.