For Artwork in Focus we explore individual artworks, critiquing their style and discussing their socio-political context. Today we look at Sculpture in the form of a Nine-hole Scholar’s Rock (2001)
About the Work
Title : Sculpture in the form of a Nine-hole Scholar’s Rock
Year : 2001
Medium : Hammered, assembled, welded, and highly polished stainless steel; edition 3/8; with incised signature of the artist (in Chinese) on the back reading “Zhan Wang 2001 3/8”
Dimensions : sculpture only: H. 70.3 x W. 44.3 x D. 20 cm (27 11/16 x 17 7/16 x 7 7/8 in.)
Location : Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Sculpture in the form of a Nine-hole Scholar’s Rock
According to the digital catalogue of the Harvard Art Museum :
“Scholars’ rocks are regarded as “stand-alone” items, meaning that they are shown individually and are typically presented on a carved wooden base…Often streaked with white or buff, Ying rocks are typically black or slate gray in color, and they characteristically exhibit the “bubbled” surface texture that is such a prominent feature of this handsome rock.”
This particular piece represents an interesting trend in East Asian art and cultural practises. Scholarly rocks are simply beautiful rocks found in nature that decorate the houses of scholar’s, who draw inspiration from them. This piece however, is a sculpture based on a scholarly rock – thus making it abstract sculpture. Art historians have often compared abstract sculpture to the collectible scholarly rock in that both have fluid form. One may also compare such rocks to ‘found objects’.
Sculpture in the form of a Nine-hole Scholar’s Rock (2001) is housed in the Harvard Art Museums in Room 2620. It is part of the museum’s collection of East Asian Art.
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