China's Extraordinary Natural Stone Paintings

Created at the dawn of time and coveted by China's ancient emperors. . .

China's Extraordinary Natural Stone Paintings

with Doug Schneiblestone painting

Thursday, October 28th, 2010
7:00pm, Free, Lawrence Memorial Library. For a map to the library, click here.

Doug Schneible, president of Schneible Fine Art in Shelburne will discuss the history, geology,creation, spiritual significance, and value determination of China’s natural stone paintings. Schneible has traveled to the Dali Prefecture and the Cangshan Mountains in southwestern China’s Yunnan Province to the mines where these special stones are extracted; meeting with craftspeople whose families have worked on this unique art form for generations. Collectors have revered landscape stone paintings "Shi-hua" for centuries, particularly since the Ming dynasty when Dali marble became a favored asset.

Doug Schneible and stone paintingAfter considerable external scrutiny, each selected marble slab that was hand cut from deep mountain cave mines, is carefully cut into thin slabs by experienced craftspeople, members of?China’s Bai Minority Group who have practiced this art for over four generations. If a cutter is lucky, the slab’s inner bounds reveal a palette and pattern of uncompromising natural beauty. Thus, a unique work of art is born. Natural inclusions found suggest heavenly landscapes: misty mountains, lofty peaks and meandering riverbeds. Well observed patterns known in Chinese as "Caihu" (colored flowers), "Yunhui" (grey clouds) and "Baishi white jade) describe valued contents.?

Today most Dali marble mines have been closed by the government because of environmental and other regulatory issues. Extraction and transportation is arduous and access is extremely limited to a handful of dedicated generations old Bai workers and "donkey" caravans. It may be a matter of a few short years before access to these mines is completely terminated.

For a map to the library, click here.

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