Dream stone.jpg

A Chinese Shih-Hua or ‘dream-stone’ in a wooden frame


18th century

H. 24.3 x W. 25 cm (stone)
H. 49.5 x W. 36 x D. 15.5 cm (including frame)

The mysterious mountains of Cangshan are known for yielding incredible and fantastic natural landscape ‘paintings’ in Dali marble, created over tens of millions of years from mineral inclusions that affected the process of ancient organic material which transformed into limestone and finally resulted in marble. Shih-Hua has been known in China since at least the Tang-dynasty (c. 600-800 AD) and became popular in the West in the 19th century when French collectors named it pierres de rêve. The striking patterns of the dream-stones somewhat resemble traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese paintings.