Chinese literati have a long history of appreciating small ornamental rocks and collecting them as accoutrements, but these objects, which are known as "scholars' rocks", have rarely joined museum collections in China.
Among the few that have such artifacts in their collections is the Shanghai Museum, which launched its first exhibition of scholars' rocks on April 28.
During the launch, Shi Yuan, deputy director of the handicrafts department, shared a story about the rocks on exhibition, noting that all but one of them were donated by Hu Kemin, a Chinese woman who migrated to the United States in 1982.
"The research and authentication of scholars' rocks require great expertise in geology and natural history. It is a new and interdisciplinary field that has not been explored sufficiently by the museums of China," Shi tells China Daily after the launch of the exhibition.
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