The Seventh Gorge of Shu exists beyond the Stage of Time, making it difficult to exactly pinpoint the many times I have sojourned there over the centuries. Apart from its other-worldly, paradisiacal setting, and its capacity to erase distinction so easily, the light is always strange and revealing. Among its many treasures are strange stones, found in its river, brooks and caves, of a myriad different types and colours as if some imaginary god of Strange Stones had brushed forth his entire palette in one glorious setting. One cannot leave with even the smallest stone, as it becomes heavier and heavier the closer one gets to the dusty world so all remain there, but since I return frequently that is no problem. Today I paint a little likeness of one strange stone that stays in my memory. It was small enough to be set in a wood stand which I carved from an ancient pine, several branches of which had died and become desiccated by the elements over the years. It grew from a cliff high above my retreat. The stone would change colour depending upon the light and time of day. Pinkish at dawn, it was blue-grey during the day, turning to purple at sunset. After a little of the local plum wine which had properties quite unlike any other I have ever tasted, one never knew what colours it would become after sunset. There dwelled in it a host of strange creatures and fellow hermits who would keep me company.
Inscribed by the Master of the Water, Pine and Stone Retreat at the Garden at the Edge of the Universe, gazing wistfully back from the Stage of Time, my brush dripping cinnabar from adding a coat of lacquer to the stand which did not have one when I first made it. Sussex, August 2015.
Signature: With two seals of the artist, 水松石山房 Shuisongshi shanfang (‘The Water, Pine and Stone Retreat’), and 石狂 Shikuang (‘Stone Fool’)
About The Master of the Water, Pine and Stone Retreat 水松石山房主人
British, based in Hong Kong