Stone gathered from the Yi River at Longmen

Historical period(s)
ca. 1910
Stone with wood stand
H x W x D: 3.8 x 4.4 x 1.9 cm (1 1/2 x 1 3/4 x 3/4 in)
China, Yi River, Longmen
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view



From 1911 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), gathered at the Yi River, at Longman, China, in 1911 [1]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [2]


[1] According to Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record, this stone was "gathered at the Yi River by Mr. Charles L. Freer, while at Lung-men." See Reserved Miscellaneous List, R. 5675, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


By mounting this stone on a wooden stand, Charles Lang Freer was likely showing awareness of the Chinese tradition of collecting and displaying Scholars Rocks (spirit stones). In this tradition, natural (as well as subtly, almost invisibly hand-worked) stones were regarded as art. However, Freer’s choice of river stones does not conform to the usual aesthetic codes by which Scholar’s Rocks were  chosen, thus his mounting of the stones places them in between the sentiments of a Westerner collector of geological specimens (with a strong souvenir interest because they are from Longmen) and the taste and aesthetic considerations of a Chinese collector of Scholars Rocks.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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