lapis lazuli mountain

lapis lazuli mountain

Lapis Mountain


Lapis Lazuli Mountain




Lapis Lazuli



Carved Lapis scholar's rock in the form of a snow capped rocky summit.

Other info

Before I started cutting the stone I did several image searches for “lapis mountain” in English and Mandarin looking for inspiration and to see what can be done. The English search brought up several pictures of the large Qianlong era stone given to W. B. Yeats on his 70th birthday in 1935 by an admiring young poet, Harry Clifton. It is the stone that informed his 1936 poem anticipating WW2 and the implications for art of impending global tragedy “Lapis Lazuli”. The stones iconography is typical of the “jade mountain” genre: two scholar hermits followed by a third figure carrying a qin (a lute type instrument) ascend a mountain path through pines (symbolising longevity) to a pavilion while over flown by a crane (ditto), there presumably to jam, bevy and improvise verse; oh those old beatnik Taoists. I considered a local contemporary take on the same motif, however when I tried a drawing to the much more modest scale of my own 8.8 cm x 6 cm x 6.5 cm stone I could see it would lose its singularity and just look at best a pastiche. So also considering the possibility of the calcite element of the stone to represent snow I went for the simpler concept of a summit exposure of rock ice caped and smoored with snow on its northern flank. This in another way expresses the Taoist concept of the pre eminence of process, as opposed to the western focus on nonexistent ends. The mountain becomes dust (in making this object I have myself turned a small part of an Afghan mountain into very beautiful and carefully preserved blue dust), the dust will become in time again a mountain.
The stand came from a weathered strainer post given to me to burn after it serving at least three generations of Buchan farmer. I was startled when I cut it to find not creosote impregnated pine but tropical hardwood, I think teak. In a former manifestation it was a railway sleeper of the steam age. I imagine it more than a century ago being drawn from a Burmese forest by elephants, since when time has transposed to soil all but its densest substance.


Dimensions in centimetres excluding stand

Length, 8.83.14   Width, 6.05  Depth, 6.4 Weight, 383 grams