The Five Stone Fools of Taihu

Ink on Artistico + Fabriano paper
With one seal of the artist: 石石 Shishi (‘Stones’)
55.8 x 76.8 cm
Hong Kong, May 2012


It was not until recently that I had the pleasure of meeting the Five Stone Fools.  It is perhaps strange that I never heard of them before, since they were obviously men after my own heart and as a rule the Brethren of the Stone, even across the centuries, either met or knew of  each other by reputation, or by inscriptions on stones and stands.  But these five remained hidden.  It was not until I was prompted to respond with the brush to a small Taihu stone that belonged to a dear friend that we met.  I had been living with the stone for the best part of a year before I decided to paint four aspects of it on a single sheet of paper. I had barely started before I sensed something strange happening.  Instead of the rock emerging on the paper, I found myself in the company of five Stone Fools, fellow lovers of the strange, as they sought out, and edited with the chisel, stones found in the mountains of…who knows where? They were a motley band of fellow aficionados, but jolly companions and instant friends, for what Stone Fool can resist the company of another?  It is a different and intriguing realm beyond the stage of time. There one expects the unexpected, but it was a delightful surprise to find five new companions of the heart where all I had expected to find was one image of a small, Taihu stone.  Tonight we celebrate our meeting with a little plum wine and a fine fish, and no doubt the conversation will turn to the strange, perhaps the song of the chisel will be heard, but if not then certainly the song of the of the qin or of the wind soughing through holes in a strange stone.

The Five Stone Fools of Taihu, Inscribed by the Master of the Water, Pine and Stone Retreat, at the Garden at the Edge of the Universe, in the Summer of 2012.