The Chinese people have always maintained a deep seated appreciation of rocks, which involves hobbies of appreciating rocks, collecting rocks, and painting rocks.
Mother Nature shapes rocks into various forms, and ancient Chinese scholars and nobles were all proud to own a rock of supreme quality.
The trend of appreciating rocks peaked in the Song Dynasty, of which a good example was the Chinese painter, Mi Fu, in Northern Song Dynasty.
Mi Fu once mocked himself, “Doctors can hardly cure my sickness which originates from my love of rocks.”
His story of bowing to rocks has been recorded in numerous ways.
Originally from Taiyuan, Shanxi province, Mi Fu, the famous painter and calligrapher moved to Xiangyang ,Hubei province and settled down in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province at his old age.
He was odd and obsessively tidy and often dressed up in traditional Tang Dynasty clothes.
Being talented in literature, Mi Fu also made great achievements in calligraphy and painting and cultivated his distinctive style.
Mi Fu, together with another three Chinese painters, namely Cai Xiang, Su Shi and Huang Tingjian, were known as “the Four Best Scholars of the Song Dynasty”.
Mi Fu was obsessed with rocks. When he was still working for the government, he once saw a rock of odd shape, was immediately fascinated, put on his formal clothes, and bowed to the rock.
The story has been passed down and later became the theme of wood carvings and paintings.
His actions have come to symbolize an appreciation for the aesthetic beauty of nature.