San Antonio Museum of Art set to unveil six-and-a-half-ton Taihu rock

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San Antonio Museum of Art set to unveil six-and-a-half-ton Taihu rock
Curator Shawn Yuan, Director Katie Luber, Curator Emily Sano, Board Member Rosario Laird.

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- One of the Museum’s newest—and quite possibly heftiest—acquisitions will be unveiled on November 6. The six-and-a-half-ton Taihu rock from the Lake Taihu region in Jiangsu province was given to the City of San Antonio by its Chinese sister city, Wuxi, and the Museum is its permanent home. The rock will be installed behind the Pavilion, visible from both the Museum and the River Walk, on a pedestal designed by Overland Partners. A delegation from the Wuxi government, San Antonio officials, and the Chinese Consulate in Houston will attend the November 6 unveiling and dedication ceremony, followed by a public event on November 12.

“This type of rock is considered an embodiment of the yin-yang dichotomy and represents harmony between man and nature,” said Shawn Yuan, Assistant Curator of Asian Art. “Some of the best of them are quarried near Wuxi on the shores of Lake Taihu.”

Made of limestone that has been dramatically shaped over eons by the natural action of water, Taihu rocks were appreciated aesthetically by the Chinese elite and have been sculptural elements in Chinese garden design for over a millennium.

The San Antonio Museum of Art is among only a few U.S. art museums to display such an impressive rock. In May, 2018, when the vice-mayor of Wuxi, Liu Xia, visited SAMA during the Tricentennial, Kelso Director Katie Luber proposed that a Taihu rock would promote Chinese art and culture in San Antonio. Impressed by the Museum’s collection of Chinese art, Liu agreed to this meaningful testament to our sister-city relationship, and a collaboration began.

To celebrate the Taihu rock, Elegant Pursuits: The Arts of China’s Educated Elite, 1400–1900 will travel from the Wuxi Museum, highlighting China’s long tradition of appreciating these spectacular rocks. This exhibition showcases twenty-six important works of painting, calligraphy, ceramics, jade carving, gold, and silver. Several of the pieces are by master artists and have never traveled abroad.

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