Jiulong Bi (Nine Dragon River) Stone

These beautiful hard stones have been admired by Chinese stone connoisseurs since the Tang and Song dynasties. They were described in Chinese literature by the famed travel writer and stone collector Xu Xiake (1587-1641). Other Ming and Qing dynasty writers describe them in poems.  t is reported in the Chinese literature that Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty had Jiulong Bi stones in his collection.

The appeal of this stones was due to multiple features—attractive overall form, multiple colors that are more subtle than bold, texture that is often wrinkled, and a hardness of 7.2 to 7.8 Moh.  iulong Bi stones originate in the headwater of the north fork of the Jiulong River as it flows from mountains to the sea in Fujian province.   Here, there are numerous small cataracts and pools in this scenic river. They are often exhibited as impressive landscape stones, but interesting figure- and pattern-shaped stones are known, especially among Fujian collectors of these stones.

Quartz, feldspar, and the silicate minerals diopsode and tremolite are the primary minerals composing this stone. The presence of actinolite may be responsible for the greenish color found in some of these stones. It is basically a silicaceous type stone which explains its hardness. Because of this, it is often described in the Chinese literature as refined, colorful, clear, rich, and with a surface that seems like a natural abstract painting. It is also called in Kowloon wall stone and Kowloon Bi jade.

Along with being appreciated as a viewing stones, this stone is carved to make various decorative and functional objects—tea sets, tea tables, figures, pen holders, seals, building materials, and even used as floor tiles. Care should be taken in handling these stones when actinolite is present. This mineral is a form of asbestos.

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