View Stone Association of China (VSAC)
Appreciating natural artistic stones was a custom in ancient China and an integral part of the lives of many poets, artists, calligraphers, writers, and civil servants. In modern China, the appreciation of stones is thriving and has expanded, especially over the past thirty years. It is estimated that four to five million people collect view stones in China today. There are hundreds of thousands of business enterprises and institutions associated with viewing stones. As a result, many regional and local organizations throughout the country were established to assist and promote this hobby and business.
On August 25th, 2005, the View Stone Association of China (VSAC) was founded as a national, nonprofit, industrial organization to assist on a voluntary basis enterprises, institutions, and individual stone hobbyists and to promote stone appreciation. VSAC operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Land and Resources and the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Madame Shou Jiahua, former Vice Minister of Lands and Resources and Director General of the China Geological Survey, was selected as the chairperson of VSAC. Under her energetic and capable leadership, VSAC has played an important role in assisting and promoting stone appreciation nationally and internationally.
VSAC works closely with cities and regional governments to identify current and potential sources of stones that are suitable as view stones, and to assist in staging major national and international exhibitions of stones in various provinces and regions of China. Many of the important exhibitions are co-sponsored by VSAC. The View Stone Association of China also provides assistance to cities and their economic development agencies for the planning and construction of major museums devoted to stone appreciation. The new museum in Wuxi is an excellent example of the joint cooperation of VSAC and local governmental authorities.
The Association has five departments, a general office, a membership and organization development department, an operations department for accreditation, an exhibition service and external relations department, and an education and training department that manages and produces books, magazines, and their web site, www.gss.org.cn. VSAC has both individual and corporate memberships for Chinese citizens. Foreigners who have made significant contributions may be granted honorary membership.
VSAC publishes a national, monthly magazine, BaoZang (Treasure in English), that contains articles about various aspects of the stone appreciation industry as well as articles and numerous color photographs of outstanding stones for collectors. Each issue is approximately 150 to 160 pages in length. The society also published a monthly newspaper, Paradise of View Stone, for current news, events, and other relevant topics. These two publications along with the web site provides ample information to their corporate and individual members.
Since VSAC was established, two subsidiary organizations have been established. One is a committee of theory research and science to carry out academic research and academic exchanges relating to stone appreciation. The other is the Lingbi Stone Committee of VSAC that is charge of theory research, resource investigation and information specifically about Lingbi stones.
While there are regional magazines and other publication on viewing stones, VSAC has assumed the national leadership role. Learning the extent to which the national government supports stone appreciation in China may help enthusiasts in western countries understand why this hobby has become so popular among millions, and how magnificence, major, new museums can be built in different regions.