Mountain Heart

Ink and water-colour on Cloud-dragon paper.
Triptych:  3 panels each 190 x 97 cm
March 2013
With four seals of the artist, 水松石山房Shuisongshi shanfang  (‘TheWater, Pine and Stone Retreat’), 如如居士Ruru Jushi (‘The retired scholar who believes that all doctrines are equal’), 攜杖老人 Xiezhang laoren (‘The old man who carries the staff’), and 石石狂 Shishikuang (‘A Fool for Stones’)


The mist-born Hermit of a thousand peaks
Dwelling above The Sea of Clouds
Idly roaming in search of the strange
Spring fills ten thousand streams again
Free of the world of red dust
Seasons come and go unheeded
Standing stones and wild cranes befriend him
Strolling the wilderness beyond desire
Mountain Heart still drawn to enchanted pines

These lines were written by Mountain-Heart a Realized Man with whom I pleasantly sojourned in the mountains of Wan several centuries ago.  Like me he was a lover of strange stones, although he owned only three, all quite large, which he set outside his retreat.  The way he placed them, from one view it was possible to see them as writing, perhaps the character for ‘mountain,’ or  ‘heart’ - hence the name by which I knew him.  I don’t recall ever knowing his real name, such things mean little in the wilderness.  Reality is a difficult concept for Stone Fools and in truth his stones were not red, but he always wore a loose robe of faded material resembling courtly lacquer, the colour derived from the alchemist’s stone, so it seems appropriate to adjust the colours of reality to portray the man through his stones.  He was also once an alchemist, although he had long since transcended the realm of the unrealized mind, his consciousness transformed, so there was no longer any need for him to waste time trying to transform physical materials - his retorts, re-agents, alembics and crucibles had long since been discarded as empty baggage.  Today perhaps his stones are still there, blended into the mountains, hidden amongst the foliage and patina of the ages although his retreat must have long since turned to dust.  If so, they will not be recognized by their colour.

Inscribed by the Master of the Water Pine and Stone Retreat at the Garden at the Edge of the Universe reaching back outside of time to revisit an old friend in the burgeoning summer of 2015.