The Meat-shaped Stone, a piece of jasper, is one of the National Palace Museum's most popular artifacts.It was carved by an unnamed craftsman of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).Take a closer look, the rock's naturally formed intricate layers are presented before your eyes.The lively and intricate marriage between natural and artificial parts can be seen from the rock at bottom to the dyed pork skin with man-made pores on top.
The ingenuity of its maker turned a piece of lifeless rock into a piece of tender and juicy stewed Donpo pork, made famous by Su Dongpo (1037-1101), one of the great Chinese writer, cook and gourmet. In "A Praise to Pork", he said, "Take it easy and do not rush. When the time is done, perfection will come. ... Now I am full and that is my life."Another writer of his era concurred, "Wrap it up with leaves and bath it in steam. Cover it with gravy when it is ready. Brownness in my eyes is as good as art. Soft and warm, I can break it with my chopsticks." The Meat-shaped Stone is a speechless statement of both Chinese people's love of beautiful stones and the civilization's gourmet culture.No wonder Su once praised, "The world is full of preciousness for our gastronomic enjoyment."
Are you feeling hungry after seeing this stone?