Shou shan shi 壽山石

Shoushan Stone is quarried in Shoushan Village, 40 km north of Fuzhou City, Fujian Province. Glossy and wax-like, it comes in many colors and is one of the three most popular forms of stone traditionally used for seals. Includes Tiankeng (field pit stone—the most valuable of the Shoushan stone), Shuikeng (water pit stone), and Shankeng (mountain pit stone), each named for the source of each variety. A form of Agalmatolite/Pyrophyllite.

From: Niu, Kecheng. Chinese Seals. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2008. (p.39)

“Field pit stone is found in an ancient sand layer under the paddy fields along the two sides of a stream winding several km through Shoushan Township. The most precious tianhuang stone, whose value equals that of gold of the same weight, is found here. Of the water pit stone types, the shuijingong (crystal jelly), (the transparent body of the seal stones looks similar to the jelly and is therefore called “jelly”), yunaodong (fish brain jelly), dongyoushi (frozen oil stone), huangdong (yellow jelly), shancaodong (eel weeds jelly), taohuadong (peach blossom jelly), manaodong (agate jelly) and huandong (ring jelly) are all well known.”

Here are a few samples, gleaned from the web, of varieties of color available in Shoushan stone …


Shoushan stone, one of China’s most famous craft-carving stones, is mainly produced in the Shoushan basin in northern Fuzhou City, Fujian Province. Shoushan stone can be divided into four main categories, including the Tianhuang stone, Gaoshan stone, hibiscus stone, and Wenyang stone based on their production places. Significantly, the stone produced along the Shoushan river, also named Tianhuang stone, is honored as the “emperor of Shoushan stone” due to its great cultural and economic values. In gemology, Shoushan stone is classified as a colored gemstone. However, its common names are very complicated, which have been identified in more than 100 varieties by traditional custom.

Despite its complicated varieties, the mineral composition of Shoushan stone mainly includes kaolinite (e.g., kaolinite, dickite, nacrite), pyrophyllite, and illite group minerals.


Shoushan stone is also often used for sculpture …

  • Pinyin: shòu shān shí
  • Also known as: húshí (壺石 kettle stone) or tăshí (塔石 tower stone)

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