Reference work entry
This stone is called ‘Xuanyuan stone’ and ‘Beichen stone’ in Chinese, and it is a kind of iron-containing dolomite or siliceous limestone that is mainly mined at Miao (Temple) Mountain northeast of Pinggu in Beijing. The stone was given this name because there is a Xuanyuan (Regulus) Temple on this mountain. Regulus stone is light greyish green or greyish ochre and has a Mohs hardness of 4. It formed in the Sinian red earth, which had stained the stone surface a red colour. The stone is full of small cracks and undulating patterns like crocodile skin or a walnut shell; hence, it has the qualities of slimness, wrinkliness, leakage and penetrability. When struck, it generates an interesting clear sound. Large stones are ideal for landscape gardening, and the small ones are suitable for imitating natural scenery (Fig. 6).
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