Seal Name “Mountain Hare”


mountain hare seal

moon hare seal impression





肖形印 Xiaoxing Yin Picture Seal


Allegedly Shoushan Tian Huang stone


Yang cut. A running hare among mountains.


General Description

-Yellow stone carved as a hare crouching eyes closed against the wind. Red cord.



In July 2012 I bought on Ebay two yellow pebbles. They were listed as Shoushan stone, from a merchant from Shizuishan city, on the edge of the Gobi desert in Huinong district, Ningxia, China which is over 1,200 miles from Shoushan. This seal is the end of one of them.

I bid on the stones because they looked like Tian Huang stone although I was fairly certain they could not actually be such as the rare Shoushan Tian Huang  田黄 “field yellow” stones which are composed mainly of nacrite and dickite can be valued much higher than gold by weight.

Nonetheless they are yellow and field stones so at least Tian Huang in a generic sense (unlike many artefacts being sold as made of such which are coloured stone dust in resin).  There is a Javan softstone of a similar colour to Tian Huang (and sold under that name or as Batu Koneng) from several quarries in West Java, Indonesia but this is said to be becoming rare in its own right such is the high Chinese demand for it. As larger pieces of quarried stone they often have sharp edges and coarser 'skin' the colour is also seems much more homogenous than in true Shoushan stones which are mined from Shoushan (寿山), Fuzhou (福州), in the Fujian (福建) province of China(on the coast half way between Hong Kong and Shanghai.
On Taoboa stones from Laos and Vietnam as well as yellow varieties of Balin and Changhua are also being referred to as Tian Huang, which is after all in essence a description. As far as I can make out while struggling with auto translation some stones even seem to be attributed to multiple provenances but perhaps they are just saying it is like stones from the more traditionally regarded sources.

Back to my stones. Uncarved stones are of course harder to fake with synthetics than finished seals. What arrived were the two pebbles with a gift of two smaller Shoushan stones of more modest colours. They passed the hot needle/flame test for resin, and the abrasion test for a false surface coating. Although they seemed obviously of real mineral I did the first two tests anyway as sometimes smaller pieces of real stone are joined together or bad cracks are filled with wax or resin. They had the rounded form of the yellow field stone resulting from its natural travel from original seam to field, time developed 'skin' and the resulting internal flawing and the colour graduations of tian huang which is slowly stained over geological periods by metallic oxides in the soil. They have a few harder areas perhaps containing quartzite but otherwise their hardness is in the Mohs 2-3. The specific gravity is just over 2.9 which is denser than most nacrite type Shoushan but top of range for pyrophylite type making them nearly as heavy in the hand as jade, which rules out many common substitute stones such as brucite.

Dimensions in millimetres


34 mm


61 mm


31 mm