Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Tarrah Krajnak

Reader 2

Lance Neckar

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© 2021 Beihua Guo


The monumental Taihu stones dominate the classical Chinese gardens as the focus of visual attention. For centuries, Chinese emperors, politicians, literati, and artists have proudly displayed their fetishistic love and philosophical appreciation of exotic rocks, embracing the harmonious relationship between nature and human beings in Chinese gardens.

This thesis is an interdisciplinary response to the tradition of rock appreciation in Chinese culture. My analysis of Classical Chinese texts as well as Western and non-Western scholarly sources examines the aesthetic qualities of garden rocks, Chinese lithophilia, and Grotto-Heavens. In addition, my photographic series Heavenly Rocks and Grotto-Heavens explore the juxtaposition between Yin and Yang, the monumental and the intimate, as well as the historical and the contemporary. Using digital photography and Van Dyke brown printing, both projects symbolize a quest for an idealized world and a utopian universe through abstraction.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.