Stones gathered at Yi River by Charles Lang Freer
Freer’s visit to Longmen occurred just as serious looting of China’s cave reliefs and sculptures was starting in earnest. To his enduring credit, Freer removed nothing from the caves. However, alongside the masterpieces of Asian art in the Freer Gallery is a group of unexceptional stones, gathered by Freer from the riverbank at Longmen. The stones were transported back to Beijing and fitted with custom wooden stands—a humble testimony to the personal attachment he felt to the site. Later, he used them to hold open handscrolls during viewing sessions.