Like the stones used for garden and scholar’s rocks, objects made of root wood, such as the present sculpture, embody the Daoist concept of qi, the 'spirit-energy’ of which all things are made. The organic forms of these materials were appealing as they conveyed a sense of humility and a connection to nature. Although initially chosen for their natural shape, these pieces were often enhanced or worked by hand in order to emphasize or clarify certain characteristics in the material, all the while aiming to retain the inherent authenticity. As Richard Rosenblum writes in Art of the Natural World, Boston, 2001, p. 15, “In Chinese Art, form is not only an aesthetic issue, but a mystical one, always containing within it the possibility of transformation – a concept rooted in Daoist cosmology. “ In the present root wood sculpture, the natural pattern of the roots’ growth, its qi, has been enhanced by the exemplary finishing of the surface, which over time has acquired a rich patina.