The Perfect Stone

This visual essay and collection of stones was first inspired by an interview I read regarding the then recent conviction of a young mother who was accused of adultery, and sentenced to death by stoning. The subject of the interview was the public official who was put in charge of carrying out the execution. In reading the interview I was struck not only by the horror of the penalty—what does it mean that in the 21st century there are still women being stoned to death—but by the thoughtful way in which this official ruminated on the correct way to carry out the sentence: a pit would need to be dug, many volunteers would be needed to throw stones, and the right size stones would need to be decided on. This last item,  though chilling, made me think—what is the perfect stone for killing a woman?

There are few outdoor places where stones are not plentiful, even in the town where I live, so I began looking for the perfect stone. What would it look like? What shape would it be? How large? Little things we take for granted take on new meaning when studied up close. Stones are natural and varied, they are often quite beautiful. They have no malice on their own. When drawing them they began to appear as fragile and helpless as the young girl whose recent death by stoning is described from an eye witness account below each image.

In the end of the interview, the public official drew his own conclusion of what the perfect stone would be as he held up his own closed hand  “about the size of a man’s fist”.

4 thoughts on “The Perfect Stone

  1. When I first read/looked at this post yesterday I wanted to leave a comment — but words felt so inadequate for what I was feeling — I was moved by the beauty of your drawings, moved by the terrible straightforward-ness of the words … It was such an intensely opposite reaction — how to describe it? Maybe I’ll just let the feeling … hang …

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I have enjoyed so much your thoughtful posts on the particular challenges of gender, motherhood, and finding the time and space to be creative.

  2. Pingback: Stoning in Syria | Smith-Garcés Art

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