Silkworm Shaped Pool：A Chinese Duan Inkstone
Lot No. ：MSF-190226
Feature： “Silkworm Shaped Pool”, Duan Inkstone(1*): mazi pit, size 15.9x11x3.2cm, ancient Chinese sculpture art (2*), handmade.
1* The inkstone is one of the four treasures of a calligrapher’s studio (aside from brush paper and ink), although it is used in ink painting as well. Its history goes back to the New Stone Age era, 5000 to 6000 years ago, when various pigments were used to decorate pottery and other objects. The first inkstone was nothing but a pigment mortar composed of a grinding surface and a grinding rod. The inkstone is the most important treasure of the study. It is also the only one that if taken care of properly will last for millennia. The inkstone is considered to be the soul and core of a scholar’s room.
Duanshi stone (端石砚) from Duanxi, Guangdong (pictured at top). Duan stone is a volcanic tuff, commonly of a purple to a purple-red color. There are various distinctive markings such as eyes that were traditionally valued in the stone. A green variety of the stone was mined in the Song period. Duan inkstones are carefully categorized by the mines (k'eng) from which the raw stone was excavated. Particular mines were open only for discrete periods in history. For example, the Mazukeng mine was originally opened in the Qianlong period (1736-1795), although reopened in modern times.
2* Ancient Chinese sculptures, the essence of ancient Chinese arts, have attained great achievements in different sculpture branches and different historical periods. They are rich in subject matter and diversified in style, presenting strong and vivid flavor of the country as well as the age. For instance, the sculptures in the Qin and Han Dynasties are rough and sturdy, the sculptures in the Wei and Jin Dynasties are vigorous and graceful, and the sculptures in Tang and Song Dynasties are rich and elegant. The ancient Chinese sculptures are also full of expressionistic spirit. They are not accustomed to the surface work or the details, but stress on the feeling and artistic conception implied by the imagination-triggering image, which is able to lead people to another artistic world.
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