Dragons in the Clouds:A Chinese Taohe Inkstone

6 months ago

Lot No. :MSF-TH-191113
Feature:Taohe Inkstonee(1*), ancient Chinese sculpture art (2*), handmade.
Source:Private collection
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. Inkstones are much more than just practical items for ink grinding. There are two main types; one for everyday use and another for decorative or collecting purposes. In ancient China beautifully carved and inscribed inkstones made by famous artists were often presented as tribute or gift from one ruler to another. Some historical inkstones can be extremely valuable, with prices reaching as high as few million USD. Nowadays prices of good quality inkstones range from one to fifty thousand dollars. There are four famous regions in China that are well known for quality inkstones. These are: Duan inkstone (端硯), She inkstone (歙硯), Taohe inkstone (洮河硯) , Chengni inkstone (澄泥硯) .
“Tao” inkstones are made from jade colour stones mined from the bottom of the river Tao. They are very rare and quite pricey. Due to fact that the stone used for their production lay under the water for centuries, if not longer, Tao inkstones have extremely low water absorption ability, which is one of the main features of a good inkstone.
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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