Inkstone, ink stick, brush (硯, 墨, 筆).
- Natural inkstone, Japan.
- Ink stick, partially used, made by Yidege, Beijing.
- Two small writing brushes, made in Shanghai and Huzhou.
Gift of Xia Wei and Soren Edgren.
This modern-day inkstone, brush, and ink stick are three of the proverbial “Four Treasures” of the classical Chinese scholar’s studio (paper being the fourth “treasure”). Common desktop utensils, they were used to produce manuscripts and to annotate texts. Inkstones hold ink, while also providing a surface for grinding ink; they can also serve as a paperweight. Ink sticks often display fine examples of calligraphy and can include elaborate images—features prized by collectors. Brushes were used for writing on bamboo and silk before the invention of paper, with the earliest examples surviving from the 3rd and 4th centuries BCE.
From the collection of Rare Book School