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Bamboo Wrist Rest with Lotuses and a Crab

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: bamboo
Date: undated
Dimensions: length: 23 cm, width: 7.8 cm, thickness: 1.2 cm

Wrist rests were used to support the hand when writing with a brush, affording more freedom of movement than a hand resting on the paper or silk. The surface is carved with a scene of a pond with lotuses and a crab created through a complicated interplay of positive and negative. The artist vividly carved details of a crawling crab, worm holes and waving leaves. A notable point is the engraved curling leaves of the lotuses. The lower left corner is incised with a mark in seal script (zhuan shu), reading "Pine Hill" (Song shan).   
  The graceful design of shallow and deep incising combines superbly with the smooth brown surface. It displays the artist's outstanding skill and the elegance of the bamboo.

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