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Item used in the Qing court An ink palette is a rimmed plate on which the artist smoothed his brush and adjusted the shade of ink. In the form of a gourd, this one is decorated with carved leaves, small gourds, and gourd vines wrapping along the two edges and the bottom. A vine even extends to the face of the plate. A red bat flies on one edge.
This symbolic design communicates "may you have more sons and great god fortune" since a vine links gourds that hold a large number of seeds, and "bat" (fu) is a homophone with fortune (fu). Parts of the pattern are stained to bring out the colors of the plants and bat. Although some colors are faded, it results in shades of dark and light which gives a touch of elegance. Serving a decorative function, this ink palette has exquisite carvings and a sprightly shape.