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Inkstone with Carved Motif of a Dragon among Waves

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Period: Kangxi reign (1662-1722), Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: Songhua stone and mother-of-pearl
Dimensions: Inkstone: Length: 18.5 cm, Width: 12.6 cm, Height: 3.2 cm Box: Length: 19.5 cm, Width: 13.8 cm, Height: 5.3 cm

This inkstone is made of Songhua stone, which, named after the Songhua River in Jilin province, is from the Manchu homeland in the northeast of the empire. Being hard but extremely smooth, it is ideally suited for inkstones. Its brown and green striations create unique patterns. Because of its decorative potential and its origins in the Manchu homeland, the Qing imperial family was particularly fond of it. 
  This inkstone has an irregular piece of mother-of-pearl inlaid as a mountain surrounded by a dragon and waves, creating a scene of the legendary "Longevity Mountain and Fortune Sea". A poem composed by the Kangxi Emperor is incised on the base. Regina Krahl's translation (China: The Three Emperors 1662-1795, p. 422) is as follows:   
    Venerable age has made the material unctuous,   
    Green in color, clear in sound;   
    It enhances the ink and benefits the brush,   
    That's why we treasure it so highly.   
  The inkstone has a purple stone box, the face of which is inlaid with a piece of glass surrounded by incised dragons.

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