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This ink stick is fashioned after bamboo joints and has a gilded inscription of “Virtue as Jade” (Qi de bi yu) and the artisan mark “Hanpu Studio” (Hanpu zhai). Hanpu Studio was the name of a renowned ink store founded and operated by Wang Jie’an in She County, Huizhou. Wang was skilled at making all kinds of ink, including products made for tributary gifts and custom made orders for the literati. His ink products were diverse in form and have unique period features.
This ink stick has a distinctive shape. The bamboo-joint style was popular in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Bamboo has long been viewed as a symbol of a virtuous gentleman. The tall, straight stem represents honor while the hollow interior represents modesty. Literati of all types admired these characteristics. The unique shape adds rich meaning to the exquisite design.
Website version edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying