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Songhua Inkstone with Peach-shaped Well

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Period: Yongzheng reign (1723–1735), Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: Dimensions: 11.5 cm × 7.7 cm × 1.2 cm

This rectangular inkstone is made of Songhua stone. The deep well is carved in the shape of a peach. The bottom has an incised inscription in regular script: “Tranquility as utility, for perpetuity.” The work also bears a seal mark (Yongzheng nian zhi) noting its production during the Yongzheng reign (1723–1735).

The inkstone exhibits meticulous craftsmanship. The peach-shaped well represents fortune and longevity. Its black-lacquered box is beautifully designed and embellished with golden bamboo and magpie motifs with the two birds perched vividly atop the stalks. The depth and variation seen in the bas-relief is clearly the work of a skilled hand, and the juxtaposition of the simple elegance of the inkstone and the elaborate gilded bamboo of the box is characteristic of inkstones manufactured for the imperial court during the Yongzheng reign.

Website version edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

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