top of page

Inkstones and Ornaments

Collection Type :

Contemporary art, Sculpture, Chinese works of art, Chinese traditional art, Traditional culture art

As a result of nearly a century of family inkstone making, highly skilled inkstone making techniques have been passed down from generation to generation, creating a classic that makes art more than just decorative.

Ancient Chinese sculptures, the essence of ancient Chinese arts, have attained great achievements in different sculpture branches and different historical periods. They are rich in subject matter and diversified in style, presenting strong and vivid flavor of the country as well as the age. For instance, the sculptures in the Qin and Han Dynasties are rough and sturdy, the sculptures in the Wei and Jin Dynasties are vigorous and graceful, and the sculptures in Tang and Song Dynasties are rich and elegant. The ancient Chinese sculptures are also full of expressionistic spirit. They are not accustomed to the surface work or the details, but stress on the feeling and artistic conception implied by the imagination-triggering image, which is able to lead people to another artistic world.

Although it is also used in ink painting, the inkstone is one of the four treasures of a calligrapher's studio, along with brush paper and ink. Its origins can be traced to the New Stone Age, between 5000 and 6000 years ago, when pottery and other items were decorated with various pigments. The original inkstone was nothing more than a pigment mortar made of a grinding rod and surface. The inkstone is the study's most valuable treasure. Additionally, it is the only one that, with proper care, will endure for millennia. The inkstone is considered to be the soul and core of a scholar’s room.

Inkstones are useful tools for grinding ink, but they also have many other uses. There are two primary categories: those intended for daily use and those intended for decoration or collection. In ancient China, famous artists' exquisitely carved and inscribed inkstones were frequently given as gifts or tributes from one ruler to another. A few million dollars can be spent on some extremely valuable historical inkstones. Inkstones of good quality can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 today. China has four renowned areas that are well known for their high-quality inkstone production. These are: Duan inkstone (端硯), She inkstone (歙硯), Taohe inkstone (洮河硯), Chengni inkstone (澄泥硯).

These inkstones and ornamental items belonged to the literati and were presented by the family of inkstone makers and collectors collectively in their study. Each one embodies the spirit and philosophical ideals of traditional eastern culture.









bottom of page