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ink-stone

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    PDF.747

  • Description

    Rectangular porcelain ink-slab raised on a splayed plinth, with open-work sides, partly open-work top, unglazed central panel for holding water, and deeply recessed panel for holding water. There are lotus panels on the plinth, dragons chasing pearls over waves on each side, two dragons on the top, full-faced dragon in the water-pot section, and two dragons on the base. There is a mark in underglaze blue on the base.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1573-1620
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 80 millimetres
    • Width: 221 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        reign mark
      • Inscription Position

        on base
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Content

        大明萬里年製
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Da Ming Wanli nian zhi
      • Inscription Translation

        Made in the Ming dynasty, Wanli reign
      • Inscription Comment

        Six-character Wanli mark in a rectangle in underglaze blue on the base
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : Ming Wanli 1573-1620Room 95 label text:

    PDF 747

    Wucai ink stone


    Potters decorated this openwork rectangular ink stone in a twice-fired technique called 五彩 (wucai ‘five colours’) composed of underglaze blue and overglaze red, yellow, and green. There are lotus panels on the plinth, dragons chasing pearls over waves on each side, two dragons on the top, full-faced dragon in the water-pot section, and two dragons on the base. The base carries an underglaze blue Wanli reign mark. The writer holds a solid ink cake or stick and dissolves it into a liquid by slowly rubbing or grinding it against the smooth area of the ink stone moistened by water. As the grinding continues, more water is added and the liquid ink pools in the sunken part of the stone. Ink stones should be abrasive enough to grind the ink and smooth enough not to damage the fine hairs of the brush.


    Porcelain with openwork, underglaze cobalt-blue and overglaze wucai enamels
    Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province江西省, 景德鎮
    Ming dynasty, Wanli mark and period, AD 1573–1620

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  • Bibliography

    • Feng 2006 p.32, no.747 bibliographic details
    • Medley 1978 p.33, no.89 bibliographic details
    • Pierson 2002 p.74, no.64 (ink palette) bibliographic details
    • Feng 2006a pp 110-111, no. 46 bibliographic details
  • Location

    G95/case27/sh3

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    Margaret Medley 1978 records: From the John Love Collection. PDF card: Acquired before 1934. John Love Collection.

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    PDF.747

Rectangular porcelain ink-slab raised on a splayed plinth, with open-work sides and partly open-work top. Wucai style with underglaze blue and overglaze red, green and yellow enamels. Lotus panels on plinth, with dragons chasing pearls over waves on each side. Two dragons on top, alongside an unglazed central panel, with another deeply recessed panel for holding water decorated with a full-faced dragon. Two dragons on recessed base, with mark in underglaze blue.

Rectangular porcelain ink-slab raised on a splayed plinth, with open-work sides and partly open-work top. Wucai style with underglaze blue and overglaze red, green and yellow enamels. Lotus panels on plinth, with dragons chasing pearls over waves on each side. Two dragons on top, alongside an unglazed central panel, with another deeply recessed panel for holding water decorated with a full-faced dragon. Two dragons on recessed base, with mark in underglaze blue.

Image description

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Object reference number: RRC39079

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