Ink stones vessels have been recovered since Neolithic China, usually shaped as a flat, elongated stones. Later their shape became more and more elaborate, as displayed on this fine example. The invention of paper during the Eastern Han Dynasty lead to the development of the quality and quantity of such vessels. During the Tang Dynasty, the imperial court paid great importance to calligraphy and to art in general, hence many ink stone vessels and writing tools were produced. Most popular shapes included tortoises, lotus flowers, and of course mandarin ducks.
Tang Dynasty Ink Stone Vessel
A nicely modelled Tang Dynasty ink stone vessel in the form of a mandarin duck. The vessel is composed of two parts, a base and a lid. The base is modelled in the shape of a duck body, comprising two webbed feet and a long neck. The domed removable cover features a little tail to the back and is further enriched by an incised pattern recreating the duck’s feathers.
Period: Tang Dynasty
Condition: Extremely fine condition. Traces of earthly encrustations to the surface.