Eastern Han Dynasty Emperor Kwan -Wu「光武御製」Scripted Eagle-Shape Jade Ink-stone Drops, H.15cm, L.18cm,1000grams.

Inkstone drops are also known as water droplets or book drops. Inkstone drops are one of the most indispensable items in addition to the brush, ink, paper, and inkstone for the literati for two thousand years in Chinese history.  In the Han Dynasty, inkstone drops were mostly in the shape of turtles, snakes, bears, and sheep.  The Palace Museum in Beijing has kept a 7cm long, 5.6cm high, and 1.6cm in diameter simple and unsophisticated sheep-shaped pale-tone jade inkstone drops of the Han Dynasty.

With delicate relief carving from a gem-quality mutton fat white jade, the object has the form of inkstone drops. The outline of the motifs of this spectacular artwork is depicted in black color. Viewing the overall shape presentation, it is seen that a mother eagle which carries her child eagle on the back.  The child eagle raises its head slightly, full of the sensation of happiness. Underneath the tail of the mother eager is a standing young pixie opening the mouth on the grin, showing pitiful appearance.  The mother eagle is slightly bent back her head, staring at both the child eagle and the young pixie, to be sure that they are well cared for and undoubtedly safe.

The theme of this artwork perfectly matches the Chinese philosophy of “Care for your own aged parents and extend the same care to the aged parents of others; love your own young children and extend the same love to the children of others”( from the Mencius, King Liang-hui ). According to the Book of the Later Han, Emperor Guangwu himself admires Confucianism very much, is it possible that the theme of this artwork originated from Emperor Guangwu himself? In addition, the artistic conception is in line with Emperor Guangwu’s economic policy to pay attention to people’s livelihood and people’s rest as described in the historical records.

On the surface of the carving, it is seen that the left and right wings on both sides of the jade eagle are surrounded by the motif of dragons, furthermore highlighting the royal dignity and auspiciousness of this eagle shape inkstone drops.  As far as antiquity evidence is concerned, it has differential weathering, additive crystals, and diffusive markings with dark russet.

In terms of jade culture-related historical significance, the fork- shape tail design of this eagle- shape ink-stone drops provide an explanation to the so-called handle-shaped jade nobles from the tomb of Fuhao.  The handle is itself the tail of a mysterious bird of the Shang Dynasty as shown in the eagle- shape inkstone drops.

Above all, the scripts「光武御製」has provided the most important evidence in the authentication of this object, the font style of the Guangwu imperial inscriptions of this object is perfect matches those of the jade paperweight from The Palace Chinese Antique Jades Collection USA and two Eastern Han containers from The Rushihai collection Taiwan.  Judging from the criteria of high quality of jade, artistic elegance, and historical significance, this Eastern Han eagle-shape ink-stone drops is definitely a must item for connoisseur collectors.

Qing Dynasty Jadeite Bangle, 7.6cmx5.6cmx1.2cm, 與故宮珍藏相輝映的清代翠玉手鐲

159345884207476403Carved with natural jadeite, the object is a bangle. The jadeite itself consists of brown, green and transparent to form tricolors which elaborated to mean luck, wealth and long life. In addition to the exposed plane to identify its natural jadeite nature, the object is seen ancient tool marks to confirm it is an “A” quality Qing Dynasty bangle. (the two bangles at the bottom of the article are the Qing Dynasty bangles collection in the National Palace Museum in Taipei). 本器翠玉雕琢, 形制為手鐲, 翠玉帶有褐色, 與綠色, 透明色一起呈現, 俗稱三彩, 引伸為福, 祿, 壽之意. 本器除了呈現蠅翼現象證明為天然翡翠外, 古代刀工痕跡明顯, 實乃清代A貨手鐲, 毋庸置疑, 此外, 本器具有溫潤感. ( 本文最下方兩枚為台北故宮博物院所藏清代手鐲).

 

 

 

 

文房第五寶-清代翠玉玉璧型文鎮, The fifth precious tool of calligraphy in the study -Qing Dynasty jadeite paperweight .5.5cm, T.1.3cm

Webp.net-gifmaker (8)

文房四寶,是漢字文化圈傳統的文書工具,即毛筆、墨、紙、硯。 源於中國,再傳播至日本、朝鮮半島、越南、琉球等地。 文房四寶之名,起源於南北朝時期(420年—589年),「文房」之名意指「國家典掌文翰之地」(相當於國家資料庫),因為中國古代文人要經常使用筆、墨、宣紙、硯台,它們是文人書房中必備的四件寶貝。

Webp.net-gifmaker (9)《說文解字》載:「鎮,博壓。」即大面積地壓住。古人席地而坐之時,在座席四角放置或石或銅的席鎮,壓住席角以免移動。「楚辭.九歌湘夫人」:「白玉兮為鎮」.東漢蔡倫紙張問世後,輕薄易為風動、擾人行墨,鎮紙應運而生。古人習字之初,必臨摹碑帖。臨者,依照原帖書寫;摹者,將紙覆於原帖之上摹寫。古時紙張粗糙不透,人們需將紙張緊覆,才能看清帖上筆順,鎮紙的作用便愈發重要。鎮紙可稱為古代文人書房中筆墨紙硯四寶之外的第五寶。

Webp.net-gifmaker (10)自宋朝以來「文房四寶」則特指宣筆(安徽宣城)、徽墨(安徽徽州歙縣)、宣紙(安徽宣城涇縣)、端硯(廣東肇慶,古稱端州)安徽宣城是我國文房四寶最正宗的原產地,是飲譽世界的「中國文房四寶之鄉」,所產的宣紙(涇縣)、宣筆(涇縣/旌德)、徽墨(績溪/旌德)、宣硯(旌德)舉世聞名,為歷代文人墨客所追捧。