A rare wucai inkstone Wanli mark and of the period
Lot 265
An extremely rare wucai inkstone Wanli mark and of the period
Sold for HK$ 300,000 (US$ 38,688) inc. premium
Lot Details
The Property of a Gentleman
An extremely rare wucai inkstone
Wanli mark and of the period
Of rectangular form, the narrow sides rising to a flattened rectangular rim enclosing the central unglazed section, that slopes down to form a resting place for the brush, enamelled in rich enamels around the sides with stylised lappets enclosing a foliate motif, the upper rim with a spray of lingzhi motifs, all resting on a broad unglazed foot, the base glazed white, inscribed in underglaze-blue with the six-character mark within a double rectangle, Japanese fitted box.
22.5cm (8¾in) long.


  • Provenance:
    Old Japanese collection

    This is an extremely rare example of a porcelain inkstone, and there does not appear to be another example published in any museum or private collection. Other examples of Wanli reign-marked scholar's objects are relatively common. For a Wanli reign-marked porcelain brushrest in the form of a mountain, sharing a similar style of wucai enamelling as the current lot, see Jessica Harrison-Hall Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, p.335, pl. 11:155.

    This shape of inkstone is found in Ming dynasty examples carved from Duan river stone. A notable example is the famous duan inkstone in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, of similar rectangular form, but slightly smaller. Although it is inscribed 'Song dynasty Duan river dragon-cloud inkstone with 99 columns', Chi Juo-hsin has convincingly argued that it accurately dates to the Ming dynasty. Clearly, it was highly valued and preserved in the Qing Imperial collection, as it is further inscribed 'Kept in the Misty Rain Pavilion of the Summer Residence, Rehol'. It appears probable that inkstones of this form were inspired by such duan stone examples. Clearly, as highly fragile porcelain scholar's objects which would have actually been utilised by high ranking officials and kept on their desks, the chance of surviving through the ages was low. The current lot has been preserved carefully in a Japanese collection, and handed down through the generations.

    明萬曆 五彩瓷硯