Horse and Full Moon Inkstone

c. 1850
$1,680 USD
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W: 3.75" D: 5.5" H: 1.25"
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Scholarly pursuits such as painting, calligraphy, and poetry were a highly respected and revered subculture in ancient China, and demanded their own set of tools that were not only functional, but also beautiful. Scholars relied on inkstones such as this one to mix their dry inks with water for use in calligraphy painting. This stone inkstone is covered in intricate carvings of crashing waves, surrounding the image of a horse bearing a saddle. Covered in scales, the horse is likely a longma (龍馬), or "dragon horse," a mythological creature believed to be the spirit of the Yellow River. Capable of walking upon water, the longma emerged from the Yellow River during the reign of Yu the Great (c. 2123 – 2025 BC), carrying scrolls detailing how to mitigate the Great Flood. A harbinger of wisdom and good fortune, longma can also mean "an eminent person," and was likely carved on this inkstone to honor the scholar who once used it daily.

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