Overall: 2.4 x 13.4 cm (15/16 x 5 1/4 in.)
Gift of Henry W. Kent 1942.212
To make liquid ink, an ink cake is ground against an inkstone with a small quantity of water.
In China, access to political power was granted to those who passed the civil service examinations, a system that offered official service only at a high level of education. Chinese literati-officials, whose daily routine involved administrative work in an office, enjoyed precious objects on their writing desks that offered distraction and demonstrated good taste. By the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties, these utensils of the literati studio also became collectibles and were treasured as artworks.
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