(Chinese, active c. 1570–1619)
Molded ink and gold pigment
Diameter: 5.4 cm (2 1/8 in.)
Gift of Henry W. Kent 1942.233
Ink cakes were dissolved with water to be used for writing and painting. This ink cake depicts the immortal Wang
Ziqiao riding a crane and playing a sheng (wind instrument with reeds). Legend says that he was a prince who became
a Daoist immortal.
The design was likely borrowed from an illustrated Ming dynasty book on Daoist immortals printed in Anhui, the Liexian Quanzhuan. Ink cakes using Fang Yulu’s name, a famous ink maker in Huizhou, Anhui province, may just as well be products of followers who aspired to profit from his fame. His greatest local rival was his former mentor Cheng Dayue (1541–after 1610).
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