Ink Cake with Wang Ziqiao


c. 1600s

attributed to Fang Yulu 方于魯

(Chinese, active c. 1570–1619)
Diameter: 5.4 cm (2 1/8 in.)
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

The front, back, and sides of this ink cake are partially gilded.


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).
Ink Cake with Wang Ziqiao

Ink Cake with Wang Ziqiao

c. 1600s

Fang Yulu

(Chinese, active c. 1570–1619)
China, Ming dynasty (1368-1644) - Qing dynasty (1644-1911)

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