Porcelain with celadon glaze
Overall: 0.8 x 11.1 cm (5/16 x 4 3/8 in.)
Severance and Greta Millikin Collection 1964.225
Lingzhi is a woody mushroom often used in traditional Chinese medicine and associated with immortality.
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 became also collectibles and were treasured as artworks.
Desk objects included paper weights, seals and seal paste boxes, brush rests like this porcelain one, wrist rests, brush holders, water droppers, ink cakes, miniature mountains, and albums, all ranging in material from jade, gilt bronze, lacquer, and wood to porcelain.
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