Plain Serpentine Quartz Shallow Bowl of oval shape, with thick sides and base, the translucent brownish-green stone with darker markings, the base engraved with a four-character Qianlong mark

Brush Washer, 18th-19th century

Unknown artist, expand_more
G210expand_more

These two bowls would have been used on the scholar's desk as brush washers. The larger one retains the original surface of the boulder from which it was carved. This respect for the natural shapes and muted colors of nephrite perfectly reflected Ming scholarly taste. Used in China since prehistoric times, jade held ancient connotations for the literati. The scholar's preference for natural form and understated color stands in marked contrast to the aristocracy's desire for the larger, more intricatedly carved and brightly colored jades. The smaller brush washer has a four character mark that reads, "appreciated by Qianlong," who ruled from 1736-1795.

Details
Title
Brush Washer
Role
Artist
Accession Number
92.103.9
Curator Approved

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Plain Serpentine Quartz Shallow Bowl of oval shape, with thick sides and base, the translucent brownish-green stone with darker markings, the base engraved with a four-character Qianlong mark