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Qing Dynasty Chinese Scholar Ink Stone - Zitan Wood Case

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    Posted 9 years ago

    (216 items)

    Here's some more of the haul. Its an inkstone in the shape of a fish with a zitan wood case. Another fish is carved onto the bottom as well, which is really neat. As we all know, anything made from zitan wood is like gold right now, the Chinese are devouring it. Its a really great piece.

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    1. shrine shrine, 9 years ago
      According to my limited knowledge about inkstone, this one is NOT Chinese but Japanese. First among the reasons, never seen Chinese inkstone in this shape but Japanese. Second, Chinese mined their inkstone from particular mines, none of them look like this. Third, Chinese inkstone usually larger than this and come with a cover. Fourth, the "zitan" base is unlikely to be zitan but Japanese version of Chinese rosewood, which is called 'KARAKI' in Japan.
    2. Stillwater Stillwater, 9 years ago
      Hmm, thank you for telling me all this. Chinese was just a guess
    3. Stillwater Stillwater, 9 years ago
      It actually does have a cover if you'll look closely, the first photo is the outside cover, the second is the inkstone. The last photo is not a base, but the second half of the two part wooden case. I did find several Chinese inkstones with the chartreuse colored dots on them, apparently the stone is called "duan," and it has those dots in it. I Googled Japanese inkstones and I did not find any with those dots in it, which makes me think that maybe you got the mines mixed up? It looks like the stones with the dark yellow dots are from China from what I'm seeing on Google

      I also found this Chinese one on Southeby's and it is carved in the form of

      What do you think?
    4. shrine shrine, 9 years ago
      emm.. you think this is a "duan"? Thanks for the tipping, you may be right because of the 'eye'. Google Chinese ink block, I don't know how to use it on such a small inkstone. A typical Chinese one would have a 'well' to catch the ink produced. Here is a demo

      As I said, I have limited knowledge about inkstone, but to the wood, it's unlikely to be Zitan, but KARAKI. The word KARAKI means Chinese wood and this term has been used on any timber imported from China with good quality, doesn't matter it's a rosewood or not. Zitan, as member of Chinese rosewood family, is considered to be a KARAKI in Japan. However this one, I don't think it's Zitan. I will elaborate in the next post.
    5. Stillwater Stillwater, 9 years ago
      Yes I see the well, I'm not sure if you can see in the photos but the fish's tail is the well part, it goes in deeper than it looks in the photo
    6. shrine shrine, 9 years ago
      As far as I know, this wood is called Jiaozhi(Vietnam) rosewood in China, and Siamese rosewood to westerners. In bloody Latino, Dalbergia cochinchinensis. I know it is often been mistaken as Zitan for the similarity. In fact, this wood was used as an alternative when Chinese ran out of their Zitan reserve. The Japanese, clever ppl, invented a special finish to seal the wood. It's not lacquer but a layer of absorbent film on the wood. When the wood become aged, the film mixed with oil/gum escaped from the wood, to make a Zitan-ish looking.

      Do not mistake me, the Jiaozhi rosewood is not cheap at all. It the third expensive wood in China, just next to Zitan.
    7. shrine shrine, 9 years ago
      Still - the tail part can't be the 'well' as there is a ridge between the 'plain' and the 'well'. You would make a ink spill all over your table if you try to get it into the 'well'. Try it with clean water.
    8. Stillwater Stillwater, 9 years ago
      Well there has to be a "well" somewhere though right?
    9. Zowie Zowie, 9 years ago
      I have never heard of this type of wood, unusual
    10. shrine shrine, 9 years ago
      The inkstone well is designated to capture the ink liquid produced on the 'plain'. So they must be connected. By looking at it, I think this piece could only hold a very small amount of ink, not really practical. It's probably made for decoration or collection use.
    11. kyratango kyratango, 9 years ago
      How interesting! As the carver used the dot to figure the eye of the fish, it is a high quality object for sure! The sotheby's goose is very similar except for the stone.
    12. Zowie Zowie, 9 years ago
      I have never heard of that wood before back not knowing the size at first I thought maybe a letter holder.

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