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Black lacquer box with set of 12 ink cakes (detail)

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Black lacquer box with set of 12 ink cakes (detail)
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The floral designs might have been painted by either a scholar-official painter or a professional court painter. But the imperial poems ought to be copied by a scholar-official who mastered the art of calligraphy.

As shown from this illustration, the imperial poems are engraved and gilded on the ink cakes.

During the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), imperial ink cakes were produced at the palace workshops. There were also special commissions from famous ink makers in other regions, particularly in Huizhou of the Anhui province.

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