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

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Postcard of Black lacquer box with set of 12 ink cakes (detail).
© National Museums Scotland

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

Chinese scholars considered paper, brush, ink, and ink stone as the Four Treasures of a scholar's study. The Four Treasures could also be found in the Manchu ruler's studio.

Illustrated here are two pieces of ink cakes. Chinese ink is a carbon black pigment produced from soot which is bound with animal glue and moulded in cake from. It is used for painting and writing.

The Chinese aesthetic idea of "ink-play" is to use ink in such a free manner that variations in ink tones will bring "the five colours".

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-307-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1948.476
Date: 18th century
probably 18th century
Material: Blue lacquered wood
Dimensions: 418 mm L x 310 mm W x 48 mm deep
What: Box
Subject: Lacquer
Who: Patrick Dudgeon (Collection)
Where: China
Description: Box of blue lacquered wood: China, Ch'ing dynasty, probably 18th century
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