Calligraphy is considered the highest among the arts of traditional China. An elegant and individual writing style sets apart not only the intellectual but also every educated Chinese person. Consequently, objects associated with writing are important and are often executed in valuable materials.
The ivory and wood table screens bear a continuous garden scene reminiscent of Chinese painting (1, 18th-19th c., donated by Christianos Lambikis, 14411). They would have stood on a calligrapher’s desk as sources of inspiration, small windows onto the world. Ink was stored in solid form; it was ground on inkstones (3, 19th c., donated by Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, ΠΧΓα 465) and diluted with drops of water from small containers (2, porcelain, 18th c., 2786). The brush would have been dipped into the cavity on the inkstone, where the liquid ink gathered. After use the brush would have been rinsed in a special container (4, porcelain, 18th c., 2738) and stored upright in a brushpot (5, porcelain, 19th c., private collection). Finally, the work was signed with the imprint of a seal bearing a name of the artist carved in angular characters (6, porcelain, 17th-18th c., 2584) and dipped in red paste kept in a box (7, porcelain, Qing dynasty, donated by Christianos Lambikis, 14375).
All items donated by George Eumorfopoulos unless otherwise specified.