Height: 7 3/4 inches, 19.7 cm
Width: 8 1/2 inches, 21.6 cm

Huanghuali brush pot

China, Ming or Qing dynasty, 17th – 18th century

A large huanghuali brush pot of cylindrical form with slightly waisted sides rising to the broad, softly rounded mouth rim. The concave base is set with a circular plug. The richly grained wood is of warm amber tone, the surface smooth to the touch.

In all its simplicity this brush pot, which is of exceptionally large size for its type, would have been regarded as a highly refined and sophisticated object by the literati scholar. Huanghuali, a type of rosewood, was considered a particularly precious wood from the mid-Ming dynasty onwards. It was appreciated for its warm colour, often polished to a smooth surface. The striated wood grain, as perfectly demonstrated by the present example, was thought to be a highly valuable source of inspiration, as it resembled a mountainous landscape.[1] A very similar example is illustrated in R.P. Piccus.[2]

Formerly in the private collection of Dries Blitz (1947-2022)

  1. Marsh, S., Brushpots: A Collector’s View, Hong Kong, 2020, p. 56
  2. Piccus, R. P. et al., Wood from the Scholar’s Table: Chinese Hardwood Carvings and Scholar’s Articles, Hong Kong, 1984, pl. 29, p. 62