Height: 4 3/8 inches, 11.2 cm
Width: 4 3/4 inches, 11.8 cm

Jade brush pot

China, Ming or Qing dynasty, 17th century

A jade brush pot supported on three finely carved splayed feet, rising to waisted sides ending in a flaring mouth rim.The interior is well hollowed and smoothly polished. The stone is dark brown with mottled and blackish areas.

The origin of the brush pot for the scholar’s desk has been much debated, but there seems to be very little evidence that these objects existed prior to the Wanli period of the Ming dynasty.[1] Among the various materials, most of the cylindrical brush pots have straight to minimally waisted sides, whereas generously waisted models are much more uncommon. Jade brush pots of waisted form seem to be particularly rare, as most of the cylindrical examples have completely straight sides. Moreover, these are normally elaborately carved with landscapes or other motifs. The present jade brush pot is thus unusual for both its shape and its undecorated surface and, therefore, aesthetically much closer related to brush pots carved from precious woods, such as the huanghuali example, also waisted, published by Tsang and Moss.[2]

  1. Marsh, S. Brushpots – A Collector’s View, Hong Kong, 2020, p. 8
  2. Tsang, G and Moss, H., Art from the Scholar’s Studio, Hong Kong, 1986, pl. 174