A zitan writing set comprising a brush rest, covered box and rectangular tray

紫檀筆架, 蓋盒及文具托盤

18th/19th century, China

十八至十九世紀, 中國

Brush rest: H4.6 x W8.6 cm; Covered box: Diameter: 5.2cm; Tray: L16.2 x W13.4 cm

筆架: 高4.6 x 寬8.6釐米; 蓋盒: 直徑 5.2釐米; 托盤: 長16.2 x 寬13.4釐米

The brush rest is carved in the form of highly formalized mountain, with the decoration of transverse slates on both sides, and raised on two short feet. The brush rest is a standard functional object for scholars. The five-peaked form, as seen in the present piece is most popular, representing the Five Sacred Mountains of China.

The undecorated tray is framed by low convex walls with rounded corners and raised on four corner bracket feet on the underside. The base is bordered by a concave band, overall of dark brownish colour polished to a soft lustre. The type of tray is frequently seen on scholar’s table, used to keep a variety of scholars’ utensils on, partly so that they could be easily moved together, and partly for purposes of display.

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