A zitan writing set comprising a brush rest, covered box and rectangular tray
18th/19th century, China
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.
The circular box is supported on a flaring foot ring and the top of the cover is slightly raised. This small box might have been used for incense pellets, for the red seal paste or for a variety of other materials.