Dimensions: 12.5cm long, 10cm wide
A private Hong Kong collection, acquired from Littleton & Hennessy Asian Art in 2007
‘Arts for the Scholar’, Littleton & Hennessy Asian Art, London, 2007, p. 62-63, no. 24
The stone of rectangular form with indented corners. The top with raised rim finely carved in low relief with a continuous wave motif. The ink pool of ruyi-cloud shape, deeply set into the upper part of the stone. The recessed base very finely carved in low relief with an Arhat sitting on a blanket carried over water by four spirits. The four sides all carved with different Arhats in low relief on a key-fret diaper background. Wooden base and cover.
In Buddhism, an Arhat or Luohan is someone who has reached the end of the eight-fold-path to enlightenment, and is not only perfect in himself but can help others to attain perfection.
Duan inkstones are produced in Zhaoqing, Guangdong province and are one of four types of inkstones, the ‘Four Famous Inkstones’, considered particularly important in Chinese history. Duan stone is a type of volcanic tuff of a purple to purple-red colour. They are categorised by the mine (‘keng’) from which the stone was excavated. Many of these mines are now exhausted. This particular inkstone came from the famous ‘Songkeng’ (Song mine).