Duan inkstone

A small brownish black stone slab with a slightly depressed pool in the centre, and carved with aquatic animals such as crabs, tortoise using the natural greenish markings called the "eyes". Duan stone comes from the area around the Duanxi River in Zhaoqing, Guangdong. It has a fine-grained body and a smooth surface. Natural features known as ‘ice cracks’ or ‘stone eyes’ are unique characteristics of this stone. Pieces with this characteristic are prized collectors’ items. For centuries duan ink stones have been regarded as the finest ink stones of all. This fan-shaped duan ink stone was carved in the 19th century. The raised area next to the ink pool features a naturally formed golden ‘stone eye’, which is cleverly carved into the vivid scene of a dragon playing with a pearl amid mountain peaks. The geometric pattern on the body of the dragon imparts a strong sense of motion.

Indigenous Name
19th century
Zhaoqing, Guangdong, China
Object size: L 23.5 x W 14.5 x H 2.5 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum