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… is for Inkstone

Ceramic Inkstone (1735)
Inscribed, dated & signed by
Gao Fenghan (1683-1748)

Height: 11.0 cm (4 1/4 in.)
Width: 14.5 cm. (5 3/4 in.)
Depth: 3.5 cm. (1 3/8 in.)

“A chengni- (‘refined clay’) superior treasure (ink-stone) from the year 1735 during the Yongzheng reign- era, made by Nancun (Gao Fenghan).”

Colophon on reverse:
“I have collected five chengni slabs, investigated and recorded one of them; this one can be considered okay, and I will look out for others. Authenticated by Lin Kangfan.”

Box inscription:
“This was made by Gao Nancun (Gao Fenghan). Nancun had a passion for ink-stones, and personally wrote the Yanzhuo fa, ‘Methods for Cutting Ink-stones,’ so as to make manifest his creative spirit. Nancun’s surname was Gao, his given name was Fenghan, his by-name was Xiyuan, and he was called Nancun and Nanfu laoren. Loving ink-stones, he collected more than a thousand, all of which had his personal inscriptions, and he wrote the Yanshi, ‘History of Ink-stones.’ When his right hand became unresponsive, he used his left hand for calligraphy and painting, calling himself Shang- tso-sheng, ‘Student who proceeds with the left.’ During the fifth lunar month of the year 1935 in the Showa reign-era, I inscribed this box for Master Lin.”

Accompanying letter:
“…An inkstone from Taiwan has been forwarded. I want to shave off its vulgar design of pine, bamboo and plum, and wish to somehow reconfigure it with a more suitable pond shape…On the other hand, the chengni (‘refined clay’) ink stone belonging to Mr. Lin is extremely outstanding. There is no doubt that this inkstone was created by Gao Nancun (Gao Fenghan). I also own an inkstone by him from the yimao year during the Yongzheng reign era (1735). Because I was born in the yimao year, just more than a century and some decades later, I am extremely desirous of possessing this inkstone. Kanzan Gakei (Inuki Tsuyoshi), called Bokuo, on the tenth day of the fifth lunar month.”

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