Brush Rest


Photo of Brush Rest

Detailed Images

Basic Information

Artifact Identification Brush Rest   (2010.03.0004)
Communication T&E : Written Communication T&E : Writing Accessories
Artist/Maker None
Geographic Location Asia, East, China
Period/Date Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), 18th or 19th century
Culture Chinese

Physical Analysis

Dimension 1 (Length) 15.5 cm
Dimension 2 (Height) 10.2 cm
Dimension 3 (Width) .38 cm
Weight 314 g
Measuring Remarks None
Materials Varnish--Lacquer, Plant--Wood
Manufacturing Processes Carved, Lacquered
Munsell Color Information N/A

Research Remarks

Published Description N/A

"A finely carved Chinese boxwood brush rest, for the scholar’s desk, 6 1/4 inches wide x 3 3/4 inches high, in the form of a mountainous landscape, with two well detailed carved scholars beneath a pine tree canopy. Brush rest refers to the object used to hold the brush when one temporarily stops painting or writing, so that the wet brush will not smear other things. Shan (the Chinese word for mountain, both singular and plural) have played an important role in fine and decorative arts. According to one ancient Chinese cosmology, the realm of heaven covered the realm of earth and from this belief arose the idea that heaven could fall down if not supported. The shan were believed to perform this function. In the myth of the ‘Reparation of Heaven’ the Goddess Nu Wa, having repaired the broken sky, killed a huge turtle and erected is four feet as supporting pillars in the four quarters. These four pillars allowed the world to again enjoy a peaceful and harmonious life, and later came to be regarded as the earliest sacred shan. Another reason for the sanctification of particular mountains are the legends and myths of both Shamanism and early Taoism. These legends speak of sages and mystics, often called ‘immortals’ who lived deep in the mountain wilderness, existed on diets of rare herbs and exotic elixirs, and lived to be 400 to 800 years old. The mountain areas where these sages dwelled came to be regarded as sacred places, as access points to the heavenly realm, and also as the abodes of magical spirits and powerful deities (in the Chinese context a sacred mountain can mean a single peak, a cluster of hills, or a whole mountain range). This carving dates 18th/19th century, Qing Dynasty. " - Bernie McManus, Appraiser, Woodbury House, Connecticut, 7/22/2010


Bonhams, Knightsbridge, London, sale #15796, lot #280, May 20, 2008. A wood carving or brush rest depicting two scholars beneath a pine tree canopy, set within a mountainous landscape.


Cameron, Nigel. The Chinese Scholar's Desk. Hong Kong: FormAsia Books, 2003.

Artifact History

Archaeological Data N/A
Credit Line/Dedication Fred A. Freund Collection
Reproduction No
Reproduction Information N/A

Share What You Know!

The Spurlock Museum actively seeks opportunities to improve what we know and record about our collections. If you have knowledge about this object, please get in touch with our Registration staff by using the form below. Please note that we cannot give appraisals, provide any information related to value, or authenticate artifacts.

Please enter your first name.
Please enter your last name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Please enter comments you would like to share about the artifact.

All fields are required.