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Zuoque, the fine inkstone

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Zuoque, the fine inkstone

所谓佳砚 苴却一方


By Liu Jiatong



Zuoque inkstones are named after their place of origin—“Zuoque” in Yongren County, Yunnan Province. They are as noted as the “Four Famous Inkstones” , which are Duan inkstones, She inkstones, Taohe inkstones and Chengni inkstones.

To appreciate Zuoque inkstones, one needs to focus on three important aspects: the quality, the pattern, and the carving.

Water-holding capacity is the most fundamental quality of a Zuoque inkstone. If observed under a microscope, the special permutation-and-combination structure of a Zuoque inkstone looks like a file. This property indicates its high degree of water retention and can improve the quality of ink ground into the inkstone.

Zuoque inkstones patterns are mainly divided into two categories: eye stones and fat-like stones. Eye stones are commonly of a purple-black color, with unique jade-green stone eyes formed due to precipitation of various materials in the stones. The stone eyes are round, with eyeballs, pupils, halos and rings. They look like the eyes of birds and beasts, vividly and lifelike. As far as fat-like stones are concerned, “fat” is a distinct natural marking that is wavy on the surface. Fat-like stones can be categorized according to the colors of their markings. Green, yellow and bronze are common colors. Multi-pattern fat-like stones are commonly seen among Zuoque inkstones. Except for a few pure green fat-like stones, most of them are mixed, with many patterns (scorched patch, rouge stripe, blue-and-white stripe, ice-like stripe, algae stripe and colorful strings).

The carving of a Zuoque inkstone is the most important aspect making the stones so special. No matter how high the stone quality is or how beautiful the patterns are, it is the carving techniques that bring a vivid and fresh life to an inkstone.


Kuilongxianbao Inkstone


The Kuilong Xianbao Inkstone is a representative work of Tianyi Zuoque Inkstone. With a bigger eye and a smaller one symmetrically distributed on both ends, the exquisite workmanship of the Kuilong Xianbao Inkstone can be seen in its fine texture.

Specification: 27*18.5*3

Price: ¥ 20,000 yuan


With phoenix design Fan-shaped Inkstone


This Fan-shaped Inkstone with a phoenix design is very exquisite in both design and carving techniques. The fan-shaped inkstone can also be used as paper weight.

Specification: 40*16*2.5

Price:  20,000 yuan


Dragon-Phoenix Ruyi Incense Burner


This Dragon-Phoenix Ruyi Incense Burner is composed of three parts,  the lid, burner, and ink slab. The Dragon-Phoenix Ruyi Incense Burner can be used to burn incense or to grind. It is of exquisite workmanship and the base may take as long as five months to complecte.

Specification: 21.5*21.5*19

Price:  68,000 yuan


Taiping Youxiang Inkstone


The Taiping Youxiang Inkstone imitates imperial inkstones from the Qing Dynasty (1636~1912). It adopts the style of a bottle, with solemn and graceful attributes.

Specification: 25*16*3.5

Price:  20,000 yuan


Yiku Sitian Inkstone


The stone used for the Yiku Sitian Inkstone is extremely fine and smooth, with fat texture and stone eyes. It contains a profound message that misfortunes tell people what fortune is.

Specification: 37*14*4.5

Price:  60,000 yuan


Dragon-Phoenix Ruyi Inkstone Set


The stones used for the Dragon-Phoenix Ruyi Inkstone Set are specially selected. The lid and the ink slab are made of different materials. The carving is skillfully matched with original material colors. It is of a large size and is very practical.

Specification: 25.5*17*3

Price:  36,000 yuan



Tianyi Zuoque Inkstone Store

No. 10 Store of Dongfangliyuan, Xiaolong Road, Kunming.

Factory Address: Shitoufang Village, Yongren County, Yunnan Province. (Product prices are for reference only ).



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