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Pair of Solid Ivory Wrist Rests for the Scholar’s Table
China
Qing Dynasty, 19th century

length: 16.6cm each, width: 5.2cm, maximum thickness: 1.4cm, combined weight: 440g

This exceptionally fine pair of concave-form Qing era scholar's wrist rests are carved from solid ivory. Their contours are sheer and unadorned by decoration
allowing the full beauty of the creamy, grained ivory to be displayed to its maximum advantage. The rests are marvellously tactile and have a superb feel in the
hand. Their weight in the hand is also noticeable.

Such wrests would have been kept on a scholar or calligrapher's desk and used when painting fine calligraphy or painted scenes. They were used to support
the wrists so that the painter's skin would not spoil the paper.

The aesthetic quality of objects made from natural materials was of great appeal to the Chinese literati elite at the time, and in keeping with the
Daoist (Taoist)
aesthetic.
Daoist-influenced artisans had a genius for adopting the natural forms of nature as works of art.

This pair of wrist rests would have been greatly appreciated for their mass, harmonious contours, and natural grain.

They two are identical in very way other than for the differing natural grain. The ends of the rests exhibit the fine criss-cross pattern that is an identifying
characteristic of elephant ivory. The two are in excellent condition and have a wonderful, even, creamy patina.

References:
Ribeiro, S. (ed.),
Arts from the Scholar's Studio, Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong, 1986.

Provenance: UK art market.

Inventory no.: 2086

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