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Home History and Culture Anhui She Inkstone
Anhui She Inkstone
Learn Chinese - History and Culture

The history of inkstone (yàn 砚) goes back to over 5,000 years ago. There is a lot of archeological evidence that Chinese used inkstone for grinding ink. There was a stone inkstone found in a 5,000-year-old archeological site in Jiazhai of Shanxi Province.

As one of the essential tool of ink brush painting, She inkstone, produced in Anhui Province (ān huī shěng 安徽省) in East China, is one of the most sought collector's item among the literati and elite for thousands of years. It is one of the Four Great Inkstones in Chinese history.

It is named after Shezhou Prefecture (shē xiàn 歙县), Anhui Province, where it was first produced in the Tang Dynasty (táng cháo 唐朝,618-907). Many counties under the jurisdiction of this prefecture produce She ink slabs, but the best come from Longwei Mountain (lóng wěi shān 龙尾山) in  Wuyuan County (wù yuán xiàn 婺源县). Sometimes he ink slabs are referred to as Longwei inkstones.

She inkstone is made of gray, light green, or black rare slate with markings, and the stone appears in layers and is hard. She inkstone has three features: quick forming of ink, no harm done to the brush, and preserving wetness of ink.

She inkstone has a special artistic style with different markings resulting from geological changes with passage of time. Typical markings are Gold Star, Gold Star Patch, Gold Line, Silver Star, Silver Line, Cherry Blossom Gold Star, and Small Water Wave. More rare ones are Eyebrows, Jade Belt, Jade Belt with Gold Star, Big Water Wave, Fish Egg, Dates Kernel Eyebrows, Jade Patch, and so on.

According to records, this region was part of an ocean 13 billion years ago. Through glacier movement and volcano movement, the mud and other substance formed these rare inkstone slates. This is part of the reason that She inkstone is quite costly.


安徽歙砚 (shè yàn)

歙砚出产于中国东部安徽省的歙县,又称“龙尾砚”,是中国“四大名砚”之一,享有“龙尾歙砚为天下冠”的美誉。

歙砚的制作始于唐代开元年间(公元713~741年)。南唐时(公元937~975年),李后主(公元961~975年在位)曾在歙州设立制砚作坊,专门生产歙砚。此后,歙砚名声大噪,誉满天下,歙砚的制作工艺也得到进一步发展。到北宋年间(公元1056~1063年),歙砚的制作出现了高潮,涌现出一批制砚高手和歙砚精品。

14~18世纪,由于种种原因,歙砚的生产曾一度中断,直到清代乾隆年间(公元1736~1796年)才逐渐恢复。现在,歙砚的主要生产厂家有歙县歙砚工艺厂和屯溪市徽州工艺厂,歙砚在开采规模、制作工艺上都远超历史水平,年产量可达15000余方,远销世界许多国家和地区。
歙砚质地精良,色泽优美,石质细腻,具有出墨快,不伤笔毫,墨水不干的特点。

 

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