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Tracing the characters of a civilization's story

Updated: 2024-05-28 07:42 ( CHINA DAILY )
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A Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) ink stone on display at a Beijing museum. XU JIE/GUO HAIPENG/HU DUNHUANG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Among the Four Treasures of the Study, paper easily turns to ash, brushes wear out quickly, and ink is prone to degrade. Only the ink stone remains durable and can be passed down through the ages. Hence, there is a saying: "For a scholar, having an ink stone is like a beauty having a mirror; it is the closest companion throughout one's life."

Originating in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), the ink stone is meticulously crafted from materials like slate or soapstone, serving as the surface for grinding ink sticks with water to create ink for writing and painting.

Among the distinguished ink stones in China, She ink stones stand out as exemplars of excellence. Hailing from Shezhou in today's southern part of Anhui province, these stones derive their name from their birthplace and boast a history of over 1,200 years.

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