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Even if you know nothing about Chinese calligraphy and painting, you can still impress your friends by placing a beautiful inkstone on your desk.
A few days ago, I visited an inkstone shop offering its clientele one of the four most well- known inkstones in China. A hospitable shop owner received me. According to him, this type of inkstone was made famous by a beautiful story.
One day, a man walking along a riverside found two cranes standing still on the river. He used a net to capture them, but only got a stone. Strangely enough, he found a crack on the stone and could hear cranes singing from there. Intrigued, the man cut the stone in half along the crack, and the two pieces became two beautiful inkstones, each engraved with the image of a crane.
This type of inkstones are called Duan, after the name of the city which produces them. People like to engrave pictures on Duan inkstones. Cranes are a particularly popular subject.
Duan inkstone has about 1300 years of history. It's made from a special stone with fine texture. It allows the ink ground in it to flow readily, and prevents it from icing up in winter. What's more, a craftsman needs 10 years of practice before he can skillfully engrave excellent images on a Duan inkstone.
Inkstones at this shop come in various sizes. The smallest one is about 4 x 2 inches, the biggest, 8 x 15 inches.
Prices of the smaller inkstones range from RMB 60 to RMB 800. The biggest one costs RMB 12,000.
What I appreciate:
quality inkstones with beautiful carvings
beautiful inkstones, negotiable price
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