Only a few select objects were required for the table of a Chinese scholar. There was an ink stone to grind up ink, brushes of different sizes for calligraphy, a brush washer for cleaning and a brush pot for storage.
Brush pots (known as bitong) have become synonymous with the art of the literati and Chinese art in general. They were made throughout much of China’s long history in a wide variety of materials from bamboo and hardwoods to ivory, horn, jade, bronze and porcelain. Most (but not all) assume the characteristic cylindrical shape. Many are decorated with subjects, motifs and auspicious symbols embodying concepts such as good fortune, longevity, the benefits of scholarship or just good stories from Chinese literature.
Sworder’s have sold good examples in a multitude of different media in recent years.