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On View In:
Gallery 217
Artist:   Shen Ch’uan-lin  
Title:   Brushrest  
Date:   early 18th century  
Medium:   Carved bamboo root  
Dimensions:   1 3/16 x 4 3/16 x 1 5/8 in. (3.02 x 10.64 x 4.13 cm)  
Credit Line:   Gift of Ruth and Bruce Dayton  
Location:   Gallery 217  

This brushrest is a recognized masterpiece of Shen Ch'uan-lin, whose square seal is carved into the side of the work. Meticulously fashioned from bamboo root, the piece features a finely detailed blossoming plum branch and a spray of bamboo, two plants that symbolize scholarly virtue. The miniature sculpture can support three brushes simultaneously.

Brushrests allowed painters to set down a wet brush so its bristles would not touch a table or stain paper. Artists made brushrests from a variety of materials, including stone, metal, and ceramics. This refined example, executed in "organic taste," fit harmoniously with the mellow hardwoods and the natural substances found on a scholar's desk.

Name:   Ch’uan-lin, Shen  
Nationality:   Chinese  
Life Dates:   Chinese, active 18th century  

Object Description  
Inscriptions:   Mark back left lower edge, undeciphered, artist'S mark  
Classification:   Woodwork  
Physical Description:   carved bamboo root, prunice and pine (?)  
Creation Place:   Asia, China, , ,  
Accession #:   95.88  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts  


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