Mar 21, 2017

Brush with Carved Designs (brush cap)

Brush with Carved Designs (brush cap)


Part of a set. See all set records

Carved bamboo

Overall: 24.2 cm (9 1/2 in.); Handle: 21 cm (8 1/4 in.); Top: 16.8 cm (6 5/8 in.)

Anonymous Gift 1967.194.b


Did you know?

The inscription on this brush with a bamboo cap reads: Made during the Wanli Era of the Great Ming [dynasty].


In China, access to political power was granted to those who passed the civil service examinations, a system that offered official service only at a high level of education. Chinese literati-officials, whose daily routine involved administrative work in an office, enjoyed precious objects on their writing desks that offered distraction and demonstrated good taste. By the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties, these utensils of the literati studio became also collectibles and were treasured as artworks.

A brush, like this one, was essential for both administrative tasks and for artistic creation. The bamboo brush handle and cap were carved in shallow relief with branches, leaves, birds, and flowers. The brush tip was made from fine white animal hairs.

See also
Chinese Art
Type of artwork: 
Carved bamboo
Credit line: 
Anonymous Gift

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.