A Chinese lotus water dropper decorated with famille verte enamels on the biscuit. Kangxi period

Naturalistically modeled in the form of a lotus leaf and seedpod, with a bowl formed by the upturned leaf. It is painted with faille verte enamels on this biscuit, the exterior painted with yellow and aubergine-brown enamels, while the interior of the bowl and top of the seedpod are painted in green. A long stem curls around the base and up the side of the bowl. Applied inside the bottoms of the bowl is a crab in yellow and aubergine-brown.

Period :
Kangxi (1662-1722)
Porcelain (biscuit)
1.96 in. / 4.72 in. (5 cm / 12 cm)
Reference :

Related works

A comparable water dropper is illustrated by John Ayers in The Chinese Porcelain Collection of Marie Vergottis, Lausanne, 2004, no.87.

For two water droppers of this model, see Jorge Welsh, Biscuit: Refined Chinese Famille Verte Wares, Jorge Welsh Books, London and Lisbon, October, 2012, pp. 112-117, no. 24,25, 26.


Water droppers were required for the scholar’s desk, in conjunction with several others items needed for writing. These included the essential ink, brush, inkstand and paper (known as the scholar’s “Four Treasures”), as well as a host of other objects such as brush pots and brush rests.

Water droppers were used to pour tiny droplets of water onto an inkstand in order to grind ink. It is possible that the bowls of these pieces were additionally used for washing brushes. Thought primarily intended for the scholar’s desk, it has been suggested than this type os small scholarly item became a fashionable collectable in the West, bought thought private trade.

Lotus was a particularly popular theme for small scholarly items and especially for brush washers and water droppers. it is often used as a metaphor for the poor scholar, who might be able to achieve success by working hard and passing the imperial examinations.

By appointment only, 10th arrondissement, Paris. / +33 (0)6 26 57 59 87

Be the first to hear about the latest pieces, join the email list.