A Chinese yellow-glazed water pot. Kangxi period

Of square form, decorated with yellow-glazed on the biscuit, in an archaistic shape with lobed sides and a square opening. It has a small lizard-like qilong dragon picked out in aubergine brown, crawling up the side, his head resting on the edge of the opening. The underside is enameled in yellow. The pot is very black on the inside, which indicate it has actually been used to wash inly brushes. As it is of small size, it could have been used as a water dropper, as well as a washer.

Period :
Kangxi (1662-1722)
5.5 cm / 5.5 cm (2.1 in. / 2.1 in.)
Reference :

Related works

For a pair of water pots decorated with Egg & Spinach enamels, see Vanderven, Sancai – Three Colors, 2020, p. 72, no. 19. Another water pot is in the collection of the Museum for Angewandte Kunst (Vienna,


In conjunction with other useful items for writing and painting, water containers were part of the implements and materials necessary for the scholar’s desk. The writing prerequisites – known as the Four Treasures of the scholars studio – were inkstick, brush, inkstands (for grinding ink on) and paper. Other useful implements could include brush rests, brush pots, paperweights and incense burners. Water was needed to dissolve the ink for use, so containers and droppers were also part of the paraphernalia used by the Chinese literati in their study. Water pots came in a myriad of forms and sizes. Shapes and decoration were often inspired by religion, myths or nature serving as an inspiration for poetry or calligraphy.

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