Chengni inkslab

Tang Dynasty
Length: 12.7 cm, Width: 8 cm, Thickness: 1.7 cm

This is a rectangular inkslab made of ceramic. It has a simple shape, with a flat water reservoir, and is covered with earth stains. There is a rectangular raised inscription at the bottom indicating that it was owned by Shi Siyan from the southern gate of the West Capital, who might be an official in Chang’an.
As recorded in a Ming book by Gao Lian, ‘Tang Dynasty chengni inkslabs are of the topmost quality, but unfortunately few have been handed down.’ That is to say, such inkslabs had become a rarity by Ming Dynasty, and today they are even rarer. Judging from the appearance of this one, Tang chengni inkslabs, having yet to come of age, are far inferior to those made in Song Dynasty.