Mr. and Mrs. Milton Turner, Bethesda, Maryland. 
From 1975 to 1992
National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Turner, Bethesda, Maryland. 
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, transferred from the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 
 See copies of gift receipt and correspondence between Milton and Lilian Turner and the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. See “United States National Museum Accession Memorandum” time stamped January 24, 1975, copy in object file. See also Curatorial Remark 3 in the object record.
 See note 1.
 The object was transferred from the Department of Mineralogy of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. See “Custody Receipt” and “Acquisition Consideration Form”, copies in object file.
- Previous Owner(s)
National Museum of Natural History, Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution
Mr. and Mrs. Milton Turner
This ivory wrist rest is a calligrapher's tool. When used as an aid in writing, it is placed flat on a table with the convex surface upward. The device can be used to cover still wet lines of calligraphy from accidental smuding by the author's wrist or sleeves as he continues to work, and in the case of writing small calligraphy, it can be used to support and steady the calligrapher's wrist. Wrist rests are also decorations for a scholar's desk, and when one is carved as delicately on the underside as this one, it is likely that it was intended more as a decorative piece than as a functional object. Rests like this were often fitted with stands and displayed vertically.
The shape of this wrist rest imitates a section of bamboo. It was a fashionable practice to employ luxury materials such as ivory to imitate less expensive materials. The carved decoration is made up of superimposed motifs, creating a deep visual field. This scene with egrets and lotus flowers is a standard symbol in China for scholarly advancement.
- Published References
- Les Trois Reves du Mandarin. Exh. cat. Brussels. cat. 167, pp. 206-7.
- Collection Area(s)
- Chinese Art
- Web Resources
- Google Cultural Institute
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