The history and significance of the dieing treasure of china

More than 10, gold and silver items that sank to the bottom of a river in Sichuan Province over years ago have been recovered, archeologists said Monday. The items included a large amount of gold, silver and bronze coins and jewelry as well as iron weapons such as swords, knifes and spears. After more than 10, items of gold and silver were recovered from the bottom of Minjiang River in Sichuan Province, archeologists confirmed Monday the tale of Zhang Xianzhong and his sunken treasure, dating back to the Ming Dynasty Legend had it that inpeasant leader Zhang Xianzhong was defeated by Ming Dynasty soldiers while attempting to transfer his large haul of treasure southward.

The history and significance of the dieing treasure of china

These four penmanship "tools" were employed by scholars throughout ancient China years before the art of penmanship would turn inwardly, becoming narcissistically enamored of itself, as it were, i.

A brief history of each of the component parts that made up penmanship in ancient China is presented below. Ink Stick Ink stick The ink stick was the earliest widespread form of ink found in China.

To dispel any confusion, let it be said immediately that the ink stick was not an ancient form of ballpoint pen, or lead pencil, it was simply ink in solid form that had to be ground — with the help of an aptly termed ink stick grinding stone, or ink stone, for short — into a fine powder ink stones came in varying degrees of coarseness and mixed with water, then applied to a surface typically paper with the help of a writing brush note that this connects all four of the treasured elements of ancient Chinese penmanship into a single, unified purpose.

One of the earliest uses of "ink" in China is the inscriptions on so-called oracle bones large flat pieces of animal bone used as a writing "canvas" belonging to the Shang BC Dynasty period.

Instead, another ink, more suitable for writing on paper, was developed from charcoal i. This type of raw material for the production of ink was the forerunner of later types of ink that would appear in ancient China, including the ink stick. More than a thousand years would pass between the discovery of a primitive ink source in the form of naturally occurring carbon graphite and the development of easily reproduced, consistent quality ink that was man-made, albeit, of natural ingredients.

During the Song Dynasty, ink made from the soot of charred pine trees and pine-tree resin, as well as from the charred embers of other wood types — collectively called soot ink, or lampblack — was mixed with a binding material typically a paste made of dried, finely-ground animal hide or bone, spices, and mineralsthen pressed into a wooden form and allowed to dry.

Many of the greatest calligraphic works from the hand of Chinese masters stem from the Song Dynasty period, thanks in no small part to the development of the ink stick.

During The history and significance of the dieing treasure of china Ming Dynasty, ink stick production became a veritable cottage industry, attaining its golden period. Advanced methods of producing ink sticks with tung oil aka Chinawood oil were widely used. The appearance of Jijin ink sticks, which could be made in large batches — and which were individually decorated and packaged in various assortments in artistically embellished "cigar boxes" in a manner that would be the envy of a modern-day maker of the most exquisite, most exclusive fountain pen sets — were greatly welcomed by writers, calligraphers and painters alike.

Later still, during the Qing Dynasty, the production of ink sticks became a royal concern, since the Qing Dynasty emperors of the period beginning with Emperor Kangxi and ending with Emperor Qianlong were patron saints of the arts, and especially of the art of calligraphy, owing, no doubt, to the fact that the subject matter of the calligrapher was often famous literary works, including poems and couplets — both ancient and contemporary the latter might well be in praise of the emperor himself.

The history and significance of the dieing treasure of china

Calligraphers were perhaps the most feted artists of the period in question. Moreover, calligraphy had long since become a form of painting in and of itself.

The history and significance of the dieing treasure of china

The production of ink sticks gradually declined toward the end of the Qing Dynasty, especially after the reign CE of Emperor Daoguang, partly due to the influence of Western culture bottled ink was readily available in the Westbut also partly due to the fact that China, due again to Western influence, was rapidly being pulled into a more modern era, where calligraphy — and the calligrapher — was no longer as revered.

Ink Stone Ink stone The ink stone, aka ink slab, was considered by ancient Chinese scholars to be the most important of the four components of penmanship, since a quality ink stone was the key to producing the desired type of ink; a quality ink stone was a highly prized possession.

The ink stone had a roughened area in varying degrees of coarseness for grinding the ink stick into powder, as well as a basin, or inkwell, in which to mix the ground, or powdered, ink with water, creating liquid ink.

Only small amounts of ink could be produced at a time, since it evaporated rather quickly.


The material used to make an ink stone was varied: An infinite variety of natural stone types were employed, and they could be found both on mountains and in and alongside rivers all across China.

Since the demand for ink stones existed everywhere across the country — albeit perhaps more markedly in some areas than in others — ink stones were produced locally all across China; almost every province could boast of its own specialty, such as the Duan Ink Stone of the city of Zhaoqing in Guangdong Province, the Xi Ink Stone of Anhui Province, the Lu Ink Stone of Shandong Province, the Longwei Ink Stone of Jiangxi Province and the Chengni Ink Stone of Shanxi Province, to name some of the most prominent.

The following qualities were important in choosing a prospective stone to make into an ink stone: The latter was important for two reasons: The chosen stones were then further shaped and ground, usually with the addition of decorative patterns — often containing mini-landscapes, where the inkwell itself might be made to resemble a pond surrounded by a garden, as in a Chinese scholar garden.

But even in their own heyday, an extraordinary ink stone was treasured not just as a handicraft article, or tool, but as a talisman, or good luck charm, and a thing of beauty. It was surely this personal attachment aspect of the ink stone which set it apart, elevating it to the rank of supreme importance among the four component parts of penmanship in ancient China.

Writing Brush Writing brush The history of the writing brush can be traced back to some years ago, or around BCEif not earlier.

Even though no exemplars of these earliest brushes exist today brushes, up even to recent times, were generally made of animal hair some are stilla material that biodegrades relatively rapidly — otherwise we would all be wading around in the hair of mammoths, T-Rexes, grizzly bears, etc.

Subsequent historical records concerning the writing brush inform us that it was widely used to write on silk, as well as on pieces of bamboo and wood during the Eastern Zhou BC Dynasty.

The earliest exemplar of an extant writing brush stems from a "mummified" i. Other excavations that unearthed ancient-period writing brushes include the following: The above-mentioned writing brushes are all rare and precious instruments belonging to the art of calligraphy, and thus form a part of the cultural heritage not only of China, but of the world.

Paper Paper As one of the four great inventions of ancient China, paper has contributed immeasurably to the diffusion of knowledge throughout China as well as to the exchange of knowledge and ideas between cultures. In earlier times, before the advent of paper, various media had been used to record simple information, or data.

But none of these media facilitated the art of writing, but rather could only be used to record, in symbolic or pictographic terms, the barest of essentials; they did not lend themselves to, for example, storytelling, the recording of a poem, etc.

It was only when paper arrived on the scene that complex writing, capable of recording a poem or of telling a nuanced story, became widespread, and paper itself would give rise to the improvement of ink, since older forms of ink were not suitable to paper.

Paper was originally invented in Egypt, says the history books, around BCEyet this form of paper — termed cyperous papyrus, or papyrous antiquorium, by the Greeks — bears little resemblance to the paper that would be independently invented in China three thousand years later, incirca, by Cai Lun, Chief Eunuch of Emperor Ho Ti of the Eastern Han Dynasty — which paper, in contrast topapyrous antiquorium, resembles modern-day paper.


Whereas Papyrous antiquorium was made of reed-like grass that was cut lengthwise in thin strips, soaked in water until soft, then formed into a mat that was beaten flat, and finally sun-dried for use as "paper" a very thick and coarse paper indeed!

A screen was thereafter slipped into the vat and the thin "porridge" of pulp and crisscrossing fibers was gently lifted out of the water and placed on a flat surface to dry in the sun. When completely dry, this thin film of fibrous plant "porridge" had become a sheet of paper that was quite strong, and which lent itself perfectly to the application of ink, though there would go some time before scholars would arrive at a better ink medium for writing on paper.The Muslim eunuch admiral of Ming China's treasure fleet, Zheng He, led one of the greatest armadas in history on 7 voyages around the Indian Ocean.

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A person, Ancient China Part B, Ancient societies - China, History, Year 8, NSW The Han Dynasty The reign of the Han Dynasty, which lasted from AD to BC, is often considered one of the greatest periods in the history of the Han Dynasty, China officially became a Confucian state and prospered in agriculture.

According to data, there are about 70 million historical relics collectors in mainland China. Supposing each collector owns three historical relics, the total number of historical relics in the general population (not including those kept in museums) could be more than million, and most of which (at least 65%) are unearthed objects.

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