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Inkstones in the Tang Dynasty

Many wares from the Tang Dynasty (618–907), such as ceramics, bronze mirrors, inkstones and silk products, were innovative and characteristic of the time. As for inkstones, the trend shifted from round-shaped and multi-legged porcelain inkstones to inkstones in the form of a clog and its slight variation, i.e., inkstones in the form of the Chinese character feng (wind). In addition, the Tang Dynasty was the crucial period of transition from pottery inkstones to inkstones. One of the reasons was the discovery of several important types of stones for production in the Tang period. The ability of these stones to produce ink was better than that of pottery inkstones and porcelain inkstones. This is because the ink powders obtained from grinding these inkstones were very fine, so the ink had better penetration on paper. The four most famous types of inkstones in the Tang Dynasty were (1) Duan inkstones from Duanxi of Guandong Province (also known as Duanzhou in the Tang Dynasty), (2) She inkstones from the She County of Anhui Province, (3) red-silk inkstones from the Yidu County of Shandong Province, and (4) refined-clay inkstones which were made artificially.

During the Tang Dynasty, due to the emergence of the famous inkstones, there was a shift of trend. Previously, porcelain inkstones were the mainstream and inkstones only played a secondary role. Later inkstones became the mainstream while porcelain inkstones were still popular.

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