Skip to Content
Today Open today 11–5

Scholar's Rock or Brushrest

Rough, craggy stone with numerous holes and crevices mounted on a dark, varnished wooden base.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • Rough, craggy stone with numerous holes and crevices mounted on a dark, varnished wooden base.


Qing dynasty (1644–1911), 18th century



About this artwork

Resting upon a dark, varnished wooden base, this rugged and craggy rock with numerous holes and crevices was likely displayed in a scholar’s studio during the Qing Dynasty, possibly serving as a brush stand. Its saturated black color, juxtaposed with the light-brown texturing, gives the rock a moist and glossy appearance. This surface quality hints at the rock’s potential origin in Lingbi, Anhui province – the renowned source of the finest scholar’s rocks. Sometimes, the found rocks were carved to enhance their visual appeal. The natural yet fantastical aesthetics of rocks like this evoke mountain landscapes that seem almost animated when viewed from different angles. To Qing scholars, these rocks represented microcosms of the universe, accessible within the confines of their own studios.


On View, Gallery 134


Arts of Asia


Scholar's Rock or Brushrest


China (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Stone (probably Lingbi stone)


21 × 27.5 cm (8 1/4 × 10 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Russell Tyson Fund and purchased with funds provided by of an anonymous donor

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions