This little pot is made from bamboo and is a brush pot.
It is one of the objects from ‘the scholar’s table’. If you were a Chinese scholar in the middle of the 18th Century – or even the 19th Century – you would have a table, and on it you would have a number of key things: brushes for calligraphy, a Bitong (a brush pot) to put your brushes in, and an ink stone to grind up ink.
These pots are quite difficult to date accurately, but judging by the style of carving, it is suggested that they date from the first half of the 18th Century. Expert John Axford goes further and explains that it might date from 1730-1740.
The mounts on the base of the pot are made from another wood, which is called zitan, which is a rare wood now. This example would be sought-after by collectors of Chinese wares, who would be willing to pay £6,000 to £8,000 for it.
Did you know? Calligraphy comes from the Greek meaning 'beautiful writing'. In China it is appreciated as high art and displayed in museums.
Did you know? A rare 300-year-old carved bamboo pot, donated to a Bristol charity shop, was sold for £360,000 at auction.