“Hidden Dragons”, left inkstone
”Homage to Gu Erniang” right inkstone
Images click for enlargement

dragon inkstone








ink stones (砚yan).


metamorphosed Pre-cambrian Dalriadan sedimentary rock from the Moray firth


The small (8.5 cm) octagonal stone is called “Hidden Dragons” first because of the natural veining on the surface but I then emphasised the point by engraving the back with three unashamedly ‘Celtic’ dragons chasing the flaming pearl.

The round stone is called ”Homage to Gu Erniang” I was trying for an 18th century restrained exquisiteness of conception with the front using a ‘taiji’ design for the well, copied from a Ming dynasty example.  The back is by contrast much more this side of the Gobi drawing heavily on the European ‘Celtic’ squiggles tradition that runs from prehistory with important examples at La Tène, the insular manuscripts and the Willow Tearooms. 

Other info

顧二娘 Gu Erniang female inkstone maker, dates not known but early 18th Century AKA Gu Xiajiao 顧  小腳 Gu little foot. A native of Suzhou, Gu Erniang's maiden name was recorded as Zao , birth and death is unknown, active in the reigns of Emperor Yongzheng and Qianlong.

Dimensions in millimetres


8.5 cm