Small Mountain Brushwasher



Qing Dynasty (清朝)

Celadon Nephrite Jade

Width: 3-3/4 inches (9.5 cm)


During the Ming and Qing periods, the Chinese literati and their aesthetics exerted a widespread influence in the decorative arts. These decorative arts often show a preference of the scarce and understated, and usually reflect a distinct taste for the natural, in both subject matter and choice of material.


This brush washer is in the form of a small mountain, a theme common to scholar’s art. In China many mountains are associated with mythological and historical legends and are sacred objects of special veneration. They were often considered by Daoists as especially important religious sites and were designated as Dongtian (cave-heaven) or Fudi (blessed land). The present example is adorned with a lone pagoda and a grove of pine trees. A small pool at the base of the mountain forms the basin of the brushwasher. The material is of a fine celadon green nephrite jade with russet inclusions throughout. In our opinion the subject matter, material and workmanship suggest a Qing dynasty date for this work of art.


Reference Number: 3656

Price Available Upon Request


For further information on miniature jade mountains, see “Mountain Retreats in Jade”. Barry Till and Paula Swart. Arts of Asia, July-August, 1986. Pages 42-53.


For a detailed discussion of the importance of mountain imagery and practices associated with mountain worship during the Zhou dynasty, see Sacred Mountains in Chinese Art. Kiyohiko Munakata. Krannert Art Museum, Urbana-Champagne. University of Illinois Press, 1991. Pages 6-7. Changing attitudes in mountain worship and practices during the Six Dynasties and Tang periods can be found on pages 34-48.


To inquire about this work of art, contact us at 415.299.1600 or email at