An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Duanxi yanpu 端溪硯譜

Mar 18, 2024 © Ulrich Theobald

Duanxi yanpu 端溪硯譜 is a book on ink-stones written by an unknown person during the Song period. The transmitted version includes an afterword written in 1183 by Rong Qi 榮芑, who hold that the text was given to his uncle by a certain Ye Yue 葉樾 from Jinyun 縉雲, Zhejiang. The text itself must have been written in the early years of the Shaoxing reign-period 紹興. The first part of the book discusses the stone pits, texture, and the typical “eye” patterns of the stones in the region of Duanxi Creek 端溪 produced in the pits of Fuke Hill 斧柯山, Banbian Hill 半邊山, and Houli Hill 後歷山. The stones found at the foot of Fuke Hill yielded the highest prices, while the cheapest stones came from Bangkang Pit 蚌坑 of Houli Hill and from Xiaoxiang Gorge 小湘峽. The book presents a list of nearly fifty different types of Duanxi inkstones (Duanyan 端硯), and also discusses faults and defects. The book is rated as very reliable and can be compared with statements in Mi Fu’s 米芾 book on inkstones, Yanshi 硯史. The text can be found in the series Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, Shuofu 說郛, Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Siku quanshu 四庫全書 and Meishu congshu 美術叢書.

Wu Shengnian 吳繩年 wrote a similar book of 3 fascicles, Duanxi yanzhi 端溪研志. Zhu Yuzhen 朱玉振 is the author of a kind of supplement of 6 juan length, Zengding Duanxi kang zhi 增訂端溪硯坑志, with an appendix of illustrations. Both are found in the series Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書. The brief Duanxi yanshi kao 端溪硯石考 of Gao Zhao 高兆 is found in the Meishu congshu.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1853.