Chinese Inkstone: A Brief Introduction

By Fei Gao on Nov 05, 2023

Chinese Inkstone: A Brief Introduction

A Chinese inkstone is a piece of stone used to grind ink for calligraphy and painting. It is an essential tool for Chinese art and culture, and it has been used for centuries.


The earliest Chinese inkstones were made of pottery or stone, and they were often simple in design. Over time, inkstones became more elaborate, and they were made from a variety of materials, including jade, marble, and granite.


The production of a Chinese inkstone is a complex and time-consuming process. The first step is to select the right material. The most common materials for inkstones are slate, steatite, and jade. Once the material is selected, it is carved into the desired shape.

The next step is to polish the inkstone. This is done by hand, using a variety of abrasives. The polishing process can take several days or even weeks.


There are many different types of Chinese inkstones, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the most common types include:

  • Slate inkstones are the most common type of inkstone. They are made from a type of stone called slate, and they are known for their smooth surface and high absorption rate.
  • Steatite inkstones are made from a type of stone called steatite, and they are known for their durability and heat resistance.
  • Jade inkstones are made from jade, and they are prized for their beauty and rarity.


Chinese inkstones are used to grind ink for calligraphy and painting. To grind ink, a small amount of inkstick is rubbed against the surface of the inkstone. The ink is then mixed with water to create a smooth, flowing ink.


Chinese inkstones are an essential part of Chinese art and culture. They are a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of Chinese artisans, and they are a reminder of the rich history of Chinese art.

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I hope this helps!

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