On View: Asian Galleries, South, 2nd floor
Throughout eastern Asia, writers and painters created their own ink by adding drops of water to dry pigment. Water droppers with tiny spouts were a standard accessory for any desk, and they became one of the few decorative items that proper Confucian scholars could display in their studies without accusations of frivolity. In Korea, water droppers took many imaginative forms and their decoration often included auspicious emblems of Chinese origin, such as bats, which represent good fortune. The peach-shaped dropper here, with its copper-red decoration, is a particularly fine example; peaches are an emblem of longevity.
Porcelain with cobalt blue underglaze decoration
Height: 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm)
Diameter at mouth: 3 9/16 in. (9.1 cm)
Diameter at base: 2 5/8 in. (6.7 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roger Elliot and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Ford in memory of Jean Alexander
Water Dropper, 19th century. Porcelain with cobalt blue underglaze decoration, Height: 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roger Elliot and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Ford in memory of Jean Alexander, 85.114.4. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 85.114.4_PS11.jpg)
overall, 85.114.4_PS11.jpg., 2017
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What is a water dropper?
A water dropper was used to wet ink stones or blocks that needed to be moistened so that scholars could pick up the pigment with a brush to write. If you look closely, each one has a small hole at the top that would drip the water out when inverted.