Treasures of Chinese Scholar’s Study

Wang Zhu (Northern Song Dynasty)

Encourage Learning

You must study hard at an early age,
Writings can help you live well in the world.
All high officials under emperors,
Are without exception scholars indeed.

A country boy early in the morning,
Can be high officials in the evening.
Successes are not determined by birth,
Real men should be dependent on nothing.

北宋 汪洙




This well known compilation of verses on learning by the Northern Song scholar Wang Zhu manifested the deeply-rooted beliefs in Chinese society – the path to success lies in learning. The imperial examinations, a civil service testing system is the path to office and social advancement in imperial China.

The ideal of a well learned man is a respected scholar – statesman, an accomplished artist and calligrapher, an intellectual with refined tastes and aesthetics.

The scholar’s study is an uttermost important chamber in a literati’s residence. It houses his rare book collections, highly selected tools for writing and painting purpose, objects for contemplation, musical instruments for amusement and relaxation. It is a spiritual sanctuary carefully designed for cultivating one’s sensibility and creativity.

砚山 – Inkstone

笔床 – Brush rest

笔屏- Brush screen

笔筒 – Brush holder

笔洗 – Brush wash

笔掭 – Brush licker

水中丞 – Water dropper

书匣 – Book box

印色池 – Ink pad

糊斗 – Paste ladle

秘阁 – Arm rest

贝光 – Paper calender

箫 – Flute

香橼盘 – Fruit plate