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Zhejiang Province is naturally endowed with scenic beauty and ingenious people

The ink brush, the ink stick, paper and the ink stone – collectively called the “Four Treasures of the Study” – were the indispensable writing and painting tools of the ancient literati. The gems of Chinese culture and art for a thousand years, they embody the cultural soul and skilful workmanship of the nation’s ancestors. Not only are they significant conduits for spreading traditional Chinese culture, they are also highly valuable collectibles. In 2006, the “Four Treasures of the Study” were listed as the first examples of National Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The “Four Treasures of the Study” are famous in many regions in China, but the primary origin among them is Anhui Province, famous for producing the quality She ink stone, Hui ink stick, Xuan brush and Xuan paper so highly prized by literati and calligraphers all over the world. In order to further publicise the intangible cultural heritage of China, Lou Kau Mansion – in celebration of the 4th Chinese Cultural Heritage Day – presents the “Four Treasures of the Study” exhibition from Anhui Province and invites six exquisite craftsmen from that region to demonstrate the traditional methods of making the She ink stone, Hui ink stick, Xuan brush and Xuan paper. In addition, a Chinese painting artist will display the charm and excellence of the Four Treasures with a live painting performance.



Named after its place of origin in Shezhou County in Anhui Province, the She ink stone is one of the four famous ink stones of China. It is famous not just for its toughness, radiance, smoothness and delicate texture but also for its detailed, refined and lifelike carved decorations.

The most celebrated Hui ink stick is produced in Shezhou County in Anhui Province and has a history going back more than a thousand years. According to the Annals of Huizhou County, the production of the Hui ink stick began in the late Tang Dynasty (705-907). The fact that the district of Huizhou had many pine trees (ink is made from soot extracted from burning pinewood) and also had the clear springs necessary for making the ink stick nurtured the rise of many ink stick artisans. The Hui ink stick is primarily characterised by its lacquerlike texture and long-lasting quality.

Jing County, of the Xuancheng Region in Anhui Province, has long been famous for its Xuan paper, made by strictly following traditional techniques. Xuan paper is favoured for its easy preservation, its enduring texture and its ability to hold colour for many years, to the extent that it is known as ‘thousand-year paper’.

Since the Tang Dynasty, Jing County in Xuancheng in Anhui Province has served as the national brush-making centre. It produced Xuan brushes to pay tribute and for imperial use. Thus, there appeared a number of famous practitioners of the art, and the Xuan brush prevailed throughout the country. Available in numerous varieties, the Xuan brush is characterised by its sharpness, smoothness, tidiness and firmness.