The inkstone, was considered by ancient Chinese scholars to be the most important of the four Treasures of the study, since a quality ink stone was the key to producing the desired type of ink.
Inkstone-a stone mortar for the grinding and containment of ink.
Traditional Chinese ink is usually solidified into sticks for easier transport and preservation. Water is usually kept in a ceramic container and sprinkled on the inkstone, which has a generally flat surface. The ink stick would be ground with the flat surface of the inkstone. By mixing ink with different amounts of water, the calligrapher or artist can create different densities and innumerable shades of black and gray.
Inkstone – more than a special stone.An extraordinary ink stone was treasured not just as a handicraft article, or tool, but as a talisman, or good luck charm, and a thing of beauty. The personal significance that the ink stone brought (as an individual’s good luck charm for example) is what set it apart, elevating it to the rank of supreme importance among the four treasures of the study in ancient China.