Brush Rest in the Form of Lingzhi Fungus
Qing dynasty (1644-1912)
2.125 x 2.5 x .875 inches
The traditional brush used for painting and calligraphy combines carefully shaped horse hairs with a bamboo handle. A brush rest like the one seen here enabled the artist to prop up one brush while using another; the shape of the ink-saturated bristles could be maintained, and no ink would run down the handle. Qing brush rests come in a dazzling variety of shapes and materials. Carved from amethyst into a swirling lingzhi fungus (a type of mushroom), this brush rest confers a wish of heavenly immortality.
Eberhard, pp.198-199, 242-243