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Art of the Chinese Scholar’s Studio

Brush Washer, late 1000s to early 1100s, Chinese

Some of China’s greatest artists were scholar-officials. Because of their strong educational backgrounds, scholar-officials, or literati (wenren), were regarded as having the most sophisticated artistic styles and preferences in the nation at the time.

Their studies served as quiet retreats from their official duties, as well as spaces for artistic and intellectual pursuits, including painting, calligraphy, and collecting antiquities. While amid books, paint brushes, and antiques, the literatis might sip wine or tea while creating stunning works of landscapes, birds, or bamboo. Explore art objects that you may find in the scholar’s studio. To see more of this collection, visit the Chinese Scholar’s Studio in Gallery 340a.