Water Dropper in the Shape of a Peach
On View: Asian Galleries, South, 2nd floor
Throughout eastern Asia, writers and painters created their own ink by adding drops of water to dry pigment. Water droppers with tiny spouts were a standard accessory for any desk, and they became one of the few decorative items that proper Confucian scholars could display in their studies without accusations of frivolity. In Korea, water droppers took many imaginative forms and their decoration often included auspicious emblems of Chinese origin, such as bats, which represent good fortune. The peach-shaped dropper here, with its copper-red decoration, is a particularly fine example; peaches are an emblem of longevity.
Glazed porcelain with cobalt blue and copper red decoration
last half of 18th century
overall: 4 3/8 x 3 3/4 x 3 7/8 in. (11.1 x 9.5 x 9.8 cm)
Height: 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm)
Width: 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)
Depth: 3 7/8 in. (9.8 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Robert S. Anderson
Water Dropper in the Shape of a Peach, last half of 18th century. Glazed porcelain with cobalt blue and copper red decoration, overall: 4 3/8 x 3 3/4 x 3 7/8 in. (11.1 x 9.5 x 9.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Robert S. Anderson, 1993.185.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 1993.185.3_PS11.jpg)
overall, 1993.185.3_PS11.jpg., 2017
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What is a water dropper?
A water dropper was used to wet ink stones or blocks that needed to be moistened so that scholars could pick up the pigment with a brush to write. If you look closely, each one has a small hole at the top that would drip the water out when inverted.