An auctioneer in Honiton has identified a mysterious object as being a Chinese inkstone, thought to date back as early as 200BC.
A man from Devon had been given the artefact by a Chinese friend while interned there during the war. Following his release, he was unable to trace the owner, and brought the item to Devon in 1958. Years later, the great nephew of the Devonshire man found the item in the attic, which left him intrigued as the identity of the object remained unknown.
Chilcott’s auctioneers were approached for assistance in identifying the item and where it came from. The valuation team at the auctioneers started research to discover more. Initially, the experts thought it may be a type of gravestone. The character markings on the item were unidentifiable as they were so old. Eventually, a specialist at SOAS at the University of London was able to decipher the markings and identified the object as an inkstone.
The inkstone is made from a roof tile and is believed to be from the Han Dynasty. The item also has a signature belonging to Dong Qichang, a calligrapher. The value of the item has been estimated at £1,000 to £1,500 and will be sold at auction in March. Viewing commences a couple of days before the sale and is restricted to specified times.
Collectors often prefer the freedom to browse antiques, like antique bedroom furniture, in a relaxed setting, before making a decision to purchase.
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