水注,即「硯滴」,用來滴水於硯台的器具,又稱「水滴」。可分為有嘴的「水注」,和無嘴的「水丞」。宋、元时较为盛行,以浙江龙泉窑和景德镇青白釉制品为丰富,器形有方、圆、立瓜、卧瓜、双桃、莲房、蒂叶、茄壶、牧童、卧牛飞蟾诸式,器身附流和小孔。明代以景德镇窑制品为佳,器形有桃注飞石榴注、双瓜注飞双鸳注等

The traditional Chinese scholar’s desktop is populated with four essentials (文房四宝 brush, ink, inkstone, and paper ) as well as a number of accessories such as brush rest, brush pot, water dropper, ink box, paperweight, seal, seal box and so on.   These have utilitarian as well as poetic value, as it would enhance the poetic ambiance of the scholar’s studio, and are collectively known as the “scholar’s playthings” (文玩).

Of these, the water dropper ( Suiteiki in Japanese and in Korean) is essential as it is used to drip water on the inkstone in order to prepare the ink for calligraphy or painting.  Such water droppers were made of various materials including ceramic, jadeite, bronze and even rhino horns, but ceramic is most common and ceramic water droppers from the Song & Yuan dynasties are some of the most beautiful as well as innovative.

宋,元水注以浙江龙泉窑和景德镇青白釉制品为丰富,器形有方、圆、立瓜、卧瓜、双桃、莲房、蒂叶、茄壶、牧童、卧牛飞蟾诸式,器身附流和小孔。明代以景德镇窑制品为佳,器形有桃注飞石榴注、双瓜注飞双鸳注等。它们的共同特点是轻巧、雅致,置放在案头不但实用,还可以供文人墨客欣赏把玩,因此都被后世的收藏家们收藏。

Here is a video:

Song Hutian water-droppers:

A)

B) Yingqing wares from S. Song Hutian kilns, now priced usually over and above 10,000 rmb in China:

宋 湖田窑影青龙柄水注

Water droppers are occassionally seen at auction in the West:

A Qingbai water dropper sold at Christie's

C) Other “Qingbai” ware water-droppers:

宋 影青八棱水注

A S. Song Longquan water dropper 龙泉窑瓜形水注; sold for rmb 30,000

D) Water droppers are also made at other Song kilns, but are rarer (although frequently cheaper):

An exquisite Yaozhou water dropper

Jizhou "tortoise glaze" water dropper 宋吉洲窑玳瑁釉水注

A Jun water dropper ( sold for Rmb 60,000)

E) The following are Yuan water-droppers. Some can be aesthetically very refined as well:

A Yuan qingbai water dropper (courtesy Grundner)

Another Yuan qingbai water dropper (courtesy Grundner)

Yuan shufu water dropper 元枢府窑执把水注

F) In my collection

1) an elegant and perfect S. Song Qingbai water dropper acquired in Beijing via Nellis (11Q2-065)

A S. Song Hutian qingbai water dropper

Top View of Above

Bottom view of above

And this is a rare unfired unfinished clay form of such a water pot excavated at the kiln (presumably Hutian) site:

窑址-素胎浮雕剔花水注

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