This brushrest is a recognized masterpiece of Shen Ch'uan-lin, whose square seal is carved into the side of the work. Meticulously fashioned from bamboo root, the piece features a finely detailed blossoming plum branch and a spray of bamboo, two plants that symbolize scholarly virtue. The miniature sculpture can support three brushes simultaneously.
Brushrests allowed painters to set down a wet brush so its bristles would not touch a table or stain paper. Artists made brushrests from a variety of materials, including stone, metal, and ceramics. This refined example, executed in "organic taste," fit harmoniously with the mellow hardwoods and the natural substances found on a scholar's desk.