Archaeologists have confirmed that the I-hsing kilns in Kiangsu province were already active by the twelfth century. But it was not until the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) that their small, unassuming "organic taste" products began to attract the literati's attention. Famous for stoneware teapots and other unglazed vessels in natural earth tones, the highest quality I-hsing ware often bore the signatures and name seals of its makers. This finely detailed water container is shaped like a lotus bud and was crafted from red, brown, and yellow clays. Its bottom is imprinted with the square seal of Ch'en Ming yuan, a versatile I-hsing potter famous for his scholar's desk objects fashioned to look like bamboo, nuts, vegetables, and prunus. The waterdropper, an essential implement for the literatus, was used to hold the water that was sprinkled onto the grinding stone when making ink. Ch'en's works were highly sought after and his naturalistic style was emulated by many followers into the nineteenth century.