It is very rare to find a brush rest of this type carved from rhinoceros horn. Stylistically this brush rest is similar to those carved from bamboo, such as the example illustrated by S. Kwan, Ming and Qing Bamboo, University Museum and Gallery, The University of Hong Kong, 2000, no. 147, which is dated 19th century and has a dark patina.
The very dark color of this brush rest seems to reflect a new fashion for dying rhinoceros horn carvings a rich, matte black, which appeared during the 18th and 19th centuries. According to J. Chapman, The Art of Rhinoceros Horn Carving in China, London, 1999, p. 62, some of the sources of this black dye were pine soot and squid ink. One can see in the present carving that the recessed areas are quite matte, while in the raised areas some of the lighter color comes through, most likely from the piece having been handled.