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Paper has existed since the Han Dynasty in 206 BC. Before that, books were made from bamboo and wood. Paper, as well as brushes and ink, became highly developed from Tang Dynasty onwards. One paper that should be noted is the Xuan paper, made from green sandalwood bark and other materials.

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Paper types:





the brush

The traditional artist uses the following four criteria for judging the quality of a brush before buying a brush.

  1. Sharpness - the hairs on a brush should always form a defined and symmetrical point or tip.

  2. Evenness - when the brush is dry the hairs should be even tapering to exactly the same length. (However hair lengths for specialty brushes varies and are an exception to this rule.)

  3. Roundness - the body of the brush formed by the hairs should be round and plump so that the brush remains the same shape from every angle. Turn the brush around to check this before you buy.

  4. Resilience - A good brush should have hairs that are springy and resilient, and have a good spine or waist. this is the area at the base of the tip). When the brush is wet the brush should retain its shape when pressed down on paper.

Types of brushes

  1. Extra-large, soft hair brush

  2. Large, soft hair brush

  3. Long-hair, soft tip brush

  4. “White cloud”, regular-sized mix hair brushes

  5. Badger hair brushes

  6. Large bamboo brushes

  7. Small bamboo brushes

  8. “Wolf”, or weasel-tail brushes

  9. Purple-hair



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Airplant Installation





choosing your brush

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Airplant Installation


The first treasure- the ink

The brush and ink are seen as inseparable as they are always used together, and together they are an integral part of a scholar’s work. Ink is treated with the utmost respect as a work if art cannot be created without it. It is said that it is easier to obtain gold than good ink. Ever since the Tang Dynasty, ink has been developed and each dynasty has its own famous ink makers. Due to the variety and quality of ink developed over the ages; its manufacture became an art form. Ink sticks are even seen as collectibles by scholars.

Types of ink

  1. Oil soot

    Oil soot gives a warm black colour. When manufactured, oil soot is combined with more glue than other types, making it more towards a general purpose ink.

  2. Pine soot - Pine soot ink is coloured a cooler shade of blue black because it is made with less glue and oil. It is suitable for calligraphy and detailed paintings.

  1. Industrial charcoal soot ink has the least about of oil and glue. It has a watery consistency which makes it well suited for free hand calligraphy.

There are no fixed rules for which ink to use for which works, but with experience you will discover the different effects that can be obtained.


Some artists commission ink to be made specially with qualities to their own preferences. There are inks that are made specifically only for collection, with ornate packaging and appearance. Some ink sticks are made coloured for specific purposes such as red ink to write calligraphy of official decrees. There are also non-poisonous inks that have medicinal purposes and are supposed to be digested as medicine but can be used for calligraphy as well,

Choosing ink

When choosing an ink, it should meet the following criteria: solid as a stone, textured like rhino horn and as black ans lacquer. The ink should have a purple-blue sheen. Modern manufactured liquid ink can be found in various qualities, however all good quality inks when dried should not spread when the paper is damp for mounting, and the ink should retain freshness for eternity.