Four Treasures

Choosing a Calligraphy Inkstone

By Beyond Calligraphy / 05/03/2010 /

The most important feature of any inkstone is its grinding surface quality. It needs to be suitable for preparing uniformly thick ink. The finer the ink quality the more pleasant the writing will be. However, this is not the only factor that will help us to decide. First of all, we choose the inkstone by…

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Calligraphy Inkstone Types

By Beyond Calligraphy / 05/03/2010 /

Inkstones are much more than just practical items for ink grinding. There are two main types; one for everyday use and another for decorative or collecting purposes. In ancient China beautifully carved and inscribed inkstones made by famous artists were often presented as tribute or gift from one ruler to another. Some historical inkstones can…

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Calligraphy Inkstone

By Beyond Calligraphy / 05/03/2010 /

The inkstone (硯, suzuri, also sometimes referred to as “ink slab”) is one of the four treasures of a calligrapher’s studio (aside from brush paper and ink), although it is used in ink painting as well. Its history goes back to the New Stone Age era, 5000 to 6000 years ago, when various pigments were…

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Calligraphy Brush Handling

By Beyond Calligraphy / 05/03/2010 /

A new brush, with the exception of sabaki fude (さばき筆), has its hairs glued together in the form of a spike (so called katame fude, かため筆 – lit. “hardened brush”). Sabaki fude are sold with released hairs. To remove the glue layer, the brush needs to be rinsed under running water (tepid, but not hot!).…

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Calligraphy Brush Anatomy

By Beyond Calligraphy / 05/03/2010 /

There are two major brush making methods. One results in a type of brush we can commonly buy today, and the other so called in Japanese maki fude (巻き筆. lit. “wrapped brush”). The main difference is that the hairs of maki fude are strengthened with special hemp paper wrapping. Maki fude was popular in Japan…

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Choosing a Calligraphy Brush

By Beyond Calligraphy / 05/03/2010 /

In Japan, it is said that brush is to be chosen according to a rule of four virtues. These are: 尖 (sen) – The brush tip must be sharp and pointy. There should be no irregularities in symmetry or thickness of hair of the tuft tip. This is especially important for brushes used for writing…

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Calligraphy Brush Sizes

By Beyond Calligraphy / 05/03/2010 /

Calligraphy Brushes come in different sizes. The main categorization is numerical from 1 to 10. Brush of a sizing number 1 has a diameter of approximately 2.1cm at the base of the tuft (near the brush axis), while number 10 has 0.5cm, although depending on the producer those measurements may differ slightly. On top of…

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Types of natural hairs used for Calligraphy brush hairs production

By Beyond Calligraphy / 05/03/2010 /

There are three main types of brushes: soft, hard and mixed. Mixed brushes, as the name itself suggests, are those made of both soft and hard hairs. They are usually more suitable for beginners. The softness of the brush depends on the type of hairs used in production. The most common animal hair brushes are…

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Calligraphy Brush (筆, fude)

By Beyond Calligraphy / 05/03/2010 /

The brush (筆, fude) is the most important out of the four treasures of the study (文房四宝, bunbou shihou). It symbolizes the extension of mind and body of the calligrapher. In this capacity it is much more than just a writing tool. The first brushes must have appeared around 5000 – 3000 B.C. together with…

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Four Treasures of the study

By Beyond Calligraphy / 05/03/2010 /

There are many tools that calligraphers use (penholders, brush pots, ink boxes, desk mats, paperweights, seals and seal boxes, raw materials, etc). However, four of them are essential to this art, not only because of their necessity, but also due to their symbolic meaning. They are called “four treasures of the study” (文房四宝, bunbou shihou).…

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