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Ink Stick

Ink is a necessary when Chinese people do writing and painting in old days, just as important as writing brush. With the help of this unique material, writers and painters can express incredible artistic conception of Chinese calligraphies and paintings in a splendid way. The main material of ink is druss, pine soot and glue.

Before the invention of making ink by manpower, usually, Chinese people use natural ink and half-natural ink. Among four treasures of the Chinese study, the invention of ink is later than writing brush. But, still, we could find traces of ink’s using on some ornamentation of ancient painted pottery, inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty, slips of bamboo or wood for writing and somewhere else. It is said that ink was even used in a punishment which is tattooing the face or branding the forehead with ink.
Through a long time, eventually, artificial ink stick appeared in Han Dynasty. The raw material was derived from pine soot. It was mediated by hands originally, later, moulding skill was used which made the ink solider. However, the carving of ink stick mould was a significant process and also a creative course full of art. The shape of ink stick is depended on mould, some are in square or rectangle, and some are in round or ellipse. If you ever had seen an ancient Chinese movie, you will be familiar with a boy serving in a scholar's study. He would drop a little water into inkstone and grab the upward side of a ink stick and then start to rub for his master.But nowadays, prepared Chinese ink is getting popular due to the convenience. For painting, if a painter uses gongbi skill, he’d better use ink stick, but if xieyi skill is used, he’d better use the prepared Chinese ink for this skill needs more ink.
Ink can be divided into two types: one is lampblack and the other is pine soot. Lampblack is made of Tung oil while pine soot is made from pine branches. Generally speaking, for Chinese painting, painters will use lampblack, and only use pine soot in those paintings that need to dye. However, when drawing subjects without gloss, pine soot also be used.
Ink Stick

Ink sticks in different shapes

Not just a simple ink stick but also an art work with beautiful Chinese painting

A ink stick with a record of Xilingyinshe made in Caosugong(曹素功)


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