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Four Treasures of the Study
Four Treasures of the Study (wn fng s bao) is an expression used to refer to the ink brush, inkstick, paper and ink stone used in Chinese calligraphy. The name stems from the time of the Southern and Northern Dynasties.
The Brush (mo bi)
    Various Brush Pens The brush pen was invented very early in China's history. Brush pen use can date to at least three thousand years ago. The construction of brushes are adapted to a specific purpose such as painting or calligraphy and desired effect to be achieved such as clearly defined characters or blurred ones. And unlike conventional pens with a metal point, a brush pen is made from fine, soft animal hair. The resulting flexibility of the point of the brush pen is perhaps its most unique feature. A brush pen can be manipulated not only to the left and right on a two-dimensional plane, but can also be raised up and down, creating lines of varying thicknesses and endless variations. Many aspects of Chinese painting and calligraphy developed due to the special characteristics of the brush pen.

The brush pens are classified by the type of hair used: goat hair (yng ho), wolf hair (lng ho), and purple hair (zi ho). Wolf hair brushes are actually made from weasel hair and purple hair brushes from rabbit hair. Goat hair brushes are soft, flexible, and absorbent. Purple hair brushes produce bold lines and are best suited to calligraphy. Sometimes, to achieve a balance between steely and feathery lines, a brush that combines hair from two different types of animals is used. Not only is the handle made from bamboo, wood, lacquer, and porcelain, but also from precious materials including mother-of-pearl inlay, ivory, and jade. Usually, painters and calligraphers have several types of brushes on hand to adapt to individual purposes and preferences.
The Inkstick (m)
    The ink-stick is the pigment of Chinese traditional painting and calligraphy. Initially, natural ink or half-natural ink was generally used. Eventually, artificial ink appeared. The Inkstick is made from a mixture of soot and resin, molded into stick form. The three types of soot most commonly used pine, oil, and lacquer soot. A good inkstick is finely grained and has an even and smooth texture. It is firm and not sticky. It is pure, solid black in color, without murkiness or roughness.

Paper (zhi)
    Paper was invented by a Chinese named Cai Lun around 105 A.D. Slowly, paper supplanted traditional bamboo slips and silk. Seven hundred years later, papermaking technology was absorbed by Islamic countries. Around the 13th century, paper began replacing papyrus and parchment in Europe.

The Inkstone (yn)
    To use the traditional inkstick, an ink stone is required. As the name suggests, most inkstones are made of stone. The stone used must be of relatively fine whetstone (m sh) materials so the bristles of the brush pen are not damaged and to facilitate the grinding of the inkstick could. A little water is added to the inkstone, and the inkstick is ground. The result is ink, and the inkstone acts as an inkwell. Inkstones are extremely durable. In ancient times, artisans would have their names or other words engraved on their inkstones to be passed on to future generations.

 
 
Source:cnpc.com.cn
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