Traditional Chinese Writing Tools – brush笔(bǐ), ink墨(mò), paper纸(zhǐ), ink-stone砚(yàn).
Chinese calligraphy is truly an art even to this day. At its peak it was a highly revered trade, such that the tools involved in this art became known as the “Four Treasures of the Study” (with “study”, in this case, meaning the artist or calligrapher’s work room). These “four treasures” are the brush, the ink sticks, the paper, and the ink stone.
Brush – the traditional Chinese writing tool
The brush is the traditional Chinese writing tool. It is different from the quill pen used in the Western World in that it could be used for both painting and writing. It is said that the brush was first invented by Meng Tian, a famous general of the Qin Dynasty and its usage has survived until today – nearly 2200 years!
The brush itself was made from fine, soft animal hair. The kind of hair used determined the use of the brush. Goat hair, rabbit hair, and weasel hair were the most commonly used, with rabbit hair typically being used for calligraphy. The brush handle was made from varying materials. Often bamboo, wood, lacquer or porcelain were used, however, there were also handles made from precious materials such as pearl, ivory and jade.