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Tracing the characters of a civilization's story

By YANG YANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-05-28 07:41

Items made of Xuan paper are popular tourist souvenirs in Jingxian county, Anhui province. BAI YING/FOR CHINA DAILY

In the realm of Chinese culture, the "Four Treasures of the Study", which are ink, paper, ink stone and brush, are not merely tools used by literati but also carriers of Chinese heritage.

For centuries, these treasures have been intricately intertwined with history, culture and the literati, influencing and enriching each other in profound ways.

Chinese ink, a fundamental element in calligraphy and painting, comes in two main varieties: pine soot and oil soot.

Pine soot ink, made from soot derived from pine trees, is characterized by its deep black hue, subtle sheen, lightweight texture, and suitability for calligraphy.

Oil soot ink, which is often produced from animal or plant oils, boasts a glossy, rich black color that's ide for painting. Raw materials for ink production include tung oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, lard and pine wood.

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