The Four Treasures of A Studio

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The four treasures of a Chinese calligrapher's (or scholar's) studio are paper, brush, ink stick, and ink stone. Paper is one of the most famous Chinese inventions. Chinese practice calligraphy on Xuan Paper  that is used uniquely for calligraphy and painting. Chinese calligraphy brushes have such a long history that prehistoric painted pottery, bamboo slips, and silks are all writing materials for brush. The characteristics of softness and unrestrained freedom of a Chinese brush make Chinese calligraphy look more vivid, spirited, and rich in different styles. The ink stick is the unique pigment used for Chinese brush painting and calligraphy. The raw materials of ink stick are pine, oil, lacquer, and etc. A good ink stick can produce beautiful shades of ink density on a good and smooth ink stone. The nuances of ink textures make Chinese calligraphy look more diversified and rich in expressions. 



Grinding ink on a mini inkstone





Chinese calligraphy tools do not include only the Four Treasures. Accessories may include penholder (brush rest), brush pot, water dropper, ink box, paperweight, seal, seal box, and so on. The raw materials of these tools may be pottery, porcelain, copper, bamboo, stone, jade, and jadeite -- all of these make a studio more loveable, poetic, and enjoyable to indulge one in calligraphy, painting, seals, and literature.


Water dropper, antique ink stone, jade paperweights, and brush hanger

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