The Four Treasures of Chinese Brush Painting
(1) INK: The Ink is in stick form, made from burnt Pine Wood Soot, mixed with glue. This procedure was invented in 205 B.C. So highly
prized is the Ink-Maker's Art that a gift of Fine Ink Stick is a mark
of high honor. Pine Wood Soot Ink (Sung Yen Mo) is carefully ground by
the Artist - who uses the Ink Stick with small amounts of water to
produce only enough Ground Pine Soot Ink for the immediate need.
The Ink is endowed with "infinite" possibilities, thus
enabling the Artist to express an unusual "sense of dimension"
& subtlety of spirit.
(2) The Inkstone: Made of Slate upon which the Ink is ceremoniously
ground by the artist.
(3) The Brush: Almost as if to emphasize the severity of the Chinese
Art discipline, the Brush is made from hardy materials, including the
fur of the wild rabbit, wild goat, deer and wolf. Brush handles are
made from sturdy Bamboo.
Thus, Chinese brushes demand great skill in proper use, for Chinese
'Brush' does not permit the Artist to "go back over the work to
correct mistakes, as in some Western art. The brush is held in the same
way the user holds chopsticks, and is very sensitive to the slightest
movement or pressure. The heavier the pressure, the thicker the stroke;
& the lighter the pressure, the thinner the stroke. With too much
pressure, the brush loses its shape: The Artist is then unable to
complete the stroke properly.
In fact, the technique requires that the Artist "re-form"
the Tip of the Brush after nearly every stroke! In the hands of a
master, the "Chinese Brush" calls for subtle & intricate
(4) The Paper: The fourth treasure was invented in China during the
Han Dynasty in 100 A.D. Artist Nan Rae uses true handmade paper or "Double Shuen" - very thin and absorbent. It is always handled with care and respect by the Artist.
Without the Four Treasures, those who hold tradition dear and valuable
agree that there would be no Chinese Brush Painting as it is known and
appreciated today. The Four Treasures have been called the "instruments" of design, discipline and style
which advanced the wondrous "Art of Brush" and is recognized
as one of Great China's signal contributions to world culture and the
art of living - a cultural hallmark of a great tradition.