Brush, ink, paper and instone , called the Four Treasures of the Study, are the key instruments for writing Chinese calligraphy.
Writing brush ranks the first of the four treasures of the study.Traditional writing brushes are not only the necessary stationary of ancient Chinese, but also have extraordinary charm in expressing Chinese calligraphy and painting. There are many kinds of writing brushes. In terms of the materials, many animals’hair are used such as rabbits, goats, deer, mice, tigers, gorillas, ducks, geese, chicken, pigs even humans.From the performance’s perspective, writing brushes can be classified into rigidity brush, flexible brush and doubled both brush. As for the material of barrel, different varieties of bamboos and wood.The most famous writing brush producing area in China is Huzhou City, Zhejiang Province. Writing brushes made in Huzhou is called Hu writing brush.
Ink is the pigment for writing and drawing. It is divided into two types: pine-soot ink and oil-soot ink. Pint-soot ink is made of pine wood’s ash. The characteristics of it are black, low glossiness, light colloid, so it is only suitable for writing. While the oil-soot ink is made from animal or plant oil. It usually has bright color and is perfect for traditional Chinese painting. Today, Tunxi District and Xi County in Huangshan city, Anhui Province are the two manufacturing centers of Hui Ink Sticks.
Paper is one of the four great inventions in ancient China.People believe that the Xuan Paper is the best paper to write . Xuan Paper is produced in Jin County, Anhui Province, which is a kind of high class artistic paper used for traditional Chinese brush calligraphy, painting, mounting, rubbing, watermarking etc. Till now, Xuan Paper has a history of over one thousand years. Xuan Paper has excellent ink embellishment, durability, non-deformation and insect resistance, thus it has become the paper which could best present the artistic style of traditional Chinese calligraphy.
Inkstone are the container of ink. Most of inkstones are made of stones. Inkstone have various shapes including rectangular, square, circle, oval and bionic shapes such as animals and plants. High class inkstones have the characteristics of exquisit smooth and quality, grinded ink is fine and well-distributed.