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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 variations.

(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.

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