Chinese Ink Stick
Chinese Ink
Legend says that King Yi first invented ink stick about 2,800 years ago, yet archaeologists have detected ink marks on the back of inscribed bones or tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty, 3,200 years ago. There are many varieties of ink stick. The most famous is hui mo;(Anhui ink stick), made from the pines that grow on Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) in Anhui Province. The trees are burned and the soot left after burning makes excellent ink stick. Xi, a famous ink maker, moved to Shexian County in Anhui at the end of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). His method for making ink stick from pine soot was handed down to later generations. Such a ink stick has enjoyed a good reputation for more than a thousand years. The Anhui ink stick has magic qualities. It is as hard as stone and does not deteriorate for as long as ten years. The ink produced from the Anhui ink stick is as black as black paint. Many charming stories and anecdotes about the Anhui ink stick have been recounted in literary circles, past and present. Ink sticks fall into three major categories, according to the chief materials used in manufacture. The pine-soot ink stick. This is made with the mixture of pine soot, which is the main part, a certain amount of glue, medicinal material and spices. The oil-soot ink stick. Tung oil, sesame oil, rapeseed oil or petroleum is burned and the soot is mixed with gelatine, medicinal material and spices. The oil- and pine-soot ink stick. This is a mixture of the previous materials for making the oil-soot ink stick and pine-soot ink stick. Proportions vary, and the quality of the ink stick differs accordingly.
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