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Calligraphy Ink Sticks

Calligraphy Ink Sticks

 

Most of the production of ink sticks is done by hand during the winter months between October and April for the animal glue used as a binder to harden well. The temperature and relative humidity are therefore vital factors in the making of these sticks, which embodies the craftsmanship and heritage of traditional skills.

Ink sticks have been a very practical way of conserving and transporting ink. The ink is obtained by rubbing the ink stick called Sumi upon the surface of a stone vessel called Suzuri.

Production of ink sticks dates back to the 8th Century. Suzuka City and Nara City are both well known for the production of ink sticks.

Shinseido has been established in 1947 and nowadays is run by the 3rd and 4th generation of the Ito family. It is one of 5 remaining makers of Japanese Ink in Suzuka - a city not only famous for the F1 circuit but also a center of production of traditional ink sticks. Shinseido has been recognized as a traditional producer of ink craft by the Japanese government. They produce and sell a large line-up of traditional inks for general use as well as special inks for writing kanji, hiragana or drawing. A recent innovation of Shinseido is the series of ink sticks including color pigments that allow to set accents when drawing with Japanese ink.

Above video gives a very good overview on the production process of Japanese ink sticks from burning wood and collecting the ashes, adding glue, forming the sticks, drying and adding drawings at the very end.

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