Chinese painting material
Chinese painting use a large variety of brushes. Here are the three most used models:
- Brush with hairs of goat: Yang Hao. Very flexible, it is generally used to paint great surfaces and for gradations of colours.
- Brush with hairs of wolf: Lang Hao. It is used for the more precise layouts such as contours, the bamboos, the trees and the rocks.
- Brush with hairs of goat and wolf: Jian Hao. Constituted of an external crown of flexible goat hairs with an interior end of hard wolf hairs, it combines the quality of the two preceding brushes.
The new brushes are stiffened by an adhesive to protect the end. It is then necessary to dissolve this adhesive with tepid water to make the hairs find their flexibility.
Before using the brush, it should a little be wet before soaking it with ink or colour. Then slightly taps the brush on the inkpot or the saucers to remove the surplus. You should not charge or empty the brush by turning it: it would deform the end.
Here is the correct maintain of a brush for Chinese calligraphy and painting:
It is usually a sheet of rice paper: Xuan Zhi. We distinguish two kinds:
- Absorbing paper: Shengxuan. To make beautiful ranges: it is used for Chinese calligraphy and paintings Xie Yi, Shui Mo, etc..
- Not absorbing paper: Shu Xuan, also called Fan Xuan. Not absorbing ink like absorbing paper, it is appropriate for the precise layout of Chinese paintings Gong Bi, Mou Gu, etc.. It is the absorbing paper coating with an alum solution.
Some painters also use a particular Chinese silk called John. But silk deteriorates very quickly.
Ink and ink stone
Traditionally, Chinese painters use an ink in the shape of solid sticks. Before painting it must be rubbed on a stone with a little water. It could obtain various densities of ink according to the time of rubbing. Stone ink must be provided with a lid to prevent that ink does not dry when it is not used. (If it dries, which arrives inevitably even with a lid, you can add a little water.) You can get many sizes and many forms of ink stones. It is even considered as art.
But now, we use very good black inks in small can for the penmanship and tubes of water ink for all the colours in painting.
You need small saucers for the colours (a quite smooth plate can make the deal). You can mix them and add water to obtain the colour and the density you want. They should be used in small quantity because if they get dry, even if you can add water, they lose their qualities.
Other materials used for chinese painting
A water container (a bowl for example) to wash the brushes.
A carry-brushes (generally made in ceramic) to pose the brushes when you paint : the end would not touch the table. Some also use carry-brushes made in wood provided with hooks to suspend and make thus dry the brushes.
Paperweights to maintain the paper sheet.