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Before you start to write Chinese calligraphy, it is necessary to select the right set of tools. You need to have a brush, ink, paper, and an ink stone. These are referred to as the four treasures of the study.


lotusWriting Brush

Normally, a writing brush has two parts — a nib made from animal hair (the most common brush hairs come from rabbits, weasels, and goats), and a shaft made from bamboo, porcelain, and jade. You select the brush based on the size of characters. Generally, a big and soft brush is used to write large characters, while a small and stiff brush is good for small characters.


lotusInk Stick

Made of soot and animal glue, an ink stick is a type of solid ink used for calligraphy and brush painting. Calligraphers need to grind the ink stick consistently against an ink stone with some water to make liquid ink before they can apply it to paper. For the ease of writing, however, ready-to-use liquid ink is widely accepted in the modern world.


lotusXuan Paper

Paper is one of China’s greatest of inventions. Before paper, people carved characters on bones, tortoise shells, and bronze. Known as the rice paper, Xuan paper has a soft surface with fine textures. It can be preserved for a long time.  That’s why we can still appreciate many masterpieces of Chinese calligraphy from ancient times.


lotusInk Stone

An ink stone is literally a piece of stone. The stone needs to be hard and fine. It can’t be too dry or slippery. When grinding the ink stick against the stone, one needs to keep the ink stone steady. After each use, the stone must be washed to keep it clean and in a good condition.  Often, beginners just use a plate to hold the ink instead of a stone.