The carbon-based ink (墨)
is made up of soot which is either obtained from smoked wood or oil (1
). Traditonally, the soot is mixed with oil and other additives, made into a dough, dried, and then cut into inksticks. Liquid ink is obtained by rubbing the inkstick with water on an inkstone as illustrated below:
"East Asian calligraphy scheme 01-en" by Yug - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:East_Asian_calligraphy_scheme_01-en.svg#/media/File:East_Asian_calligraphy_scheme_01-en.svg
However, it is now quite common to use prepared liquid ink (墨汁) straight from a bottle rather than preparing from an inkstick and inkstone. These pre-made liquid inks often offer comparable quality to ones made fresh from inksticks, and so are very popular among beginning learners.
A bottle of prepared calligraphic (shodo) ink manufactured by the Japanese ink maker Kaimei (3)
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