Chinese craftsmen believe that a brush connects heaven and people. In the moment of creating a painting or a calligraphy work it becomes a conductor for energy, to which the artist connects if he is ready and is in the correct state of mind. Therefore, the brush is not just an operational tool, it is one of the jewels of the craftsman's study.
The first brush for writing was made by general Meng Tian (3d century BC), who was in charge of 300 thousand of soldiers-builders, who were defending one of the prefectures of China from the Xiongnu and at the same time constructing the most famous defensive structure, the Great Wall of China.
According to one version, he noticed on the wall a piece of hair and tied it to a twig, the other version says that he cut a few hairs from the tail of his horse. Nobody knows if it's true, but the god of brushes for writing in the late Chinese mythology is called Meng Tian.
Chinese brush is made in a special way. First, it always has a pointed tip. Second, the central part of the brush which gives it elastivity is assembled from cropped hairs, and the outer part is made from longer hairs. Therefore, there is a cavity inside a brush which is filled with ink or paint. This structure allows writing with one set of ink for a long time.
According to treatises on painting, the brush must meet four requirements:
1. The sharpness. The tip of a Chinese brush should easily form a point that can draw the thinnest line.
2. Structure. Long hairs on the outer side of the brush must have the same length and thickness so that the brush remains smooth and gathered.
3. Elasticity. The brush must spring responding to the movements of the calligrapher.
4. Roundness. The brush must be full, balanced and rounded along the entire length.
There are three main types of brush. Soft brushes are made from goat hair. Hard brushes are called wolf brushes by the Chinese, but they are made of ferret, kolonok, dog, badger and even from bear hair. Mixed brushes have a rigid core and an outer layer of goat hair.
There are more exotic options — large brushes made of horse tails, brushes made of rooster feathers, and brushes made of the first infant hairs. Although it's just a souvenir expressing the hope that the child will become an educated person in the future.
There are no standarts typical for Europeans, because all the brushes are still made by hand.
The master cuts off hair from the inner side of hide, sorts the hairs by size, making sure that all the ends look in the same direction.
A craftsman uses ash to remove fat from hair. Then he moistens each bunch, aligns and combs them multiple times so that all the bunches are of the same length. Then he forms a candle in the centre, this is the most important stage. The center is wrapped in the outer layer of the hairs.
The last step is to finally form a fairly smooth and elastic bunch. A craftsman takes it in his mouth, compresses it with his lips and rotates with a tongue. Finally, he bands the finished bunch with a thread and puts it into a socket. It takes ten years to learn all the tricks. A socket with a brush is fixed to the handle. The most common handles are made from bamboo, but there are also wooden handles with carving and inlay, bone, porcelain, ceramic handles and handles made from ornamental stones — there are many options.
There are also useful and beautiful accessories for brushes: work stands, stands for drying the finished work, glasses for storage.
Look at some samples of such accessoires.