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The Sound of One Hand: Reaching Beyond the limits of Traditional Ink Painting

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sumi-e Tools


In ink paintings, as in calligraphy, artists usually grind their own inkstick (Japanese: sumi) over an inkstone to obtain ink, but prepared inks are also available. Most inksticks are made of either pine or oil soot combined with animal glue (Japanese: nikawa). An artist puts a few drops of water on an inkstone and grinds the inkstick in a circular motion until a smooth, black ink of the desired concentration is made. Prepared inks are usually of much lower quality. Sumi themselves are sometimes ornately decorated with landscapes or flowers in bas-relief and some are highlighted with gold.This Sumi-e you see here is called Noble Snow Spirit Like Bamboo by Casey Shannon. It was inspired by bamboo gracefully bending in snow.

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