TheChinese inkIt is an ink used mainly in Chinese, Japanese and Korean calligraphy, in which the sumi-e is most frequently used (墨 絵sumi e). It later came to Japan during the 14th century in the Muromachi era and was used to make monochromatic ink paintings, which had a deep influence of Chinese culture and were propagated by Zen monks, forerunners of the sumi-e technique.
Chinese ink is the dust or soot that is collected from the fumes produced by the combustion of resinous materials, called carbon black, dissolved in water. It does not require a binder, as the carbon molecules are in colloidal suspension and, when drying, form a waterproof layer. A binder such as gelatin or, more frequently, shellac can be added to it in order to increase its durability after drying. By adding a binder, the resulting ink may or may not be waterproof.
Liquid ink used to be used in the past from solid sticks. The bars, rectangular, circular or canoe-shaped tablets, were rubbed by a rough stone specially designed for this purpose called suzuri in Japanese.
A little water is poured over these stones and the tablet is ground over them, gradually undoing the ink, which mixes with the water that accumulates in the cavity of the stone. This process can be continued until the ink reaches the required density for use, which is why it usually takes a few minutes.
Prepared liquid ink dries easily, and it is advisable not to let it dry on the stone or on the brush./ p>
Currently, it is common to use bottles of already prepared, very dense Chinese ink, which can be used directly or dissolved with a little water.
The compositional nature of Chinese ink is quite stable chemically, although it is common for works made with this technique to be susceptible to the detachment of carbon particles when rubbed. It should be mentioned that Chinese ink does not fade or fade with prolonged exposure to light as Western inks do.
Information taken from