About Chinese Ink

The Craftsmanship of Chinese Ink Sticks

In Huizhou, the place of the ink stick’s origin, an ink making factory with over two-hundred years’ history still stands fast to the traditional cultural heritage even in this digital age. Jiaming Hu, an inheritor and promoter of the Chinese inksticks’ craftsmanship, has devoted his life to the art of ink handicraft. In this video, he tells us about the making of inksticks. 

The creation of ink first involves a complex process of brewing, in which gelatine blending extracted from dozens of types of herbs is the most intricate – a tiny deviation from the recipe can lead to poor quality of the final ink. Additionally, smoke is one of the most important ingredients of ink. A special smoke must be collected and properly integrated into the ink to get the desired product, thus leading to the second step: pounding and hammering. It is said that to make good ink, it requires at least 100 thousand hammer strikes. The ink will then go through quenching and tempering to fix its shape. A freshly made inkstick will then have its surface printed with texts or images using ink models. After that, it will be left to air-dry and cool, a process that lasts for several months. Finally, the printed texts and images need to be embellished with gold paints before an inkstick is finally completed.