The four treasures of the study
The writing brush, ink stick, ink stone, and paper were requisite treasures in the study of the scholars of ancient China, and they are often referred to as the “Four Treasures of the Study”. The writing brush and ink stick have been used by the Chinese to write and paint since 5,000 years ago. In the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC), people already used feathers of different hardness and bamboo trunks to make brushes. During the Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD), man-made ink was used instead of natural ink. After paper was invented by the Chinese, bamboo slips, wooden tablets, brocade and silk, which originally functioned as writing surfaces, gradually faded out. The ink stone was first developed with the use of writing brushes and ink. after the Song Dynasty(960AD-1279AD), the “Four Treasures of the Study” particularly referred to hubi, the writing brush produced in Huzhou, Zhejiang province; huimo, the instick produced in Huizhou, Anhui province; xuan paper, a kind of paper produced in Xuanzhou, Anhui province; and duanyan, the ink stone made in Zhaoqing, Guangdong province(Zhaoqing was earlier called Duanzhou). Indeed, the “Four Treasures of the Study” have written the whole Chinese civilization, as it is.