All About Japan

7+ Kinds of Calligraphy Brushes

| Learning Japanese , Stationery

Writing calligraphy requires the right brush. And there are many different sizes and textures depending on your needs. The following selection from the historic Suse Kobo in Toyohashi City, Aichi, should be more than enough to meet your needs!

1. Sai-hitsu Brush — Fine

These fine brushes are ideal for writing small characters on reduced surfaces such as letters and evelopes. They produce thin and neat lines.

The tips are made of firm weasel hair, and according to the complementary hair around the tip (either sheep's hair or a second kind of weasel hair), the resistance against paper, absorption of ink and sharpness of the lines will vary.

2. Kolinsky Weasel Sable-Hair Brush — Small

These brushes are made of Kolinsky weasel sable-hair, which is both firm and has a nice sense of resistance against paper.

These small brushes have thin tips that are perfect for writing addresses and letters as well as kana characters, but are also suited to hand-copying sutras. They produce very thin and neat lines that allow them to do meticulous work.

These brushes can be used easily by novices since they produce smooth and neat writing. While these brushes all have small tips, various lengths are available.

3. Kolinsky Weasel Hair Brush — Medium

These medium brushes are ideal for writing from six to 12 characters per half page, and also for writing kana, as they produce thin and neat lines.

The brushes are fully made of Kolinsky weasel hair from Harbin in northern China. Thanks to the moderate firmness of the hair, the writing quality is especially neat.

Two models are available, made with male or female weasel hair. The female Kolinsky weasel has hair a slightly softer texture that will bring more curves to your writing, while the male hair will produce extremely neat writing.

4. Ken-mofude — Medium Calligraphy Brush

Like the brushes above, these medium-sized brushes are ideal for writing six to eight characters per half page, and also for writing kana, as they produce thin and neat lines.

The tips are made from selected Japanese Akaten horsetail hair, which gives them great writing quality. Two models are available: One completed with sheep's hair, giving it a softness that will allow curvy characters; and the other, thanks to the slight firmness of its weasel hair, will produce neat and clear writing.

5. Kolinsky Weasel Hair Brush — Thick

Neither too soft nor too rigid, these brushes offer nice resistance against paper and produce smooth writing.

The tip of the brush is generally made of brown or black hair while the rest is hair of a lighter color. But the brush is entirely made of carefully selected weasel hair, offering perfect resistance against paper. It's also great with colored ink.

6. Ken-mofude — Thick Calligraphy Brush

The Ken-mofude type of brush is one of the most popular since it can be use for many different kinds of writing. Neither too soft nor too rigid, these brushes have nice resistance against paper and produce smooth strokes. The tip of the brush is generally made of brown or black hair, while the rest is hair of a lighter color.

Made with Japanese Akaten horsehair and weasel hair or sheep's wool, these brushes are available in two sizes, suitable for writing between two to six characters per half page.

7. Ueken-mofude — Thick Calligraphy Brush

This calligraphy brush is rather long, making it ideal for writing large characters at roughly two to four per page. The tip of the brush is made with selected Japanese Akaten horsetail hair, and the base is made with sheep's hair.

The sheep's hair allows the ink to be absorbed by the brush, avoiding drops and leaks, while the short handle facilitates movement.

How to Prepare a Calligraphy Brush

If you need some advice on how to prepare a new brush for writing calligraphy, check out the video above. It's actually quite simple!

Ink Sticks

Now if you need some ink to work with your brush, take a look here!