<p style=”text-align: center;”>BUYING INK STICKS.</p>
This is just a heads up (warning) to those who may be new to the Chinese Arts.
Buying your ink sticks.
Be careful when looking on places like ebay.
Some pointers are as follows (but are not set in concrete BUT will help you stay out of trouble until experience kicks in)
1. Make sure it has a box.
2. How much is it? Very expensive?
3. What does it look like.
OK so 1. If it doesnt have a box probably it was a cheapie and someone has doctored it to look like something ancient.
Expensive ink sticks lose value unless you can actually use them in the shop if they dont have an elaborate wooden box.
$750 ink sticks dont come in celophane “off the peg” wrapping.
2. Is it really expensive…. ? Then read about it and ask yourself why is it so expensive. Normally it should have a recipe name or type title like “Tang Mo” or similar.
If the seller hasn’t added information you feel warrants the sticks purchase….. dont buy it.
If you suspect something…… be cautious and trust your instincts.
3. If it looks like aged wood or has been made to look “antique” or old…. forget it. Soot never ages visually like that. It should look as good as it did when it came out of the mold.
Study the image here below.
The edges are really cracked and chipped BUT there are no impacts on the face!!!
There looks like what appears to be white Flour on the surface. Or something pale and white oddly as if to make it look faded and old. It isnt dust as that is all colours.
And if this “faded” effect is supposed to be real are we trying to say soot ink fades to white when its old!!!!!!!!!!????????????
Lets not be stupid.
The edges are chipped away where, across the years, tiny impacts have taken place but there are NONE on the flat faces OR in the indented seal mark lower down. That is pristine without marks or damage. How can that be? Something’s wrong. Surely if this has been about for years clattering about and being chipped the face would bear as many marks….. but there’s nothing.
Has the seller list graded the ink stick?
That is, is it 101, 102 or 103.
103 is student grade.
102 is intermediate accomplished calligrapher grade.
101 is top notch and if you can afford it….. what you need.
For me, no grading?
So would you say this ink stick below was on sale for $117?
It is $32.
But even then remember there are soot ink sticks on sale everywhere for $2 which are 70% glue.
Useless if you are serious about calligraphy.
It wouldn’t be difficult to “age damage” them.
Ask the seller what happened to the box. Generally a box is ALWAYS with the ink stick. Odd for it not to be. People treasure ink sticks especially if they’ve paid high prices for high quality.
Always look and think.
Make sure your supplier has a reputation of quality.
Everything will fall into place after that.
I have also been victim to buying “ink stick sets” 14 in an ornate box only to find they are glue ornaments. £150 down the drain.
We all learn our lessons.
You can also find many articles written by inkston about inksticks. 🙂 Hope you enjoyed reading them and using materials from inkston.
Thanks for some really helpful information 🙂
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