Brush Buyer Guide
Over 60 brushes including specialist and premium Red Star and a value range from Inkston, all quality handmade Xuan brushes from traditional workshop in Anhui.
How to choose a fine brush
- Fine detail brushes for small size calligraphy and detail painting, these may be short and thin like the 花枝俏 “Flower Brush” Extra Fine Detail brush or long and thin like the 貂毫长锋 Long Pointed Diao Hao Marten Brush.
- Standard Large/Medium/Small sizes which have a 2-4cm length.
- Extra large and super-sized brushes for large calligraphy or painting strokes.
Hair types and painting styles
The hair type affects the softness or stiffness of the brush:
- 狼毫 Lang Hao Wolf brush (Weasel hair): stiffer and preferred for detail work and regular script calligraphy (楷书 Kaishu)
- 羊毫 Yang Hao Wool brush (Goat hair): softer, holds a lot of ink, preferred for painting and cursive script styles (行书 xingshu,草书 caoshu).
- 兼毫 Jian Hao Wolf/Wool combination brush: these combination brushes can be used for all types of calligraphy and painting, the core (60–65%) is weasel hair, and the outer hair (35–40%) is wool.
- 貂毫 Diao Hao Marten brush: a stiff hair used to make long pointed brushes.
- 獾毫 Huan Hao Badger brush: a coarser hair also suitable for long point brushes
- 紫毫 Zi Hao rabbit brush: the most expensive material, it is said that only 1 hair in thousands can be used to make this brush, often a combination Weasel/Wool brush is used as an alternative.
Branding and shafts
- The premium Red Star brand brushes are the most costly and have mostly bamboo shafts
- The Inkston brand brushes use wooden shafts
The classic/standard range
This range was selected in consultation with the experts to provide the most commonly used range with high quality brushes and includes the standard sizes in “wolf” and combination brushes plus some detail and larger size brushes. This range is normally in stock with Amazon in USA and Europe.
- 0903Ws 花枝俏 “Flower Brush” Extra Fine Detail LangHao Wolf brush 0.35×1.9cm
- 0603Ws 经典狼毫小 Small Classic Lang Hao Wolf brush 0.5×2.1cm.
- 0602Ws 经典狼毫中 Medium Classic Lang Hao Wolf Brush 0.6×2.5cm
- 0601Ws 经典狼毫大 Large Classic Lang Hao Wolf Brush 0.7×2.8cm
- Red Star 加料冬狼毫小楷 Dong Lang Hao Pro Winter Wolf Brush Small 0.6×2.6cm.
- Red Star 加料冬狼毫中楷 Dong Lang Hao Pro Winter Wolf Brush Medium 0.7×3.2cm.
- Red Star 加料冬狼毫大楷 Dong Lang Hao Pro Winter Wolf Brush Large 0.8×3.8cm
- Red Star 加料羊毫小楷 Pro Yang Hao Wool Brush Small 0.6×2.6cm
- Red Star 加料羊毫中楷 Pro Yang Hao Wool Brush Medium 0.7×3.3cm.
- Red Star 加料羊毫大楷 Pro Yang Hao Wool Brush Large 0.8×3.9cm.
- 0100Wl 小鶴颈 XiaoHeJing “Small Crane Neck” 羊毫 Yang Hao Wool brush (Medium) 0.7×3.2cm
- 0903WsWl 古法小白云 GuFa Xiao BaiYun “Traditional White Cloud Small” 兼毫 Jian Hao Combination Brush 0.7×3.3cm
- 0902WsWl 古法中白云 GuFa Zhong BaiYun “Traditional Small White Cloud Medium” 兼毫 Jian Hao Combination Brush 0.8×3.6cm
- 0901WsWl 古法大白云 GuFa Da BaiYun “Traditional White Cloud Large” 兼毫 Jian Hao Combination Brush 0.9x4cm.
- 0503M 貂毫长锋 Diao Hao Long Pointed Marten Brush 0.7×4.7cm
- 0403Ws 北尾狼毫联笔 Beiwei LangHao Wolf brush1×4.4cm
- 0305WsWl 北海云雾 Beihai Yunwu “North lake mist” Extra-large 兼毫 Jian Hao Combination Brush 1.15×4.9 cm
- 0200WsWl 精品兼毫 Extra-large Fine Jian Hao Combination Brush 1.4×6.2cm.
- 0801SW 豹狼毫 Bao Lang Hao Large Leopard Wolf Brush (Squirrel/Weasel) 1.5x6cm 50%/50% squirrel/weasel hairs eg for Tang/Song Dynasty style cursive scripts.
- 0700Ws 梅骨 Meigu Big 狼毫 Lang Hao Wolf brush 2×7.5cm.
Extended Red Star Range
This is an extended range with a lot of specialized brushes including:
- additional small brushes
- 紫毫 Zi Hao rabbit brush – 3rd, 7th and 8th from the left, white with black point, yellow and red with black tips
- 貂毫 Diao Hao Marten brush
- 獾毫 Huan Hao Badger brush
- Super-sized wool brushes – the four on the right, available as a set or individually
From left to right:
- 一级小白云 Xiao BaiYun White Cloud Yang Hao Wool Brush Small
- 经典楷笔 Classic Calligraphy Lang Hao Wolf Brush Small also available as set of 3 (Small, Medium and Large)
- 七紫三羊 Lux Zi Hao “7 Rabbit 3 Goat” Brush
- 经典楷笔 Classic Calligraphy Lang Hao Wolf Brush Medium also available as set of 3 (Small, Medium and Large)
- 一级中白云 Zhong BaiYun White Cloud Yang Hao Wool Brush Medium
- 经典楷笔 Classic Calligraphy Lang Hao Wolf Brush Large also available as set of 3 (Small, Medium and Large)
- 紫露 （黄） Lux Zi Hao Rabbit Hair Brush (Yellow)
- 紫露 （红） Lux Zi Hao Rabbit Brush (Red)
- 点梅 “Prune Dot” Lang Hao “Wolf” Brush
- 一级大白云 Da BaiYun White Cloud Yang Hao Wool Brush L
- 清风 （五）Fresh Breeze Yang Hao Wool Brush #5
- 空山流水庄老文章 “mountain spring village writing” Tao Extra Fine Yang Hao Wool Brush
- 和碧随珠钟王翰墨 “Jade Ink Emperor” Winter Wolf Brush
- 精品兼毫 （五）Fine Jian Hao Combination Brush #5
- 一品灰貂（三） Extra Fine Hui Diao Brush
- 鹿狼书画 （三） Lu Lang Deer & Wolf Calligraphy and Painting Brush #3
- 鹿狼书画 （二） Lu Lang Deer & Wolf Calligraphy and Painting Lang Hao Wolf Brush #2
- 闲趣 （小） Xian Qu Leisure Wolf Brush Small
- 极品石獾 Extra Fine Shi Huan “Stone Badger” Brush
- 鼠须长锋 “Mouse beard” Extra Fine Long Pointed Marten Brush
- 极品石獾长锋 Extra Fine Shi Huan “Stone Badger” Long Pointed Brush
- 闲趣 （大） Xian Qu Leisure Wolf Brush Large
- 4 Super-sized wool brushes, (four pictured out of set of 5, also available individually)
(Note the characters on the Red Star brushes are written in traditional Chinese characters, in our explanations we normally write modern Simplified chinese characters so they sometimes look different.)
马毛 Horse Hair (3)Compared to goat hair and weasel hair, horse hair is less commonly used to make brushes. It is a cheap material for making brush but it is a nice materials for making huge size brushes. In the category, Inkston has selected several brushes made with fine weasel hair and horse hair. The horse hair is from inner Mongolia where the…
马毛 Horse Hair (3)
Inkston Brushes (17)inkston brushes are Xuan brushes produced in Master Xu's busy traditional workshop in Anhui. Read more here.
Inkston Brushes (17)
Red Star brushes (49)红星 [Hong Xing] or in English “Red Star” is China’s premium brand from China Hong Xing Xuan Paper Group and uses only the finest grade materials and strict quality control process. This is reflected in the price and quality of their products.
Red Star brushes (49)
Brush Set (11)Sets of brushes from Inkston and Red Star, normally cheaper than buying the brushes individually.
Brush Set (11)
紫毫 Zi Hao Rabbit brush (3)Zi hao is the most highly valued brush hair, read more about it here.
紫毫 Zi Hao Rabbit brush (3)
獾毫 Huan Hao Badger brush (6)The surface of the hair is coarse so it absorbs a lot of ink, the brush is good for both smooth writing and expressing different effects. This brush type is often known by its chinese name石獾 Shi Huan "Stone Badger" or sometimes Water Badger, actually local names for the crab-eating mongoose (Herpestes urva) common in SE Asia..
獾毫 Huan Hao Badger brush (6)
兼毫 Jian Hao Combination Brush (16)Combines the stiffness of 狼毫 Lang Hao Wolf brush (Weasel hair) and the softness and absorbency of the 羊毫 Yang Hao Wool brush (Goat hair). The core (60-65%) is made from the stiffer weasel hair and the outer layer (35-40%) is of the softer goat hair. Very popular with both painters and calligraphers.
兼毫 Jian Hao Combination Brush (16)
狼毫 Lang Hao Wolf brush (Weasel hair) (22)"Wolf" brushes use hair from the Chinese "Yellow mouse wolf" 黄鼠狼 - a local name for the Siberian weasel. Premium Dong Lang Hao "Winter Wolf" brushes use the extra thick hairs produced in the winter in the cold and snowy North East China. The best weasel hair is fine and glistening, smooth and elastic and suitable for both large and small…
狼毫 Lang Hao Wolf brush (Weasel hair) (22)
羊毫 Yang Hao Wool brush (14)Wool brushes are made from soft absorbent Goat hair and can hold a lot of ink. Premium wool brushes are made from aged hair which has lost fat and become even more absorbent. A good soft wool brush with a fat head holds a lot of ink, it is easy to use, durable and convenient for painting and calligraphy. It performs…
羊毫 Yang Hao Wool brush (14)
貂毫 Diao Hao Marten brush (4)貂毫 Diao Hao Marten brush: the marten hair is sharp but very soft so when you use it with ink the effect is elegant, clean and sophisticated.
貂毫 Diao Hao Marten brush (4)