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My Favorite Things: Moon Palace Sumi Ink

Because I am always curious about tools and materials that are preferred by other calligraphers, I thought I'd do a series about some of my own favorites.

The first thing that popped into my mind was Moon Palace Sumi Ink.  Inky, dense, jet black--it's my all time favorite ink for broad pen.  I also like to use it with pointed pen when I need a rich, deeply black ink.  The hair lines are fine--not as fine as some other inks--but still nice.  It's especially nice for pieces that will be reproduced or copied.

Moon Palace is relatively easy to remove when making corrections.  It tends to lay on top of most papers, so you can carefully, gently scrape it off the surface, sometimes without any further treatment. 

It is said to be waterproof when dry, but I've found that it's reallly more water resistant.  (I'll be sharing my favorite waterproof ink in another post.)  Clean up is easy.  I read somewhere that a 50/50 solution of Simple Green and water is best, but I just use my regular home made ammonia based cleaning solution and it works just fine. 

I store the ink in a small bottle with a dropper to make it easier to decant into a dappen dish--just squeeze out a couple of droppers-full into a dappen dish and you're ready.  When you're done working, if there's any left in the dappen dish, it's a simple thing to suck it back up into the dropper to transfer it back to the bottle--no waste!

Moon Palace has a distinctive, but not unpleasant odor.

Reader Comments (2)

Moon palace is quite good. I did some research though, and learned that in Japan it's actually intended for use by school children to practice their calligraphy! Although Moon Palace is beautiful and works well, I wonder about using it for professional work where longevity is an issue. There are a large variety of much higher quality bottled sumi inks available. I'd suggest looking on Rakuten with keyword searches such as sumi, india ink and the like. I have found sumi made from pure tung oil, or pure rapeseed oil, for example http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/ayumuzo/item/2011/ to be just about the best ink available for calligraphy apart from grinding your own from a high quality inkstick.

February 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBenjamin

Hello, Benjamin,

Thank you for sharing your insight into the ins and outs of sumi ink! I shall look into your suggestions.

February 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim Shenberger

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