Invented in China around 300 BCE, the bamboo brush was originally intended only for traditional styles of calligraphy and ink painting. When grouped with the Ink Stone, Ink Stick, and Xuan paper, these tools form what is called the “four treasures of study”, a name used to refer to the tools needed to create works in ink. The brush is the oldest member of the “Four Treasures” group, and the oldest brush-painted artifacts are painted bones dating back to the Zhou Dynasty. The bristles of bamboo brushes are usually made from animal hair, and brushes used in imperial examinations are said to have been made with a strand of baby hair in order to bring good luck. Modern bamboo brushes are mostly made from white goat hair, black rabbit hair, yellow weasel hair, or a combination of the three. Over the years, bamboo brushes have become increasingly popular for general watercolor use as well as traditional ink and calligraphy painting. Bamboo brushes are available in many brush tip sizes and set combinations. Whether you are looking for a single product or a complete set, we have what you need. Browse our roundup of the best bamboo brush options below.
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1. Winsor & Newton 150 Series Short Handle Bamboo Brush
Well-balanced from tip to tip, this handsome brush features extra-long brown bristles suitable for ink, calligraphy and watercolor painting styles. Due to their length, you can create fluid and dynamic strokes. Natural bristles provide excellent holding power and thin when wet. You can use the brush to create wet washes, softly blended colors, and even dry brush effects. The brush experiences minimal shedding thanks to the secure plastic ferrule, and the bamboo handle allows for a light grip. Each is sold separately, but there are almost a dozen sizes to choose from.
2. UE STORE Professional Chinese Art Brush Set
If you are looking for a multi-brush set, go with this option. Featuring a variety of eight brushes in a range of sizes, you can choose between the finest tip tool and a thick round tip brush. Each brush rod is decorated with Chinese characters and has a leather strap at the end that allows you to hang them to dry or display them. As a bonus, this set comes with a rolling bamboo case with fabric pockets that allow you to store and transport your tools safely.
3. Corciosy Chinese Calligraphy Brush Set
Educators looking for a fully stocked set at a reasonable price would do well to choose this product. Including everything but the ink, this option not only comes with a set of nine traditional round-tipped pointed brushes in a variety of sizes, but also includes an extra-large brush, brush rest, and roll-up bamboo case. Each brush is designed with a lightweight bamboo shaft and is made with natural bristles ranging from weasel to wolf to goat hair.
4. Easyou Hu Chinese Brush for Calligraphy and Sumi-e Drawing
This high-quality one-piece brush has a bamboo shaft decorated with Chinese characters and a handy loop at the end. The brush tip itself is made of pure goat hair that holds a tip well and spreads easily. Equipped with a brush holder, it’s easy to keep this genuine Hu brush in good condition.
5. Yasutomo Bamboo Calligraphy Brushes
If you’re looking to get familiar with dry brushing techniques, this stiff-bristled brush is a solid choice. The coarse bristles, which are made of assorted natural bristles, keep a sharp point and draw a clean line but remain flexible for expressive shading and coloring. The bamboo stem allows for a comfortable, stress-free grip. You can also use it for watercolor work, as the bristles hold paint and water well and hold their shape so you can produce long lines and maintain clean edges. A loop at the base allows you to hang the brush to dry when cleaned.
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