About Sumi Ink
More than 3,000 years ago, Asian artisans discovered how to turn the residue from burnt wood into one of the most important and lasting vehicles of human expression: Ink!
For more than a thousand years, the method of making sumi stick has remained the same. Soot from pine or certain vegetable oils mixed with perfume and animal or fish glue is molded and dried to form a well-shaped solid block which, when ground on a suzuri stone with water, turns to ink.
Sumi ink is unsurpassed for producing the famous Five Colors, or shaded of black, that form the basis of "monochromatic" sumi painting. The subtlety of sumi ink is evident in the variety of tones and values it produces.