When the monk Kukai journeyed to China some 1,200 years ago, he made a study of brush making there and on his return, he passed on his knowledge to people living in the province of Yamatokoku that is now called Nara Prefecture. This marked the beginnings of brush making here.
In modern times brushes came into wider use with the establishment of school education from the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912), and the demand for quality brushes has never ceased.
Ten varieties of animal hair are used for these brushes including sheep's wool, the hair of the horse, deer, raccoon dog, weasel, sable, rabbit and squirrel.
The raw material for these brushes comes from the hairs of several different animals, including sheep, horses, deers, raccoons, weasels, martens, rabbits, squirrels . The brushes are made by skilfully combining the infinite variety of hair qualities such as elasticity, strength, length, etc.
How to make
Depending on the brush type, the hair to be used as a raw material is sorted, rubbed in ash and bundled together. It is then immersed in water, given a shape, shuffled, a core is made and the top hair is coiled. Once dried, the base is tied with hemp thread, thus completing the neck. After it is the placed into the shaft and fixed in place with adhesive, the brush is completed by engraving an inscription.