India ink


India ink

India ink (or Indian ink in British English) is a simple black ink once widely used for writing and printing and now more commonly used for drawing, especially when inking comic books and comic strips.

Contents

Composition

Basic India ink is composed of a variety of fine soot known as lampblack, combined with water to form a liquid. A binding agent such as gelatin or, more commonly, shellac may also be added, to make the ink more durable once dried. India ink is occasionally sold not as a liquid, but in solid form (most commonly, a stick), which must be moistened before use.

History

The process of making India ink was known in China as far back as the middle of the 3rd millennium BC, during Neolithic China.[1] India ink was first invented in China,[2][3] although the source of materials to make the carbon pigment in India ink was later often traded from India, thus the term India ink got coined.[2][3] The traditional Chinese method of making the ink was to grind a mixture of hide glue, carbon black, lampblack, and bone black pigment with a pestle and mortar before pouring it into a ceramic dish where it could dry.[2] In order to use the dry mixture, a wet brush would be applied until it reliquified.[2] The manufacture of India ink was well-established by the Cao Wei Dynasty (220–265 AD).[4] Historically the ink used in China were in the form of ink sticks made of lampblack and animal glue.

The Chinese had used India ink derived from pine soot prior to the 11th century AD, when the polymath official Shen Kuo (1031–1095) of the mid Song Dynasty became troubled by deforestation (due to the demands of charcoal for the iron industry) and desired making ink from a source other than pine soot. He believed that petroleum (which the Chinese called 'rock oil') was produced inexhaustibly within the earth and so decided to make an ink from the soot of burning petroleum, which the later pharmacologist Li Shizhen (1518–1593) wrote was as lustrous as lacquer and was superior to pine soot ink.[5][6][7][8]

India ink has been in use in India since at least the 4th century BC, where it was called masi, an admixture of several substances.[9] Indian documents written in Kharosthi with this ink have been unearthed in as far as Xinjiang, China.[10] The practice of writing with ink and a sharp-pointed needle was common practice since antiquity in South India.[11] Several ancient Buddhist and Jain scripts in India were also compiled in ink.[12] In India, the carbon black from which India ink is formulated was obtained indigenously by burning bones, tar, pitch and other substances.[13]

Uses other than writing

  • Hanetsuki (羽根突き, 羽子突き) is a Japanese traditional game, similar to badminton, played by girls at the New Year with a rectangular wooden paddle called a hagoita and a brightly-colored shuttlecock. The shuttlecock must be kept in the air as long as possible. Girls who fail to hit the shuttlecock get marked on the face with India ink.[14]
  • Amateur tattoo artists will sometimes use India ink for tattooing the skin. Non-medical grade India ink should not be used for homemade tattoos because it contains chemicals which could cause poisoning.
  • In pathology laboratories, India ink is applied to surgically removed tissue specimens to maintain orientation and indicate tumor resection margins. The painted tissue is sprayed with acetic acid, which acts as a mordant, "fixing" the ink so it doesn't track. This ink is used because it survives tissue processing, during which tissue samples are bathed in alcohol and xylene and then embedded in paraffin wax. When viewed under the microscope, the ink at the tissue edge informs the pathologist of the surgical resection margin or other point of interest.
  • Microbiologists use India ink to stain a slide containing micro-organisms. The background is stained while the organisms remain clear. This type of staining is called a negative stain. India ink, along with other stains, can be used to determine if a cell has a gelatinous capsule.[15] A common application of this procedure in the clinical microbiology laboratory is to confirm the morphology of the encapsulated yeast Cryptococcus spp.
  • Model Railroaders use a mixture of India ink and Isopropyl Alcohol as a wood stain, graying wood to appear aged, and to bring out detail.
  • India ink is used diluted as an ultra fine polishing medium for making precise optical surfaces on metals.[1][16]
  • In ophthalmology, it was and still is used to some extent in corneal tattooing.
  • Once dry, its conductive properties make it useful for electrical connections to difficult substrates, such as glass. Although relatively low in conductivity, surfaces can be made suitable for electroplating, low frequency shielding, or for creating large conductive geometries for high voltage apparatuses. A piece of paper impregnated with India ink serves as a grid leak resistor in some tube radio circuits.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Woods & Woods, 51–52.
  2. ^ a b c d Gottsegen, page 30.
  3. ^ a b Smith, page 23.
  4. ^ Sung, Sun & Sun, page 286-288.
  5. ^ Sivin, III, page 24.
  6. ^ Menzies, page 24.
  7. ^ Needham, Volume 5, Part 7, pages 75–76.
  8. ^ Deng, page 36.
  9. ^ Banerji, page 673
  10. ^ Sircar, page 206
  11. ^ Sircar, page 62
  12. ^ Sircar, page 67
  13. ^ "India ink." in Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008 Encyclopædia Britannica Inc.
  14. ^ http://www.englishjapaneseonlinedictionary.com/Japanese%20textbook/pages/Japanese_textbook_76.htm
  15. ^ Woeste and Demchick, Volume 57, Part 6, pages 1858-1859
  16. ^ NASA Technical Brief

References

  • Banerji, Sures Chandra (1989). A Companion to Sanskrit Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-0063-X.
  • Deng, Yinke (2005). Ancient Chinese Inventions. Translated by Wang Pingxing. Beijing: China Intercontinental Press. ISBN 7-5085-0837-8.
  • Gottsegen, Mark D. (2006). The Painter's Handbook: A Complete Reference. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. ISBN 0-8230-3496-8.
  • Menzies, Nicholas K. (1994). Forest and Land Management in Imperial China. New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc. ISBN 0-312-10254-2.
  • Needham, Joseph (1986). Science and Civilization in China: Volume 5, Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Part 7, Military Technology; the Gunpowder Epic. Taipei: Caves Books, Ltd.
  • Sircar, D.C. (1996). Indian epigraphy. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 81-208-1166-6.
  • Sivin, Nathan (1995). Science in Ancient China: Researches and Reflections. Brookfield, Vermont: Variorum, Ashgate Publishing.
  • Smith, Joseph A. (1992). The Pen and Ink Book: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. ISBN 0-8230-3986-2.
  • Sung, Ying-hsing; Sun, E-tu Zen; Sun, Shiou-chuan (1997). Chinese Technology in the Seventeenth Century: T'ien-kung K'ai-wu. Mineola: Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-29593-1.
  • Woods, Michael; Woods, Mary (2000). Ancient Communication: Form Grunts to Graffiti. Minneapolis: Runestone Press; an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group.....
  • Woeste S.; Demchick, P. (1991). Appl Environ Microbiol. 57(6): 1858-1859 ASM.org

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • India ink — India In di*a, n. [See {Indian}.] A country in Southern Asia; the two peninsulas of Hither and Farther India; in a restricted sense, Hither India, or Hindostan. [1913 Webster] {India ink}, a nearly black pigment brought chiefly from China, used… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • India ink — n. 1. a black pigment, as of specially prepared lampblack, or carbon black, mixed with a gelatinous substance and dried into cakes or sticks 2. a liquid ink made from this, used in writing, drawing, etc …   English World dictionary

  • India ink — (sometimes l.c.) 1. a black pigment consisting of lampblack mixed with glue or size. 2. a liquid ink from this. Also called Chinese ink. [1655 65] * * * also called  Chinese Ink,         black pigment in the form of sticks that are moistened… …   Universalium

  • India ink — n. US = Indian ink. Etymology: India in Asia: see INDIAN * * * ˌIndian ˈink 7 (also ˌIndia ˈink) noun uncountable a …   Useful english dictionary

  • india ink — noun Usage: often capitalized 1st I Date: 1665 1. a solid black pigment (as specially prepared lampblack) used in drawing and lettering 2. a fluid ink consisting usually of a fine suspension of india ink in a liquid …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • India ink — tušas statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Rašalas piešimui ir braižymui. atitikmenys: angl. India ink rus. тушь …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • India ink —    or Indian ink    The name in the United States for black ink, the pigment made from carbon traditionally lampblack (derived from non electric lamps). This ink is also used in solid forms, mixed with a binding agent and molded into cakes or… …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • india ink — In·di·a ink || ɪndjÉ™ n. Indian Ink, black ink used for painting and calligraphy …   English contemporary dictionary

  • India ink — (Roget s IV) n. Syn. drawing ink, black pigment, lampblack, tusche; see ink …   English dictionary for students

  • India ink — In|di|a ink [ ındiə ,ıŋk ] noun uncount AMERICAN a type of thick black ink used especially for drawing or for writing with a brush …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English


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