Huzhou - the home of Chinese brush

The most reputable Chinese brush is from Shanlian, an ancient town 20 miles southeast of Huzhou, Zhejiang. Brush-making centralized here from the 13th century, when Xuanzhou, an earlier trade center of writing brush and rice paper, was ruined by lasting seesaw battle between Chinese and Mongol, and many of its artisans fled to Shanlian, which escaped the calamity by luck. What gained the fame of the brush was a skilled craftsman - Sun Yingke, whose exquisite workmanship was compared favorably with the calligraphy of Zhao Mengfu, a master calligrapher of Yuan. The craft of brush-making began to spread out of the town from the 18th century, when the first other brush workshop opened in neighboring Huzhou.

Today every family in Shanlian makes brushes. Women are usually do the make, and men take care of the sale. About 500,000 Chinese brushes of more than 260 varieties are produced here each year. Besides student supply, most of their brushes are exported to Southeast Asia and Japan.

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