Taiwan’s last handmade inkstick master

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Despite being hidden away in the alleys of Sanchong, Taiwan’s last remaining handmade inkstick factory is easily detectable from the faint smell of ink and relentless pounding. Early each morning, the master cooks up the raw materials and places piece after piece of steamed black ink into a roller machine. After the addition of pine soot and musk, the ink is repeatedly pressed and kneaded at a temperature of 40 degrees to complete the preliminary preparation.

During the long process, which requires a combination of speed, strength, and accuracy, beating out the ink balls is undoubtedly the most backbreaking part. The ink is placed into bags to maintain a steady temperature, and once placed into the mold, the master will knead the ink again to ensure it contains no excess air pockets. Despite their dainty appearance, production of the inksticks requires a significant amount of skill and a laboriously complicated process before even beginning the subsequent drying process, which alone requires a considerable amount of time and effort. This last remaining handmade inkstick factory in Taiwan is striving to promote traditional skills and hopes that the master’s black hands can protect a 2500-year Chinese calligraphy tradition.

以下為中文對照

淡淡的墨香伴者咚咚咚的敲打聲,隱身在三重小巷子裡的就是台灣碩果僅存的手工製墨廠。一大早,師傅就在蒸煮墨的原料,將一塊塊蒸軟的黑墨團放入滾輪機,加入松煙以及麝香,在四十度高溫下反覆輾壓、搓揉,才完成初步的準備步驟。

師傅賣力地敲打著墨團,這是最辛苦的製作過程。為了維持墨的溫度,必須將墨團放入袋子中保溫,在搓揉墨條時要快狠準,才能維持墨條的高品質。墨條放入模具後,師傅會再輾壓一次,確保墨條裡面沒有多餘的空氣。看似小小的墨條不但做工繁雜,後續的陰乾也要花上許多時間和心力。全台唯一的手工製墨廠,努力的推動傳統技藝,期望以烏黑的雙手,守護中華兩千年以來的書法文化。

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Taiwan’s last handmade inkstick master

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