Although I chose not to pursue the study further when I returned to Japan to teach, I always found a fascination in the paper, brushes, inks, and other accouterments of brush calligraphy, and bought some for myself, although they sit unused. According to my teacher, the tools which are essential to a brush painter are called "THE FOUR TREASURES". These are the Ink SUMI, Grinding Stone SUZURI, Brush FUDE and Paper KAMI.
The ink is not ink at all but consists of a formula of soot from burnt pine wood and lamp black combined with glue and camphor which is then molded into a stick. The ink stick is dipped in water and ground in a figure 8 or circular motion, always in the same direction, on the ink stone until it forms a creamy black ink. This takes about 25 minutes and is a time of contemplation. While preparing the ink, the artist focuses and prepares himself mentally to paint. The artist's mind should become tranquil, reflecting on the painting, the brush strokes to be used and the subject. (When I was a student we shortcut through this due to the short time frame of my lessons, and used bottled ink)
Other tools that are beautiful to look at include the paperweight to hold down the paper, and the water bottle to hold water to mix with the ink stone. This turtle is a water turtle - with a small hole to fill in it's shell, and a small spout in it's mouth. Little bits of water are poured onto the ink stone, and then the ink stick is dipped and ground. He is made of iron and very heavy, and lends a quiet air of contemplation to any session of calligraphy.