India ink

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A black writing and painting media used for several hundred years. Originally, India ink referred to a brown-black liquid prepared from ink bag secretions of cuttlefish. The dried colorant, also called sepia, was mixed with gum arabic then made into watercolor cakes. Later, as trade developed between Europe and Asia, the terms India ink and China ink (Chinese ink) became synonymous for a black, opaque, indelible ink prepared by mixing fine lampblack with glue or gum. A soft pliable paste was formed into sticks or cakes for transport and sale. Currently, the term India ink is used for a waterproof, black drawing ink. It has a shellac binder, borax emulsifier, and is soluble in alcohol.


Synonyms and Related Terms

China ink; tinta china (Esp.); encre de Chin (Fr.); tinta da China (Port.); Indian ink; sepia; Chinese ink; carbon ink

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Sources Checked for Data in Record

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