Fitch hair

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Fitch hair brush
Blick Art Supplies
Pine Marten


The tail hair from any of several small weasel-like animals of the family Mustelidae. White hairs are obtained from the tails of the Asiatic fitch (Mustela eversmanni) native to Asia and Continental Europe. Also known as a ferret, tan or black hairs are produced by the European fitch (Mustela putorius). Marten, or sable hairs are obtained from the Russian fitch (Martes zibellina). Fitch hairs are usually mixed with bristle or camel hair for flat-sided writing brushes. These hairs have also been used by fishermen for fly tying.

Synonyms and Related Terms

European polecat; foul marten; ferret; iltis (Deut.); Asiatic fitch (white fitch -Mustela eversmanni); European fitch (black fitch, polecat, Polish fitch-Mustela putorius); Russian fitch (Martes zibellina: black sable, Russian sable, marten)

Physical and Chemical Properties

Length = 3-4 cm (1.5-1.7 inches)

Resources and Citations

  • Zora Sweet Pinney, 'A Handle on the Terms used for Artists' Brushes', unpublished glossary, 1999
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 124
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Edward Reich, Carlton J. Siegler, Consumer Goods: How to Know and Use Them, American Book Company, New York City, 1937
  • F. Kidd, Brushmaking Materials, Bristish Brush Manufacturers, London, 1957