CBP Materials

Here are a few tips on basic CBP materials.  Most are available by mail-order.  You can find out more about the materials here: CBPS Getting Started.


The usual practice paper is called “grass paper.”  There are many different sources & brands.   You can also use newspaper, newsprint, or phone directories.

The usual paper for free brush is xuan (“shwarn”), which is thin and absorbent.  I mostly use machine-made rolls .  There are lots of others available, including more expensive hand-made paper (example).  The exact characteristics of the paper will vary, so you just have to experiment.


The single most useful brush is a large Orchid & Bamboo (or equivalent) made from “wolf” hair (example).  You also need a finer brush (e.g. plum blossom) and a larger, softer brush – I prefer mixed hair to pure sheep.

You can find some reasonable materials on the internet, but treat with caution (do not buy “gift sets”).   This set of wolf brushes seems to be OK.

Ink & Instone

Bottled liquid ink is practical, particularly for beginners.  Get reasonable quality (e.g. from  Oriental Arts).

If you eventually want to try inkstones and inksticks, be sure to buy good quality.


The traditional form for colour is chips, which need to be dissolved into a cake.   Traditional yellow is rattan (made from tree sap, and is toxic).  (Powder colour needs to be mixed with glue before use, so is not very practical).

Tube colour is more practical: the main brand is Marie, and individual tubes are available from e.g.  Oriental Arts.   I don’t bother with the box sets , as  I generally use more indigo and yellow than the reds, and there is always at least one colour that I never use up.

Teppachi are Japanese pans of colour, good quality and convenient, but not the cheapest.

The basic colours that you need are: 

Chinese Pinyin Name Marie tube Number
藤黄 Téng huáng Rattan Yellow / Gamboge 218
大紅 Dàhóng Scarlet / Bright Red 302
曙紅 Shǔ hóng Carmine (deep red) 390
胭脂 yānzhī Rouge 400
花青 Huā qīng Indigo (flower blue) 495
赭色 Zhě sè Umber  (burnt sienna) 684

The tubes can leak or dry out.  Just extract the  colour to a small dish and use as a dried cake.


There are lots of books of examples and how-to instructions.  The series from the Art Book Co (Taiwan) are reliable, and have English text.

Other materials

White plates & saucers from charity shops.

Wool blanket, preferably cream or light colour.

Water pot.


Brush hanger.