JAPANESE TATTOO MEANING #9
Literal tlanslation of Sumi is a carbon. Eventually all word of Japanese has severel reading and meaning. The word Sumi is used here to refer to the solid black ink stick used for tattooing/calligraphy.
Since the beginning of traditional Japanese tattooing in the Edo period, Japanese tattooists used Sumi for shading.
Only specific Sumi can be used for tattoos, but which Sumi are suitable for tattoos is basically a secret of tattoo artists and their Ichimon(tattoo family), and the brand of Sumi used for tattoos depends on each individual’s preference.
Sumi is basically made by taking the soot produced when specific oil is burned. Mixing it with nikawa (like gelatin in Japan), and drying it.
It sounds simple and easy to making but there is a lot of knowluage and technique.
Japanese craftsman as seen in Japanese swords, it is known for their dedication to the utmost precision. Sophistication that they spends whole their life to make perfection as possible as craftsman. This is also the case with Sumi.
Cheap and low-quality Sumi are made by mixing petroleum-based materials and additive which is harmful to the body. Therefore, they cannot be used for tattoos all things considered.
Even some high quality Sumi has the same result unless they are made with raw materials. And manufacturing methods suitable for tattooing.
If an unsuitable type of smear is used for tattooing, there is a risk of allergy or infection. Also, the ink left on the skin will become dull and discoloured.
Among them, the highest grade Sumik has no impurities. It as a completely neutral pH value, and is harmless to the human body. There are many types of Sumi and the quality changes greatly.
It has been 300/400 years so far, no one had allergic or infected by ink block.
The black ink made with it is very finely grained and it will become beautiful blue-black on the skin. Producing black ink from ink block requires highest quality ink block and ink stone(Suzuri), technic and patience.
As time goes by, tattoo ink companies developed high-quality black inks which is no-harmful for the body. Some Japanese tattooists started to use it afterwards. There are changes along the times.
There is many choice of tattoo black ink for tattoo. However, Japanese Sumi is still one of the best quality ink.