What is Saikbikoho Goat Hair?
Within the 15-or-so varieties of goat hair brushes, there is a spectrum of quality. At the top end, it’s saibikoho. That’s right, saibikoho. Although the premium fiber is commonly thought to be saikoho, saibikoho is softer.
Saikoho hair is from the chest area of a white, straight-haired male mountain goat from Jiangnan, China. Its softness and lightness of touch is comparable to squirrel, yet has resilience and durability of goat.
Saibikoho are the strands selected from a pile of saikoho hair, discerned by an expert to be the longest and softest, best-quality hair. Saibikoho brushes are on the par with squirrel hair for the softness, and some say that saibikoho is even softer than grey or red squirrel bristles.
So what does Saibikoho “細微光峰” stand for?
- 細 Sai = Thin, narrow
- 微 Bi = Small, fine, little
- 光 Ko = Light
- 鋒 Ho = The tip of the bristle/hair
The characters describe Saibikoho as hair that is long, luminous and incredibly fine, likened to lightness of the tip of the hair.
The history of brush making in China dates back more than 4,500 years ago, which is known from traces of brushes found in pottery and stains in artifacts. The art of making calligraphy brushes was treasured by emperors from Southern and Northern Chinese dynasties. The craft of calligraphy and brush-making came to Japan from China in the early Yamato Period (210-710), as Buddhism was introduced and people used letters to copies Buddhist sutras.