An Investigation of Pounce used in Calligraphy
prepared by Jeanne Rose
Pounce- a finely ground
fragrant powder prepared from gum Sandarac mixed with pumice or cuttlefish
bone. Originally used to
prevent ink from spreading on unsized paper or over an erasure, as well as
to prepare vellum to take writing ink.
Now is also used as an adhesive in gold tooling and in the coloring
of the edges of books.
writing on a surface? You might consider Pounce or Sandarac. Pounce gives
tooth to smooth papers. Use pounce for papers on which ink lies on the
surface. Pounce removes the slickness and degreases preventing the ink
from spreading. But be careful as too much will cause a total resist! Now,
Sandarac is used for paper that is too absorbent, on which the ink sinks
into spreading and bleeding. Sandarac is a pine like resin. You can buy
sandarac in lumps and grind it with a mortar and pestle. But it takes so
much grinding you might consider buying it! You can purchase it at a
drafting supply store, or both can be purchased through Paper and Ink, or
John Neal.” —Virginia
Gum Juniper. The resin of the North African tree Tetraclinis articulata, Common name - Gum Juniper. The name is from the Assyrian words for "as bright as the moon," referring to the mineral it resembles. It is a brittle resin in the form of opaque, yellowish tears, or broken cylindrical pieces. The yellow tears are especially aromatic when heated.
- a resin obtained from either of two coniferous trees, Tetraclinis articulata of NW Africa and (more fully Australian
Sandarac) Callitris endlicheri
of Australia, which is used in the preparation of varnishes and in
calligraphy for blotting ink. Also
gum sandarac. (The New Shorter
Sandarac is the resin
exudate from the tree Callitris
quadrivalvis Vent. A
conifer native to northern
: For use in calligraphy, Sandarac is used to prepare the paper
for the ink. In 1998, Sandarac resin, pea size, 15 lbs cost $551.84
or $36.00 per lb. In 2002, the Scents of Earth on-line catalog,
Uses : Used in tooth cements, lacquers, varnishes and as incense. It is used as an aid in ointments and plasters in the pharmaceutical industry. (C. q.)
The resin from Tetraclinis articulata is used as a fixative woody pine or oriental perfume. Also used in the manufacture of spirit varnishes, and if dissolved in oil, to make cooked varnishes. Powered it is used to clean vellum and to prepare it for writing purposes. Its most outstanding property is its hardness.
Gulm Sandarac from Tetraclinis
articulata is used to make liquor.
Constituents : Approximately 80% pimaric acid, ~10% callitrolic acid and sandaricinic acid (C.q.)
Odor Description : Gum resin from Tetraclinis articulata has a warm, light, fruity, balsamic, frankincense-like fragrance.
Safety : Sandarac is probably not toxic, because resins in tear form are not, however precautions should be taken, and it should be kept from children's reach. Make sure you remove excess from the hands and wash hands before preparing or eating food. Since it is soluble in alcohol, ether, acetone and other solvents, which are more toxic than the Sandarac, precautions should be taken when cleaning up.
The US Department of Labor MSDS states that Sandarac resin, pea-size "may be irritating to skin and eyes. Repeated contact may cause allergic dermatitis."
Works. e-mail (not printable)
Corporation, Inc., (was Pennick)
& Roberts. Dictionary
of Descriptive Terminology. e-mail
Questions e-mail. Is gum Sandarac
of Earth website
Department of Labor, Material Safety Data Sheet, 1995.
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