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Recreating Lost Colors (nytimes.com)
88 points by Rotdhizon 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments

Really interesting, and what a cool niche to work in (although I also think it would be ... frustrating).

This part didn't parse for me:

[...] racks of wooden-handled brushes with bristles made from rat’s tail fur and the hair of pearl divers.

The hair of what? Can "pearl diver" mean something else than a human diver, hunting for pearls? Do they really donate their hair to make brushes? Why them? What ... ?

From what I've discovered, it must be a Japanese Lacquer Brush. Traditionally these are made from the hair of pearl divers, "selected as the finest and densest fibre."[1] Another reference I found quotes that "They say that the salt strengthens the hair"[2]

[1] http://spitalfieldslife.com/2012/01/12/pedro-da-costa-felgue...

[2] https://www.nippon.com/en/views/b02309/

Thanks! I guess that makes sense, but I didn't think it through. I wonder what the original author thinks of that, do they expect their audience to be aware of this? Weird.

Ha, ha, author wants the reader to perk up and do some googling... ;-)

Maybe their hair gets a certain quality from being exposed to sea water for many hours.

Having built my own brush out of a (deceased) fox tail hair made me appreciate the skill and patience it takes to produce an usable, precise tool

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