Suihi Shirakumo Gofun White Shell Nihonga Pigment, 500g


Please find here an ingredient at the core of Nihonga Japanese painting technique: Gofun. Made from crushed shells - oyster, clams, scallops, Gofun, is essentially calcium carbonate milled to a fine chalky powder.

Historically Gofun was made with white lead (as used similarly through the ages in Europe, hence Lead White) until the late middle ages but quite unsuited to Japanese climate as it would turn black under hot and humid conditions. Shells took over as the main ingredient. They are left to weather for over 10 years to bleach and remove impurities, before being crushed in a complex series of grinding and pulverisation processes, refined to a very fine and soft powder. 

The result is a beautiful warm shade of pure white with pearly sheen. 

The most basic application for Gofun is to make white paint and in fact is known for the production of Japanese dolls and their Geisha like complexions. But it is also often mixed with Nihonga paint to improve the body of the colour and to give it its' distinct matte opaque bright finish. 
Finally in a more technical application, Gofun can be used as a base layer on paper to enhance the brightness of the medium that will come above it. 

To use the Gofun, crush the pigment to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle. Generously and carefully mix with Nikawa glue until well combined to the desired consistency.

Vegetarian: yes
Vegan: No (gofun is a pigment which is derived from shells)