Polarized Light Microscopy Digital Image Gallery

Kolinsky Hair

The term kolinsky does not actually refer to a specific species, but rather to several different species of weasels belonging to the genus Mustela that inhabit Siberia and the northern parts of China and Japan. Typically a yellowish brown in color, the tail hairs of these weasels are commonly utilized to make brushes for painting. The hairs are considered ideal for this application because their diameter is larger near the middle and tapers off to a fine point at the end, creating a characteristic “belly” when they are bundled together. This belly is credited with providing artists using kolinsky brushes with superior control of color. Moreover, kolinsky brushes have a reputation of resilience and the excellence in retaining their original shape. Kolinskies, similar to many other weasels, have greatly decreased in number because of the demand for their fur.


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