sumi-tsubo (Line Marker Tool)

About this object

History of use

A line-making tool used by carpenters. Bowl is filled with cotton saturated with ink. Long cord wound on ink-soaked wheel is passed through two holes. To the end of the cord is tied an awl-like instrument. In use, awl is inserted into wood, cord is unreeled, and then it is snapped, leaving a black line on the wood. It can then be reeled up by means of the handle.

Physical description

Carved dark brown wood shaped like elongated pear in transverse cross section. Wider end hollowed to form a bowl-like depression. Inserted vertically through narrow end is a wheel with a cleft deep cut around its perimeter, .9 cm. from each side. Wheel mounted on brass axle with brass handle projecting 4.3 cm. from one side. Traces of thread in cleft. Hole lined with white glass tube bored through from wheel to inside bowl with similar hole opposite from inside to outside of bowl. Around outside of bowl are carved dragon and cloud shapes.