Brushes differ greatly in terms of size, texture, material, and cost. The brush hair chosen depends on one's needs at the moment; certain kinds of brushes are more suited to certain script styles and individuals than others.
Synthetic hair is not traditionally used. Prices vary greatly depending on the quality of the brush; cheap brushes cost less than one US dollar while expensive brushes can cost more than a thousand dollars. Currently, the finest brushes are made in the town of Shanlian, in the Nanxun District, prefecture-level city of Huzhou, of Zhejiang province.
The earliest intact ink brush was found in 1954 in the tomb of a Chu citizen from the Warring States period (475-221 BCE) located in an archaeological dig site Zuo Gong Shan 15 near Changsha (長沙). The primitive version of an ink brush found had a wooden stalk and a bamboo tube securing the bundle of hair to the stalk. Legend wrongly credits the invention of the ink brush to the later Qin general Meng Tian.
The Fudepen, also known as a "Brush Pen", is a modern Japanese invention analogous to a Fountain pen. Today, Japanese companies such as Pentel and Sakura Color Products Corporation manufacture pens with tips resembling those of a small ink brush. These brush pens work almost identically to small ink brushes and can be used for most of the same purposes.