Thu, Feb 14, 2013 - Page 9 News List

Lunar New Year’s couplets written in golden ink may harm your health
春聯「金」討喜 聞多恐傷身

Calligraphers write Lunar New Year’s couplets in golden ink in this photo taken before the Lunar New Year.
書法家們年前以金字寫春聯。

Photo: Huang Chi-hao, Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者黃其豪

Hanging a set of Lunar New Year’s couplets during the Lunar New Year contributes to the festive atmosphere, and if the characters are written in golden ink, that adds some extravagance to the mix. The gold powder used in golden ink is often mixed with banana oil (amyl acetate), so working for a long time in a closed room often results in the same feeling of discomfort that appears after having inhaled paint fumes in a closed room for too long. According to popular wisdom, a good way to remedy this feeling of intoxication is to drink dairy beverages, although Lin Chieh-liang, director of the department of toxicology at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital says this is not based in fact. According to Lin, the best thing to do is instead to go outdoors and breathe some fresh air to clear your head.

春節掛幅春聯喜氣洋溢,若是書藝以金字呈現更是貴氣十足,但金字用的金粉常摻入香蕉水,在密閉空間寫金字,就像滿室油漆味聞久了,也會感覺身體不適;坊間流傳要多喝乳品「解毒」,長庚醫院臨床毒物科主任林杰樑醫師說,喝乳品解毒是以訛傳訛,最好到戶外呼吸新鮮空氣,毒素就能慢慢代謝掉。

Many public institutions and temples are currently organizing couplet writing events at which well known calligraphers write and give away New Year’s couplets. If these couplets, in addition to containing wise and auspicious sayings, are also written in golden ink, that will only increase the holiday festive atmosphere among visitors.

許多公家機關、廟宇,最近都在舉辦新春揮毫、名家贈春聯活動,民眾索取春聯除了要求好字、句,若有金字春聯那就更喜氣。

Calligrapher Chen Chin-hsing has been invited by the Beitou District Office in Taipei to write couplets at the district’s Guandu Temple. The organizers prepared dairy beverages and vitamin C-rich drinks for Chen so he wouldn’t get thirsty and to help minimize the residue of the dizzying banana oil fumes he would inhale.

書法家陳進興受北市北投區公所邀請在關渡宮寫春聯,承辦人員貼心準備保久乳、葡萄C飲料,供書寫者補充水份、降低吸入香蕉水的毒素殘留。

Calligraphers normally use regular ink, but using golden ink is a different matter. According to Chen, some calligraphers use regular varnish which they mix with gold powder and gold varnish, until they get the right proportions, but because varnish has color, some people replace it with banana oil which is neutral.

一般書法用墨汁,或加水研墨。寫金字就不一樣,陳進興說,有的書法家是以凡麗水加金粉、金油調出適當比例作為顏料,但因凡麗水本身有顏色,混合後會影響色澤,所以也有人用不影響色澤的香蕉水取代凡麗水,作為調製金粉顏料的有機溶劑。

Banana oil is made from a mixture of ester, ketone and ether solvents and aromatic agents. It is highly solvent and can be used to thin paints to reduce the use of thinner, and it also has an unusual fragrance for a solvent.

香蕉水由酯、酮、醚類溶劑及芳香族涇類溶劑等混合而成,溶解力強,可用於調薄漆料,並可節省調薄劑使用量,並具有溶劑特殊芳香味。

Chen suggested that when using gold ink for a longer period of time, it is best to stay out in the open or at least to have a window open to keep the air flowing, since ink with banana oil mixed in will cause dizziness after a while. He said he didn’t really know if it would be harmful to one’s health or if drinking dairy beverages will have any effect on dizziness.

陳進興建議,長時間寫金字,最好選擇戶外,或打開門窗,保持空氣流通,因為摻有香蕉水的顏料,聞久了會感覺頭昏昏的,至於對健康是否有影響或喝乳品有沒有用,並不清楚。

Lin Chieh-liang says that banana oil is a volatile solvent that is not very toxic. According to him, it is often used in furniture and facade paint, and he says painters that work in closed rooms for a long time will develop dizziness and nausea and may feel like vomiting. When older workers notice that a painter begins to behave abnormally, maybe talking nonsense or suddenly bursting into song, they know it is the banana oil playing up and will tell the person to go outside and get some fresh air or drink some dairy beverages.

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