The experimentation of Persian master calligraphers to create the perfect ink reached its apogee with Peacock ink. Considered the most prized ink of Persia, this fine black ink with a blue-green undertone is a variation on the Persian ink. It enhances its qualities with the addition of a diversity of captivating secondary ingredients, providing colour nuances and greater gloss, fluidity, durability, aroma and water resistance. These colourful secondary ingredients are the reason the ink is called Peacock. This ink is praised for withstanding water, abrasions, and other external dangers, such as biological degradation.
2g lamp black
2g green vitriol
8g gum Arabic
50 ml water
Preservatives with dyeing qualities
0.1ml rose water
0.1g rock sugar
Gold leaf - optional
Break the gallnuts into small pieces and put in a bowl with 30 ml of boiling water.
Bray separately the myrtle, the henna, the woad, the indigo, the epithymum, the aloe, the sugar and the saffron and add to the bowl with gallnuts and water.
Leave the bowl under sunlight for a few days in order to soften the gall nuts and other ingredients and allow their essence to be extracted by the water.
Afterwards set to boil the content of the bowl for 10-15 minutes and filter.
Meanwhile prepare the lamp black and gum arabic mixture as described in the carbon ink recipe but using only 20 ml of water.
Add the ingredients previously boiled and filtered to the mortar containing the lamp black and gum arabic mixture and set to bray until all ingredients look incorporated.
Add the vitriol and set to bray again for one full hour. Pour in a bottle and add rose water and musk, and shake at intervals (side to side) for several hours. Normally, 5 hours of mixing, braying and shaking are enough to make a good ink.
Recipe by Khvājah Jamāl al-Dīn Yāqūt (d. 1298) found in the treatise Midād al-Khoṭūṭ by Mīr ‘Alī Hiravī (16th century CE):
'Oh you who have mastered the art of script, I shall educate you on a type of ink
White vitriol, green gall nuts and unadulterated dry soot from seeds
Hejaz Gum and rose water, pure musk and Egyptian sugar candy
Extract the essence of woad and myrtle; add a little bit of saffron
Insert leaves of gold and silver; beat it well for forty days
Weight of each shall be revealed through experience; without the doubt of going above or below
On testing it shall have a yellow shade; you will not find the likes of it on this plane of existence.'