Instrument made from a reed, quill or metal-tipped equivalent, generally used with ink for writing or drawing. In East Asia brush pens are used. The earliest pens were made from reeds, dried, cut short and shaped to a blunt point. These were used by the Egyptians and subsequently by the Romans. Quill pens were known from at least the 6th century AD, but until the 12th century they were used for writing and manuscript illustration, not for drawing. The metal nib eventually replaced the quill due to the convenience of its tip remaining sharp.
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© Grove Art / OUP

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