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What is pyrography?

The word "pyrography" was given to art that had an element of fire in its inception. It is a contraction of two Greek words: "pyro," meaning heat or fire, and "graphics," meaning expression with lines. Some will say that pyrography and woodburning is one and the same. However, woodburning is done specifically on wood, whereas pyrographic art is done on any receptive surface (including wood).

 The most primitive of people with the most primitive tools created this art, with fire and wood, in their cave dwellings. Pyrography is an ancient/primeval art form that precedes the great arts and artists of China, Rome, Greece, Egypt and others.

The history of Pyrography is so old that we have only educated guesses and speculation. It employs common reasoning as well as studied evidence of the art. There is no written history to inform us about the burning art of the Neanderthal or other nomadic tribes, but we have cave evidence of the art they created during those ancient times. The writing with char on the wall meets the criteria of "pyrography," since fire was necessary to create the char, and the drawing on the wall was "an expression with lines."

Gourds found in the Peruvian highlands have even been decorated using Pyrography. These were dated at 3,000 years old. Today, in some countries, there are cultures that still use the primitive tools to create beautiful pyrographic art on various surfaces.

 With specialized tools and advanced skill, the pyrographer can produce work on any receptive surface that offers the potential for light and shade.