Why is India ink called India ink?

India ink has been used in India since at least the 4th century BC. Indian documents written in Kharosthi with this ink have been unearthed in as far as Xinjiang, China. The practice of writing with ink and a sharp-pointed needle was common practice since antiquity in South India. Several ancient Buddhist and Jain scripts in India were also compiled in ink. In India, the carbon black from which India ink is formulated was obtained indigenously by burning bones, tar, pitch and other substances.[5]

Mark Gottsegen argues however that India ink was first invented in China, although he attributes the source of the carbon pigment used in the ink to India.[6] He states that the traditional Chinese method of making the ink was to grind a mixture of hide glue, carbon black, lampblack, and bone black pigment with a pestle and mortar before pouring it into a ceramic dish where it could dry.[6] In order to use the dry mixture, a wet brush would be applied until it reliquified.[6] Joseph A. Smith also argues that India ink was first invented in China, but used lampblack, carbon black, and bone black that originated in India.[7] Michael and Mary Woods assert that the process of making India ink was known in China as far back as the middle of the 3rd millennium BC, during Neolithic China.[8] However E-tu Zen Sun and Shiou-chuan Sun states that India ink was first used in China by Wei Dan (also known as Wei Zhongjiang) of the Cao Wei state (220-265 AD).[9] Historically the ink used in China were in the form of ink sticks made of lampblack and animal glue.

The Chinese had used India ink derived from pine soot prior to the 11th century AD, when the polymath official Shen Kuo (1031-1095) of the mid Song Dynasty became troubled bydeforestation (due to the demands of charcoal for the iron industry) and desired making ink from a source other than pine soot. He believed that petroleum (which the Chinese called 'rock oil') was produced inexhaustibly within the earth and so decided to make an ink from the soot of burning petroleum, which the later pharmacologist Li Shizhen (1518-1593) wrote was as lustrous as lacquer and was superior to pine soot ink {From Wikipedia}