Rubbing

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This article is about the method of recording and reproducing textures. For other uses, see Rub (disambiguation).
A rubbing of portions of a book cover

A rubbing is a reproduction of the texture of a surface created by placing a piece of paper or similar material over the subject and then rubbing the paper with something to deposit marks, most commonly charcoal or pencil, but also various forms of blotted and rolled ink, chalk, wax, and many other substances as well.

Common uses for this technique include:

  • Brass rubbing, to make copies of monumental brasses
  • Forensic uses, including finding out what was written on a sheet of paper removed from a pad by rubbing the impressions left on subsequent sheets or other backing materials
  • Frottage, a surrealist art form
  • Stone rubbing, to make copies of patterns and inscriptions of gravestones or other incised or textured stone surfaces

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