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device composed of natural or synthetic fibres set into a handle that is used for cleaning, grooming, polishing, writing, or painting. Brushes were used by man as early as the Paleolithic Period (began about 2,500,000 years ago) to apply pigment, as shown by the cave paintings of Altamira in Spain and the Perigord in France. In historical times the early Egyptians used brushes to create their elaborate tomb paintings, while the ancient Chinese employed the tip of a long-haired brush to make the many intricate characters of their writing, a practice continued in the Orient today.