Namiki Emperor Maki-e Fountain Pen - The Owl, Medium
This Namiki maki-e fountain pen was created by maki-e artisan Yutaka in Japan in early 2015. It features the Togidashi-Taka Maki-e technique (burnished-raised maki-e), as well as Rankaku (quail shells). The pen has an oversized No. 50 (jumbo) 18kt gold nib in medium tip, fills via eyedropper, and comes packaged in a wooden box with a bottle of ink. Each pen takes months to create.
In the Japanese culture, the owl, or “Fukuro”, means luck and protection from hardship or suffering. Using ebonite as its base, the Rankaku Maki-e is used to design both the owls on the pen, and the Raden technique is used to embed the eyes of the owls making them sparkle. A layer of clear urushi lacquer is then used to protect the surface of the pen giving it a glossy polish. The Rankaku artwork is simply outstanding with the incredible attention to detail.
Two owls can be seen on the pen. The owl on the cap is perched on a Quercusserate tree, showcasing the nocturnal bird’s exceptional ability in seeking out its prey in the still of the night. The owl in the barrel is depicted silently flapping its wings and swooping in for the kill.
The Rankaku technique is a unique method whereby the motifs are designed using the powder or small pieces of quail shells. They are fixed into the lacquer and later coated with another layer of lacquer. The layer of lacquer is then burnished to reveal the design of the pen. The Raden technique, on the other hand, is a technique whereby the stratum of various abalone shells are peeled into thin layers. Then they are cut into small pieces before being coated with urushi lacquer to hold them in place. The urushi is then burnished to create a finish.