About Namiki Pen

About Namiki Pen

There are already many historical description of Namiki Pen Manufacturing Company available in maki-e reference books.  Here, let me provide a different angle of how Namiki Pen had evolved since the last few decades since the late 1980s till now.  It provides an important reference for Namiki Pen collectors in their research and gathering of information. Continue reading About Namiki Pen

Namiki Kabuto Limited Edition – The Honor And Glory of A Samurai

Namiki Kabuto Limited Edition Pen

Namiki Kabuto Limited Edition pen

The Kabuto 兜 depicted in 2015’s Namiki Kabuto Limited Edition is a symbol of authority and decoration in feudal Japan as far back as the Edo period in the 17th century. Only 170 limited edition pieces of Namiki Kabuto fountain pens are made by distinguish Kokokai artisan, Michifumi Kawakuchi 倫史.

The highlights of this Kabuto Fountain Pen are the Kabuto 兜 (helmet) and the Tachi (sword) which marked the glory and the honour of a Samurai armour.

In this instance, the Kabuto and the Tachi are honored on May 5th during the Japanese festival of Tengo no Sekku (the Boys’ Festival). The Kabuto and Tachi are often displayed at home during this special occasion to honor Japanese boys as they enter adulthood.  It is the glorious moment when a boy enters into adulthood.

The Kabuto has also come to signify protection and to ward off evil and illness, while the Tachi incorporates the wish for the boys to grow into valiant young man.  The Kabuto was an important part of a samurai, and has a symbolic Japanese expression, sayings or codes related to them. Continue reading Namiki Kabuto Limited Edition – The Honor And Glory of A Samurai

Russian Phoenix Lacquer Art Pens Workshop in Elephant & Coral

Phoenix Lacquer Art Pens Came To Singapore Pen Shop!

On 24 May 2015, Ms. Tatjiana from Pakleh and Ms. Inna Kaufman representing Phoenix Lacquer Art Pens, made a special appearance in Elephant & Coral Singapore to showcase this iconic Imperial Russian Lacquer  art on fountain pens.

Many themes were painted on the fountain pens including Tsar Nikolai, ballerina, lions, legendary figurines like dragons, phoenix and Egyptians Pharaohs are painted on magnum size pens with such great beauty.  Audiences are also shown the intricate procedure of fine art painting on the paints which took each artist a month to finish each piece of masterpiece.

Visit Elephant & Coral at 333A Orchard Road, #03-03 Mandarin Gallery Singapore to view a full collection of these Russian Lacquer Pens to see and be enchanted by the splendor of Russia’s imperialistic past.  You can email us for more information at sales@elephant-coral.com

The Heritage of Namiki Pens – Like Father Like Son

Namiki 4 Treasures Limited Edition Pink Sakura, Namiki Goose & Pink, Namiki Dancing Beauty and Namiki Sailing Boat
Namiki 4 Treasures Limited Edition Pink Sakura, Namiki Goose & Pink, Namiki Dancing Beauty and Namiki Sailing Boat

In the sequence preceding year 2001, a special collection of Namiki pens were made by Namiki. These are the Namiki  Pink Sakura, the Namiki Goose & Pink,  Namiki Dancing Beauty and Portuguese Tradeship (alias Sailing Boat).

The edition sizes were 62, 83, 75 and 73 pieces respectively with  the last matching numbered set being 62.  It was not easy to have all the 4 pieces to be in matching set as it took, literally, 3 years to have all the various pieces made and delivered to customers due to the immaculate detail in the making of these pens.  Many customers have forgotten about their order and from hind sight, it appears that the wait is all worth the while now as there are very few sets of four that are in matching numbers.

A quick reference to the book The Fountain Pens of The World revealed an interesting evidence that all these pens were actually a reproduction of prototypes made in the early years

  • Pink Sakura – reproduction of Vest Type, Raden Aogai-Pearl c. 1926
  • Goose & Pink – reproduction of a prototype c. 1968
  • Dancing Beauty – reproduction of Hagoromo c. 1926
  • Sailing Boat – reproduction of Portuguese Tradeship by Ritsuzan c. 1931

They are all absolutely fabulous masterpieces that are not available now except in the Pilot / Namiki museum archive.

P-1

Namiki Pink Sakura - Masterpiece of Kyusai Yoshida
Namiki Pink Sakura – Masterpiece of Kyusai Yoshida   吉田久齋

 

The reproduction of Namiki Pink Sakura was the most outstanding as it was made by then the Chief Kokokai 國光會Artist- Master Kyusai Yoshida (吉田久齋).  Appreciating the pen as one rotates the pen in the hand, it is as if you are looking at the glitter of a kaleidoscope. Pearls and aogai shells cut in the shapes of hearts to form the outline of sakura were seen as if it was in the floating world.

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Namiki Goose & Pink by Seki Chida 正樹
Namiki Goose & Pink by Seki Chida 正樹

On a roiro background, the Namiki Goose & Pink revealed the simple pleasure of seeing a cute gander looking smart and right facing the world.   The outstanding creation of the goose using silver on its breast revealing details of the layers of feathers and the high relief taka maki-e lacquer on its torso is a pleasure to feel and touch.

It was the lowest priced pens then and was the first to be sold out.  Nevertheless, you can find the original prototype Goose & Pink in Elephant & Coral Singapore, from which the limited edition 83 pieces Goose & Pink, were modelled and reproduced around 2001.

Reference:

a.    A Heritage of Maki-e Pens – The Briggs Collection (Book is available for sale at Elephant & Coral – click here )

b.   Fountain Pens of The World by Andreas Lambrou.

Prototype Pilot #4 Goose & Pink LF c. 1960s.  Extremely rare  & collectible. AAA grade condition
Prototype Pilot #4 Goose & Pink LF c. 1960s. Extremely rare & collectible. AAA grade condition

P-3

Namiki Dancing Beauty - Seki Chida 正樹
Namiki Dancing Beauty – Seki Chida 正樹

To many collectors, there are various reasons why certain pens appeal to them. Specifically, when comes to colour, green is not the colour many will cast their eyes on it.  Green is usually deeper in colour when comes to maki-e (so far, I have not seen lime green lacquer).  It is not the first preference for many users or collectors because it doesn’t stand out.

In the case of the Namiki Dancing Beauty, I have always advocate it as the ugly duckling that turns into a beautiful swan; if only one knows and sees beyond what this pen means in the future.  The resemblance of this pen to an antique 1926 design is no coincidence but shows the high level of appreciation of art during the golden age of fountain pens.

The slender figure of the dancer under the aogai inlaid cherry blossom tree has an intricate illustration of aogai pearl shells,taka maki-e high relief lacquer  and detail exhibit of the beauty of the clad kimono.  On close scrutiny, the green lacquer is not just pure green but sprinkles of aogai shells are visible within the lacquer.

Green lacquer is not only rare in many maki-e but also precious.  Essentially, because many did not like it on first sight; few are being collected or in the hands of users.  Isn’t this a perfect excuse to collect it?  Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder….

P-4

The only Jumbo 50 Emperor size pen made by Namiki among the collection.  Namiki Portuguese Tradeship (alias Namiki Sailing Boat) illustrated a huge majestic ship in the ports of the Bugafu government.

Namiki Sailing Boat (alias Portuguese Tradeship) 真人
Namiki Sailing Boat (alias Portuguese Tradeship) 真人

With the maru pun gold dust sprinkled lightly on the entire pen and togidashi maki-e to give it the archaic look, the artist attempted to create a hybrid of the East and West cultures to appeal to foreigners.

Today, more than a decade now, a full set of these 4 matching numbered pens are rare and precious due to many reasons.  It’s intrinsic value of beauty and art is undeniably the most interesting by Namiki in its attempt to bring back beauty of fine writing instruments during the Golden Ages of Fountain Pens during the 1920s and 30s.

All pens viewed on this blog are available and you are most welcomed to enquire on its availability from Elephant & Coral Singapore.  Contact: sales@elephant-coral.com or +65-6736-1322

Beyond Vermillion Red : Pilot Limited Edition Pen – 95th Anniversary Rising Dragon Noburi Ryu

Pilot Limited Edition Pen – 95th Anniversary Rising Dragon

Pilot Dragon Pen
Pilot Limited Edition Pen celebrating 95th Anniversary of Pilot Pen.

Negoro Ware was the most popular lacquer ware during the Muromachi period of Japan (1392 – 1573). The name Negoro was derived from the original place of manufacture at the Negoro temple in Kii Province, Japan during the 14th century.

Unknown to many collectors of maki-e pens, the Pilot 95th Anniversary Noburi Ryu is the like of Negoro ware which is greatly prized for their appearance of antiquity.   When the time the black layer becomes visible in patches through the vermillion layer, it exhibits this simple, yet powerful complexion that makes them precious and admired.

Negoro ware and Pilot 95th anniversary Noburi Ryu Rising Dragon Vermillion Red
See the gradual wearing of vermillion red in Negoro ware and imagine how the Pilot 95th Anniversary Rising Dragon over time

The first look on the this maki-e Pilot Dragon Pen would gave it a miss because many thought that the dragon looks whimsical and does not bear the ferocity of most Dragons in the Pilot Limited Edition Pen that were made in the past or recent times.

Pilot 95th anniversary - Emperor rising_dragon FACE - Lumix-H

Essentially, it is the trained eye that can recognize immediately the existence and appreciation of this vermillion red that would turn to antiquity over time.  As the red lacquer wears away gradually and irregularly with use, producing the effect of natural aging for which these pieces becomes highly appreciated and sought after. Continue reading Beyond Vermillion Red : Pilot Limited Edition Pen – 95th Anniversary Rising Dragon Noburi Ryu

Pilot Limited Edition Pen – The Rising Dragon 昇り龍- Pilot 95th Anniversary Pen Collection

Pilot 95th Anniversary Pen – The Rising Dragon 昇り龍

As we waited anxiously for Pilot 95th Anniversary pens, The Rising Dragon 昇り龍 , to be launched to commemorate its heritage and to feature the beautiful pens they had made.  Let us take a retrospective look on some of the Pilot Limited Edition Pen that was made in the past to mark Pilot’s milestone.

The vision and the courage of two pioneers, Mr. Ryosuki Namiki and Mr. Masao Wada in 1918 to make original Japanese pen models and designs inspired them to make pens that are characteristically Japanese.

Many of us are reminded of unique design of pens made by Pilot ranging from the Vanishing Points, Silvern range etched with uniquely Japanese icons like Mount Fuji, Miku (Chrysanthemum), Ryu (Dragon) and many other interesting designs.

The aspiration to be the best pen makers spurred the company to create world renown Maki-e series which are all so sough after by collectors worldwide.

Pilot 65th Anniversary

In 1983, the year when Pilot was established for 65 years, a commemorative 65th Pilot Anniversary Limited Edition pens (Pilot 65) were made in a new balanced shape (round top round bottom) and shaped to look like the 1930s model.

Pilot Limited Edition Pen -  65th Anniversary circa. 1983
Pilot 65th Anniversary Pen was made in 1983 to mark its milestone. 6,500 pieces were made

The entire pen has engine turned patterns with the number 65 engraved on a decorative cap band.  6500 pieces were made. Some smaller quantities were also made in maroon and blue black.

It was decided to have a commemorative edition to be made every other 5 years and on auspicious years. Continue reading Pilot Limited Edition Pen – The Rising Dragon 昇り龍- Pilot 95th Anniversary Pen Collection

Dunhill Namiki ~ The Enchanting Story of Singapore between London and Tokyo

Dunhill Namiki And Singapore

Dunhill Namiki was introduced to the world because of the need to bring Japanese made Namiki fountain pens to the international market when the sales agreement was signed between Alfred Dunhill and Namiki Pen Manufacture Japan in 1920s.  The agreement to sell Namiki Pens under the name Dunhill Namiki was the biggest breakthrough for Namiki in its brand history.

How did Singapore come into play in the pivotal role as the conduit for the East & West culture?  An interesting box containing an antique Dunhill Namiki pen reveals how important was Singapore being instrumental in bringing this wonderful love story together.

Dunhill Namiki History
Dunhill Namiki Pens was already selling in Singapore since the 1920s. Amazing !

History is a mirror to the past and has  always repeat itself in different forms.  The modern history of Namiki pens cannot be complete without mentioning this island state Singapore.  It was in Singapore in 1998 that the first shop in shop of Namiki was set up in Elephant & Coral (www.elephant-coral.com) Continue reading Dunhill Namiki ~ The Enchanting Story of Singapore between London and Tokyo

How Did Namiki Conceptualize Using DragonFly And Lotus On Namiki Limited Edition Pen?

Namiki Limited Edition Pen – Dragonfly

Namiki Dragonfly Limited Edition Pens available in SINGAPORE
Namiki Dragonfly ( Kachimushi) – One of the Namiki Limited Edition Fountain Pens

Inside the quiet corners of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the large lotus pond at the Symphony Lake never fails to attract my attention.  As I watched the dragonflies frolic among the lotus flowers, it reminded me of how brilliant Namiki conceptualize 2013 Limited Edition Fountain Pens –  Namiki Kachimushi << 勝虫>> alias Namiki DragonFly & Lotus Fountain Pen.  (Latest update July 2015:  Singapore Botanic Gardens is now a Unesco World Heritage Site !)

< 勝虫 > in Japanese, literally means “Victory Bug”.  What is so special of such an insect DragonFly that triggers this trivial pursuit of pen collectors worldwide?  Let me take this opportunity to illustrate the brilliance of Namiki that differentiates it from all Japanese fountain pen manufacturer.

Brilliant mother of pearl inlaid at the wings of the dragonfly.
Brilliant mother of pearl inlaid at the wings of the dragonfly.

The traditional use of the dragonfly among many Japanese art & crafts are evident in its ancient helmets (coming in 2015 Namiki Limited Edition Pen called Kabuto  (兜, 冑) or Namiki Samurai Helmet Limited Edition Pen), swords, armors, kimonos, lacquerwares to illustrate bravery and courage.  The tradition came from a tale that dates back to Emperor Yuryaku (雄略天皇) who was the 21st Imperial ruler of Japan.  Literally, the dragonfly was observed to have saved the emperor from being bitten by a horsefly – we laughed at it but yet, the dragonfly became a hero!  How does it do that? It went straight to the prey and snap it  steadfastly with 90 % accuracy on all its prey (documented truth).  Forget about the lions and sharks, they have 25% chance of catching their prey.

A refreshing lotus lies in wait for the victor.
A refreshing lotus lies in wait for the victor.

Namiki illustrates the dragonfly in high relief maki-e 高蒔絵 and enhances the transparent wings with high quality mother of pearl.  Noticed that even the dragonfly veins are visible too and that requires highly skilled artisan like Kokokai maki-e master , Mr. Masahiro Yamada, to give it the pinkish luster.

It would have been a chrysanthemum flower to adore the Namiki Dragonfly fountain pen but why a Lotus?

In the Far East, the lotus is associated with purity, chaste and good fortune.  It is a symbol used prevalently in buddhism  as the Goddess of Mercy <Kannon 観音 > rested on it to represent its mercy and purity.

As the lotus lies in wait to welcome its hero, artisan Mr. Masahiro Yamada presents the lotus leaves in green lacquer and high relief taka maki-e and burnish lacquering technique togidashi maki-e.  Looks like the typical time when lotus blooms in the month of May.

A reminder of the dragonfly at the section
A reminder of the dragonfly at the section

Emerging as the next generation of Kokokai artisan, Mr. Masahiro Yamada demonstrated his talents with his presentation of the dragonfly in the most visible location – the pen section – to remind the user regularly of the courage and its unwavering determination to capture its objective.  Brilliantly executed in jim-maki, nashiji and taka maki-e.You can see his emergence from the signature – it’s calligraphy!  Shogo, one of the most decorated artisan of yester years, remained as my favourite with his beautiful calligraphy.

Signature of Master artisan Mr. Masahiro Yamada
Signature of Master artisan Mr. Masahiro Yamada

The packaging of this Namiki Limited Edition Pen is with a Kisotsuishu lacquer lid with ripples of water on the background to mimic the ripples created by the frolic of the dragonfly approach of the lotus on water.  Usually found in the Yamanaka nuri, this is a modern yet captivates the essence of this beautiful and classical art piece.

The box surface is lacquered with the lotus on water

The lid cover with Kisotsuishu nuri on it to mimic ripples of water
The lid cover with Kisotsuishu nuri on it to mimic ripples of water

The overall presentation is elegant with a bottle ink that has the dragonfly maki-e on the cap.

Elegant presentation box
Elegant presentation box
Even the cap is maki-e with the Kachimushi
Even the cap is maki-e with the Kachimushi

The choice of a dragonfly and the lotus is just the perfect set up to welcome Pilot 95th Anniversary Dragon this year which we are quietly awaiting this Fall.

You see this first in Elephant & Coral Singapore – Pen Specialist since 1996 and visit us at http://www.elephant-coral.com for all your fine pens requirement.  Call us at +65-6736-1322 or email sales@elephant-coral.com for enquiry.  Only 150 pieces are available

Namiki Chinkin Fountain Pen Collection 沉金-Telling Stories of A Thousand Lines And Dots – A Tribute To the Late Shouji Michikami of Namiki

About Namiki Chinkin Fountain Pen

A Chinkin Fountain Pen 沉金 万年筆 is such a beautiful piece of art to adore. The technique itself is a commonly used traditional Japanese maki-e art form whereby thousands of lines and dots were carved onto a hard surface and then hand  filled with gold powder to highlight the patterns on it.  As a layman, I had tried my hands on carving a single straight line focusing my strength on a sharp pointed cutting tool but only a scratch appeared.

To make it even harder, the dots (den buri) and lines (sen buri) are to be created to present an overall image to reveal a masterpiece. (see image below)

Chinkin Dragon
Before Namik Chinkin Fountain Pen first appeared, this is a Chinkin Rising Dragon From The Fury Seas made in 1998.

That was what happened in 2003 when Namiki first showed the Chinkin collection to us.  The Emperor Chinkin Dragon captivated my eyes among the rest of the collection, namely the Namiki Chinkin Hawk, Owl and Squirrel.  The works were done by Mr. Shouji Michikami.

Chinkin Collection became an instant hit with the world of pen collectors that drove Namiki to launch the successful Pheasant & Sakura Limited Edition in 2006, a 99 pieces limited edition.  The success was met with an avalanche of orders and it rested on the shoulders of one man – the late Mr. Shouji Michikami.  Watch this video on YOUTUBE:

The craftsman was swamped with so much order and he fell sick.  The orders took anything from 2 years to 4 years to deliver while the world waited.

In 2010, we hear the departure of Mr. Shouji Michikami.  We have only his works to remember this craftsman who had bravely soldiered on to create these beautiful Chinkin Fountain Pen Collection for us in our hands.

I had created this short video to pay a tribute to this craftsman whom we know little about but we can remember his wonderful works.  Some information may not be very accurate but to a certain extent shows our thoughts.

Enquiries on Chinkin Dragon, Namiki Chinkin Owl, Chinkin Hawk, Namiki Chinkin Squirrel to sales@elephant-coral.com or visit Elephant & Coral website.  Telephone: +65-6736-1322

The Ultimate Rare AAA Namiki Dunhill Namiki Dragon Fountain Pen

Dunhill Namiki Dragon Fountain Pen

Faces Of The Dragons

Dragons are mythical creatures that has enchanted Asians, especially the Chinese, for thousands of years. In the new year 2012, lets talk about Dragon pens in its many forms as we inaugurate and welcome The Dragon Year 辰 or 龙.

Dunhill Namiki Dragon - Battle Of The Dragon Fountain Pen
The Faces of The Dragons

In ancient times, Dragons are liken to the ruling emperors and the emperor is also called “the son of the dragon” – 《天子》.  It was deliberate to give the utmost sovereign power to the emperor who rule over the thousands of peasants.  Even the costumes with dragon motif were wore only by emperors and all others who were found to have the dragon motif on the costumes were punishable by death. Continue reading The Ultimate Rare AAA Namiki Dunhill Namiki Dragon Fountain Pen

How does a Fountain Pen relates to the Origin of a Sword – “Stylus”?

Many a times, we hear quotes of “The pen is mightier than the sword”. Besides the literal meaning of how words from a pen can cut like a sword; the fountain pen in particular was used in ancient times as a “Stylus”.

Ancient people were using a sharp-pointed sword-like object to write by scratching on Tabula (waxed wood or polished stone) or leaves. This is the stylography which is said to be the very first original form of writing tool and it was named “Stylus” in Greek and they were made of hard material objects such as metal, bone and horn etc.. It’s tip was pointed for writing purpose while the other end was shaped spherically or flat so that when the writings on “Tabula” is no longer needed the end was used to rub off.

Antique Stylus

These Stylus became the “symbol” of those aristocratic intellectuals who were able to write characters. It was not only treasured but also used as a weapon for self defense. In fact, the famous story of using Stylus as weapon is the heroic end of Julius Caesar who, in his last breath, said “You too, Brutus!” as he fell on the floor. That is to say, Julius Caesar, who was attacked by outnumbered assassins at Boule (parliament) fought a vigorous head-on clash with his Stylus as swords and Tabula as shield. Due to this incident, at one time there was even a law which prohibited general public from using metal Stylus.

From1969 ~ 1972, Pilot made some small quantity of sterling silver fountain pen that models after the ancient stylus. The style is very similar to the ancient India stylus used around 200~300 B.C

A rare sterling silver Pilot Stylus fountain pen

A rare Pilot Stylus made c. 1969~72 of sterling silver

The Pilot Sterling Silver Stylus fountain pen is a rare example of re-producing the aural and heritage of an ancient Stylus pen. The entire pen is handmade as you can see the chisel marks on the cap and barrel.

As you draw the fountain pen out of the cap, it is as if you are drawing a sword. One end of the barrel is shaped rounded to resemble the eraser while the tapered end resembles that of a dagger.

A sword like dagger fountain pen made by Pilot c. 1969

It has a wonderful weight and its unusual shape made the pen both unique and lethal.

The Pilot Stylus Sterling Silver fountain pen comes with complete certificate and an explanation of its original thoughts behind making this pen.

To many others, a fountain pen is always about righteousness, gallantry and wisdom. The Pilot Sterling silver fountain pen serves as a reminder on the original thoughts of how a fountain pen should serve the people and its master.

The Black & White World of Panda Fountain Pens

The Black & White World of Panda Fountain Pens

Pandas are lovely creatures that make you laugh when you see their clumsy ways. Giant pandas were declared a protected endangered species by the WWF (World WildLife Fund) because of its dwindling numbers.

Namiki Panda fountain pen, Sailor Panda fountain pen
Endangered Species protected by The WWF

But what does panda has to do with a fountain pen? Well, Panda was one of the most whimsical motifs chosen to grace a limited edition of 700 pieces Namiki “Endangered Species fountain pen” way back in autumn 1997.

Panda limited edition fountain pen produced in 1997
Namiki Panda Limited edition fountain pen

In those days, no one took The Panda seriously. When the first endangered species was made, The White Tiger, collectors were gearing up for some hot-blooded creatures for its next limited edition. When the Panda was first featured in its debut, it was more a laugh of its soft good nature soft nature and it is even harder to take a Panda pen seriously. Obviously, it did not chalked up good fast sales like its predecessor.

14 years today, the Giant Pandas remained as an endangered species, so is the Panda fountain pen. We can even see Kung Fu Panda in the cinemas too!

Quite similar to the Namiki Panda limited edition fountain pen
The Sailor Panda fountain pen

The Panda is a symbol of China, its emergence in the world stage as a major sovereign power is also seen in the rarity of even finding these fountain pens too.

Sailor Panda fountain pen barrel

 

Just like any siblings, the Sailor Panda fountain pen captures the playfulness of the panda in its natural habitat

The Giant Pandas resided in its natural habitat in Wolong ( 卧龙) meaning “Sleeping Dragon” in Sichuan province, China. As the legend of the Black & White unfolded just as the emergence of this great ancient civilization flexed its soft power, the Panda pen remained as the pen that one has to take it more seriously…..