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

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…..

Hanami & Cherry Blossoms – Appreciation of Namiki Maki-e Art I

Hanami (花見) is a traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers. Every year when comes April or May, the craze in Japan is to monitor the stages of how , where and when Sakura cherry blossoms bloomed all over Japan.

It is almost like watching life at various stages of growth and the climax occurs when families and friends meet under the cherry blossom trees all over Japan to enjoy the beauty of the Sakura which lasted only a week or two.

In modern-day Japan, hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura during daytime or at night. Hanami at night is called Yozakura (夜桜) literally means Night Sakura).

Cherry Blossoms are illustrated in many art forms in the traditional art  of lacquerworks — maki-e.  One of the most interesting works is a pen made by Namiki in Spring 2003 called “The Dancing Beauty”

The unusual green lacquer colour itself is already extraordinary because close to 80% of global lacquer pens or items are usually either black or red lacquer.  For good reasons, pens that are made in green, blue and yellow lacquer are extremely rare and hard to find.

In the following pictures, you can find unusual traces of abalone shells within the green lacquer itself.  Hence, it is not just pure green lacquer but a very high grade of green urushi mixed with blue abalone shells in it!

A closer look at the maki-e works marvels anyone as you can see the intricacies of how the sakuras are inlaid with abalone shells (see in picture with blue iridescence).  This technique is called raden.  As you rotate the pen, blue light shimmers and reflects light as if it is trying to please you and make you happy.

The gold coloured Sakuras are inlaid with gold flakes by a technique called Hyomon.

There is another feature in The Dancing Beauty (also called Hagoromo) that makes it extraordinary.  Very few Japanese pens are made with human figurines on it.  Many Japanese themes are mountains, sceneries, birds and flowers—seldom human figurines.

A courtesan was shown dressed beautifully in kimono with tiny sakura motifs on it. When we think of Hanami (花見), it is as if we are brought back in time with the courtesan dancing under the cherry blossom tree once again.

Fortunately, the sakura can last more than 2 weeks on this pen.

It just takes a keen eye to recognise that this pen holds more in value than what meets the eye.

Like the Sakura, it blooms but never bear fruits.  It uses all its energy when it is blooming, even if it is just only that 2 weeks, to show the full beauty of nature and to gain our attention as we sees it through the eyes  of the floating world …..