Spirit Of Japan  

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Seasons Under The Stars

Human Kind has always had a fascination for the Stars and the Heavenly Constellations.

The Four Seasons have also attracted much interest in all cultures.

 

Maki-e artist Ikki Moroike has combined the Landscapes and Skyscapes at night to create a special Limited edition collection of Fountain pens depicting the most famous constellations visible in the night sky.

 

Inspiration for these night landscapes was drawn from the Japanese artistic movement

known as “Shin Hanga” or “ New Etching” which took place between 1910-1940. The most  beautiful prints called “Shiki-e” ( landscape images according to the Seasons) which  were adaptations of the original woodblock artwork. Some artists were particularly skilled  at creating the mystery of a night atmosphere. One artist- Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) was  famous for his Winter landscapes and his talent for portraying snow landscape such as  his famous ‘Canal under the snow’ .

 

The Maki-e Artist - Ikki Moroike

Mr. Ikki Moroike was born in 1962 in Ishikawa prefecture in Japan. After graduating from

high school in 1980, he served his apprenticeship with Mr. Ikkou Kiyose a famous Maki-e

artist, living in Kanazawa.

 

He completed his time with Mr. Kiyose in 1986 and started his own business in Kaga City

in Ishikawa prefecture. He joined the Exhibition of Kanazawa Lacquer Arts and Crafts from  1986 and he won the top honor three times. He joined the Exhibition of Yamanaka Lacquer  Art Craft Maki-e and his five crafts were selected for lifetime awards in Kaga He completed  his time with Mr. Kiyose in 1986 and started his own business in Kaga City in Ishikawa  prefecture. He joined the Exhibition of Kanazawa Lacquer Arts and Crafts from 1986 and  he won the top honor three times. He joined the Exhibition of Yamanaka Lacquer Art Craft  Maki-e and his five crafts were selected for lifetime awards in Kaga city. Two of his crafts  were also selected to be lifetime awards in Yamanaka town in Ishikawa prefecture.

 

He has been awarded the top honor four times so far from the Exhibition of Yamanaka

Lacquer Art Craft Maki-e.  His craft was selected at the Exhibition of Japanese Traditional Lacquer Art Craft for the  first time in 1988. In 1994, his craft was exhibited at the Exhibition of Japanese Traditional  Lacquer Art Craft and was bought by the Imperial Household Agency. His craft was selected  at the Exhibition of Japanese Traditional Art Craft for the first time in 1996 and he was  embraced as a regular member of the Japanese Art Crafts Association in 1999.

 

He is now the membership of the following associations.

1)   Japanese Art craft Association

2)   Kanazawa Lacquer Work Association

3)   Kanazawa Lacquer Art Craft Industry and Commerce Cooperative Association

4)   Kaga Art Association

 

5)   Yamanaka Lacquer Art Craft Maki-e Association

 

 

 

 

First in the Series is “Winter under the Stars” featuring the magnificent Orion

constellation over a Japanese Winter night landscape.

 

The maki-e process and techniques

Used for all the "Season Under The Stars" masterpieces

 

The "togidashi" process is long and tedious, and as such is only used for high level luxury products. –

 

Taka-maki-e  "Taka" means " raised" and refers here to a relief decoration. This technique is one of the pillars of maki-e decoration developed back in the fourteenth century.

The thick lacquer "urushi-Hakushita" is mixed with gold dust resulting in "Kin-taka-maki-e"

 (also less frequently using silver dust resulting in "Gin-taka-maki-e"), The mixture is thickened by the  addition of powder material (eg charcoal) and is applied to the design to create a slightly raised effect. The relief is increased by layering and then is covered with translucent lacquer for finishing.  The result gives a true sense of depth through the various layers of thickened lacquer.  The maple leaves on the barrel are good examples of this technique.

 

Shishiai-togidashi-maki-e: this complex method is most difficult, because it combines several techniques.  It is mostly with a scene or landscape. This method highlights all the details of the design, and gives it depth and perspective. The artist can bring out the foreground, or details , by specially preparing the  different layers of lacquer and exposing each of them by polishing togidashi (see below).

 

Some patterns are processed as flat designs (hira-maki-e), and others in relief (taka-maki-e)  often with inclusions of semi-precious materials such as raden etc. with other maki-e  techniques. This process is very time consuming mainly due to the laquer drying time between each step.

 

Togidashi-maki-e: the development of a decoration by repeated polishing.

The general principle is to cover the prepared substrate (ebonite base of the pen) with several layers  of black Urushi lacquer or alternatively with gold or silver paint with a base coloured maki-e lacquer.  Then gold dust is sprinkled onto the base "togidashi kin" or silver dust "togidashi gin." In the case of the use of many colored pigment powders it is called "iro-togidashi" . This first phase provides a slight relief decoration. Then the artist covers all the subject with the same lacquer used for the first layer and the whole is then sanded and polished until smooth and shiny. All layers are covered with a special Urushi lacquer which is sanded in the sanding/polishing process.

 

 

Winter Under The Stars

 

 

Limited Edition - 28 pieces only

First in the series is "Winter under the Stars" featuring the magnificent Orion constellation over a Japanese winter night landscape.

 

Below - A Winter Landscape

Above - Orion's Belt With Stars Pulsing

Beyond - Many Light Years

 

In the Northern Hemisphere the constellation of Orion (The Hunter) is seen clearly in the Winter  night Sky from November to February each year. It is one of the most conspicuous and recognisable  constellations in the Universe. Orion has been recognised and celebrated by all the world’s Great  cultures, and many myths and stories are associated with it. It is the astronomic reference for the  luminosity standard and is one of the most important constellations for stellar navigation.

 

 

 

Orion has seven main stars. The famous Orion’s Belt (the Hunter according to Greek mythology)  consists of three large stars, Alnitak, Alnilani and Mintakai - all between 800 - Orion has seven  main stars. The famous Orion’s Belt (the Hunter according to Greek mythology) consists of three  large stars, Alnitak, Alnilani and Mintakai - all between 800 -1400 light years distant. The other  four perimeter stars include Betelgeuse (the left shoulder) which is a massive ‘M’ type Red  supergiant star - nearing the end of its life in the skies. It is the eighth brightest star in the sky.

 

Bellatrix (the left shoulder) is a ‘B’ type blue giant star. Rigel (right foot) is a ‘B’ type blue supergiant  and is the sixth brightest star in the Sky. Saiph is the left foot of Orion.

 


Model name: Winter Under The Stars
Number: 10-9946-020
Materials: Ebonite with Maki-e decoration
Filling system: Converter & Cartridge type .
Nib selection: Available in M & B 21K solid Gold
Limited Edition: 28 pcs only


 

Spring Under The Stars

 

 

Limited Edition - 28 pieces only

 

Below - A Sakura Landscape

Above - A Twinkling Triangle

Beyond - The Universe

 

There is much to see in the warmer Spring night sky. Leo (the Lion), associated with the arrival of Spring is overhead in the Northern Hemisphere. Leo’s brightest star is Regulus (from Latin –king),  the ruler.- often called the Heart of the Lion. Located  85 light years from Earth, Regulus is one of  the ‘Royal Stars’ and is the  21st

brightest in the skies with a diameter of 5 times that of the Sun and 160 times the luminosity. This star is one of the base stars of the right angled triangle known as 

‘The Spring Triangle’

 

Spica, the  brightest star in the constellation of Virgo is the apex of the triangle -  . The Chinese called  this bluish star the “Special Star of Springtime” rising just as the sun sets in early April. The name Spica (Latin) is said to signify the ear of wheat Virgo holds under her left arm.  Spica is a brilliant white helium type star 275 light years distant and is the 16th brightest in the night sky.  Its luminosity is 2300 times that of our Sun.

 

The other base star of the ‘SprIng triangle’ is the bright yellowish star called Arcturus which forms part of the ‘Bootes’ ( The Herdsman) constellation (Le Bouvier in French). Arcturus is a giant red star 36 light years from Earth, 24 times larger than the Sun and 115 times the luminosity. This star is probably about 10 billion years old and is believed to be among the earliest stars created in the Galaxy.

 

 

 

Model name: Spring Under The Stars
Number: 10-9460-020
Materials: Ebonite with Maki-e decoration
Filling system: Converter & Cartridge type
Nib selection: M, B, 21K Gold

Limited Edition: 28 pieces only

 

 


 

Autumn Under The Stars

 

 

Limited Edition - 28 pieces only

 

Next in the Series is “Autumn under the Stars” featuring the key stars of the magnificent constellations of Ursa Major and Cassiopeia plus the Polaris North Star -

 

Below - A Leafy Autumn Landscape

Above - Cassiopeia and Ursa Major

Beyond - The Milky Way

 

Autumn is beginning in the Northern Hemisphere. The constellation of Ursa Major now appears to be lumbering along the horizon and towards the East we see the classic ‘W’ formation of the constellation of Cassiopeia (The Queen) apparently climbing high into the North East of the Milky Way which bisects the Autumn early evening sky. Between the two constellations sits the North Star –Polaris , the brightest star of the neighbouring constellation Ursa Minor.

 

Ursa Major – The most prominent feature of this constellation is the ‘Plough’, an asterism that is actually better known than the constellation itself! The plough has historically been thought of as a saucepan, a ladle, a wagon and a chariot and more recently by Americans as ‘The big Dipper’. The brightest star in the constellation of Ursa Major is called Dubhe.

 

Polaris –The North Star is 432 light years away and is 46 times larger than our Sun.

 

Cassiopeia – As legend has it this constellation was named after a vain Greek Queen. The characteristic ‘W’ formation of the major stars is clearly visible with the Milky Way in the background.

 

The artist, Ikki Morioike, has created his masterpiece through the autumn red hue of the maple leaves with the constellations above and a special window across the landscape to the distant stars of the Milky Way. Also shown in the design is the fruit and leaves of the Snake Gourd.

 

Model name: Autumn Under The Stars
Number: 10-9462-020
Materials: Ebonite with Maki-e decoration
Filling system: Converter & Cartridge type
Nib selection: Available in M & B 21K solid Gold
Limited Edition: 28 pcs only

 

 

Summer Under The Stars  (Available June 2015)

 

Limited edition of 28 pieces

Last in the Series is “Summer  under the Stars”  featuring  the key stars of the  magnificent Aquila, Cygnus and Lyra  constellations  -  The stars form ‘The Summer Triangle’ overseeing a Japanese Summer  evening  landscape.

Summer  under the Stars         The Summer Triangle

                       Below … the Fireflies sparkle

                       Above ….  Lovers meet

                       Across  the Milky Way

Summer has arrived -the fireflies are in evidence in the bushes and the night sky is decorated with Stars and constellations. Aquila, Cygnus and Lyra are now all overhead in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

The Summer Triangle is an asterism formed from the imaginary triangle connecting the three brightest stars (Vega, Altair and Deneb) in the three of the main constellations of this  Season. It has inspired many legends throughout history and in Japan the festival of Tanabata is celebrated annually in mid-Summer. Originating from a Chinese legend of the Princess (who has excellent weaving skills) and the Cowherd, the story tells of the couple falling in love and marrying. Once they are married, the princess stops producing her cloth and the cowherd stops herding his cows. Her father the King banished the couple to opposite sides of a great river (the Milky Way). He then relents and allows them to meet but there is no bridge. According to legend a flock of Magpies created a bridge for them to cross the river and they meet up on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of July. The Princess is represented by Vega and Altair is the cowherd. The star Deneb forms the bridge allowing the two to ‘meet’ across the Milky Way galaxy.

Vega- in the constellation of Lyra (also known as the magic Harp given to Orpheus by Mercury) is a blue-white class A0 star about 26 light years distant. It is the 5th brightest star in the Skies at night.

Altair- in the Aquila constellation (also known as the  Eagle belonging to Zeus as far back as 1200BC) is a  class A7 blue-white star about 126 light years away.

Deneb –in the constellation of Cygnus –the Swan (mythology suggests that Orpheus was changed into a Swan upon his death and placed beside his magic harp (Lyra) in the sky. Deneb is a blue -white supergiant class A2 star which is 1660 light years away and is 70,000 times brighter than our sun and 25 times the mass.

Model name: Summer Under The Stars
Number: 10-9462-020
Materials: Ebonite with Maki-e decoration
Filling system: Converter & Cartridge type
Nib selection: M, B, 21K Gold

Limited Edition: 28 pieces only

 

 

 

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  Email : kaigai@bungu.sailor.co.jp
     
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  Email : info@sailorpen.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 
   
   

 

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