NAMIKI MAKI-E
Millenary Techniques of Nippon Master Craftmen
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Japanese Namiki master craftsmen need more than three months of work to produce a single fountain pen and to reach the highest perfection of decorative and lacquered beauty.
The Maki-e Technique

The Maki-e technique is a specific form of Japanese lacquer work, characteristic of an extreme artistic wealth from the Nippon craftsmanship. If we look behind in the history of lacquer, we would have to go back 1500 years to see that at that time was when the masters in lacquered developed their imagination and refinement to coat eternal ornamented elements for the nobility.

The shellac is a natural enamel discovered in ancient Asia, approximately 5,000 years ago. They realized that the sap extracted from the lacquer tree, called Urushi, had adhesion and resistance qualities that no enamel and no paint could ever have.

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Once dried, the lacquer is an almost impenetrable element, extremely heat- and water-resistant, which salt or chemicals cannot alter. But above all, a natural lacquer gives a more beautiful result, than with any other procedure. Only natural lacquer can produce such deep black and so exquisite nuances.

The maki-e technique is coated with several layers of natural lacquer, hardened and polished one by one. They are printed and decorated with gold leaf or dust, which overlap. Silver powder, pearl or eggshell are, sometimes, mixed with gold to enrich the ornament.

On the border between the craft and artwork, the maki-e requires a great skill. Nowadays, Namiki perpetuates this artistic tradition and presents a series of fountain pens decorated by the Maki-e technique.

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Shishiai Togidashi Maki-e
(Combined Raised and Burnished Maki-e))

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Shishiai Togidashi Maki-e is the intricate combination of Taka(raised)Maki-e and Togidashi(burnished)Maki-e,and the highest level of Maki-e requiring very advanced techniques.Urushi lacquer and charcoal powder are used to bring up the main design in high relief.Then raised elements are smoothed to a grandient and burnished to a uniform lustre. 

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Togidashi-Taka Maki-e
(Burnished-Raised Maki-e)

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On completion of back ground and other elements of the scene using Togidashi Maki-e techniques, greater emphasis is provided to the main design through the use of other materials such as lacquer and charcoal powder. The design is then finished using the same techniques as those used in Hira(flat) Maki-e. The result is an impression of stately opulence.

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Togidashi Maki-e(Burnished Maki-e)

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Hira Maki-e techniques are used to create the main design. Then the body is completely covered with Urushi lacquer, and after drying the design is revealed by burnishing the lacquer with charcoal.
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Togidashi-Hira Maki-e
(Burnished-Flat Maki-e)

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After finishing the back ground and other scene features by Togidashi Maki-e, then the main design is created using Hira Maki-e techniques.

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Hira Maki-e(Flat Maki-e)

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The lacquered main design is decorated with sprinkled gold and silver powders. Sevelal additional layers of lacquer are then applied. After the lacquer is hardened, it is then burnished.

Namiki Maki-e fountain pens are created using various types of advanced techniques. The more lacquer is applied, the deeper the colour becomes and gold powder glows.
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Hyoumon(Foil)

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Various metal sheets such as gold or silver are cut out into the desired shape and embedded into the lacquer surface.These metal figures are then secured in place with further layers of lacquer. The surface of the Urushi lacquer is burnished with charcoal to reveal the embedded design.

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Rankaku(Egg Shell)

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The design is created using small pieces or powder of quail shells. It is embedded into the lacquered surface and coated with lacquer. Then, the surface of the lacquer is burnished to reveal the design.

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Raden(Mother-of-Pearl)

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The inside surface stratum of various shells such as turban, trumpet and ear shaped shells etc. are pealed off in a thin layer. They are then cut into small pieces and these are coated with Urushi lacquer to secure them in place. This is then burnished to create a finish.

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Chinkin(Gold Inlay)

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A technique involving special chisels are used to engrave a pattern onto the lacquered surface. The design is imbued with colour by applying an additional layer of lacquer to the chisel’s tracings and inlaying gold leaf or gold powder.

This month, we present three exceptional pieces that we have the pleasure to own in our boutique.
NIPPON ART COLLECTION
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Mont Fuji and wave
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The picture is painted in a black Hira Maki-e lacquer. Mount Fuji has been from immemorial times an object of admiration and respect for the Japanese and has been portrayed in numerous paintings and literary works.

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UNESCO has recognized as World Heritage the highest peak in Japan, Mount Fuji, which reaches 3776 meters. Its official name is “Mount Fuji: cult object and source of art.” It has become the seventeenth place of Japan considered as a World Heritage Site.

Considered sacred since ancient times, it has been an special accessory of Japanese painters, as the master of Japanese print Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) with its Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku Sanjurokkei, 1831). They have a strong influence of European impressionists. In 1835, Hokusai published Hundred Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku Hyakkei) as three books in black and gray.

Dragon and cumulus
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The Nippon Art Collection portrays classic Japanese ideas and beliefs using the beauty of the Hira-maki-e technique against rich black lacquer backgrounds

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The Dragon with Cumulus design exhibits good fortune & power in the japanese culture. This line features a smooth flowing 14 karat gold nib which delivers a superb, consistent line. According to the Japanese Mythology, the dragon is one of the four Sacred Beasts.

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COLLECTION URUSHI
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The Urushi fountain pen's beauty is deepened by using non-oil lacquer for the final coat and a polishing method called “ Roiro Urushi Shiage (Non-oil lacquer finish)”, where the process of repeatedly rubbing in raw lacquer after polishing with a special charcoal.

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Urushi, the red material that forms the surface of this pen is made from the sap from Japanese lacquer tree. The process of collecting the Urushi (sap) and applying many layers of lacquer to this fountain pen took three months to complete. A must for Japanese culture and fountain pen enthusiasts.

This collection comes with 18 karat gold nib. A special ink bottle completes the striking presentation. The pen is presented in a traditional japanese wooden gift box.

Namiki Yukari Royale Urushi en Laca Roja

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