Today brought news of another new release out of Hannover, this one quickly following on the heels of the upcoming Souverän M800 40 Years Anniversary limited edition due out next month. If you will recall, Pelikan kicked off the 2022 season with their M1000 Maki-e Snow, Moon, and Flowers limited edition. Pelikan’s next release will again be another high end Maki-e model, this one titled Phoenix. The last time we got two Maki-e releases in a single year was 2019 when both the Five Lucky Bats and Japanese Umbrella debuted. These are always ultra-exclusive models made in very limited quantities with a price tag to match. Pelikan’s promotional literature states;
“The Phoenix is surrounded by numerous meaningful legends. Phoenix is a legendary spiritual bird in Chinese mythology, appearing in myths, ornaments, works of art, and architecture in East Asia. It is often depicted as a symbol of virtue, wisdom, beauty, and goodness. Phoenix also has the meaning of harmony, peace, femininity, beauty, prosperity, expansion, ascent and success. According to Chinese legends, phoenix represents the entire universe. The phoenix‘s head represents the sky, the eyes are the sun, the back is the moon, the legs are the earth, and the tail is a planet.”
The Maki-e Phoenix utilizes the oversized M1000 chassis, made in Germany, and decorated in Japan. This model is slated to arrive sometime in November 2022. As is the tradition with many of these ultra-limited pens, this will be an edition of just 123 pieces available for worldwide distribution.
Both Seven Treasures (2021) and Snow, Moon, and Flowers (2022) utilized the Togidashi-Taka-Maki-e (Burnished-Raised Maki-e) technique which combines Taka-Maki-e and Togidashi-Maki-e. The same will be true of the M1000 Phoenix. This method adds texture and dimension to the design. In this case, a phoenix is prominently displayed on the barrel while the cap depicts clouds and what appears to be the sun, all superimposed upon a glittering reddish-brown background. The first appearance of the phoenix, a symbol of peace and prosperity, dates to 2600 BCE. According to legend, the phoenix remains hidden, appearing only when reason prevails, thus it has come to represent a peaceful reign and a successful ruler. Historically it was the right of the Chinese Emperor to bear the dragon, while the phoenix was the main decorative motif in the costumes of the Empresses of China. This is not the first time we have seen the figure of a phoenix grace a fountain pen from Pelikan. The first appearance that I can recall occurred in 1996 with Pelikan’s M800 Golden Phoenix which saw 888 pens done in the Toledo style. In 2005, the company released the Maki-e Dragon and Phoenix, an edition of only 88 pens that is rarely seen these days.
The Maki-e M1000 Phoenix will come packaged within a traditional gift box made of paulownia wood. It will come with Pelikan’s standard 18C-750 two-toned gold nib in a medium width. The pen features the usual trappings of an M1000 which includes a beak clip, two cap bands, two trim rings at the piston knob, and a single trim ring at the section, all plated in 24-karat gold. The cap top again features Pelikan’s single chick logo superimposed upon a background styled to match the barrel and cap. The M1000 sports a dark green ink view window positioned just behind the section. Each pen is individually numbered and includes the artist’s signature, painted by hand. For most of us, the price will necessitate that these pens be admired from afar. The European RRP including VAT is €3,700 ($3,614.66). I have seen this model offered at retail for just over $3,000 from abroad. US retail pricing is not yet clear but should be in the neighborhood of $4,800, similar to this year’s other Maki-e model.
I love the simpler look of this one, particularly when juxtaposed against the Seven Treasures (2021) and Snow, Moon, and Flowers (2022). I do think it unfortunate that Pelikan has opted for another high end release, leaving the everyday aficionado high and dry. Out of the six announced releases this year, three have been high end pens, priced well over $1000. Perhaps it is a deliberate strategy of selling fewer units at higher prices but it does a disservice to the fan base in my opinion and makes the brand less accessible to new comers. None-the-less, I’m sure that this model will sell out. What are your thoughts on the new M1000 Maki-e Phoenix?
Seven Years of Maki-e M1000s, left to right: Spring & Autumn (2016), Dragonfly (2017), Peacock (2018), Five Lucky Bats (2019), Japanese Umbrella (2019), Kingfisher (2020), Seven Treasures (2021), Snow, Moon, and Flowers (2022), and Phoenix (2022)