News: Maki-e Japanese Umbrella Limited Edition

Pelikan Maki-e Japanese UmbrellaAs anticipated, Pelikan kicks off the month of October with a new Maki-e release, this one titled Japanese Umbrella.  This is actually the second Maki-e pen to debut in 2019 with Five Lucky Bats having been launched this past summer.  These ultra-detailed and labor intensive pieces have been a show case of the marriage between German engineering and Japanese artistry.   The prior four themed models have included the Spring & Autumn (2016)Dragonfly (2017), Peacock (2018), and Five Lucky Bats (2019).  Pelikan has this to say about their new Maki-e model;

“The umbrella was introduced from China to Japan during the Heian period (AD 794-1185).  The traditional Japanese umbrella is made of natural material such as Japanese paper, bamboo, and wood.  Thirty to seventy bamboo bones are used to open and fairly spread the umbrella made of Japanese paper.  On the fountain pen, there are four Japanese umbrellas drawn in Taka-Maki-e, using techniques such as raden and kirikane.  Rain is expressed using many narrow pieces of mother of pearl.”

As has been the case with many of the prior releases, this one will again be built off of the M1000 chassis.  Japanese Umbrella will likely start shipping later this month or early next but beware.  This limited edition will command a hefty price and many vendors will see only limited availability due to the number of pieces available.  I wouldn’t wait too long if you have the means and the desire to add this one to your flock.

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News: Maki-e Five Lucky Bats Limited Edition

Pelikan Maki-e Five Lucky Bats Limited EditionOver the last several years we have become accustomed to annual releases of Maki-e inspired limited edition fountain pens from Pelikan.  These models have married nearly a century of pen making experience with the expertise of Japanese artists.  Recent past releases have included the Spring & Autumn (2016), Dragonfly (2017), and Peacock (2018) to name just a few.  The Pelikan’s Perch has learned that the 2019 Maki-e pen will be called Five Lucky Bats.  An excerpt from Pelikan’s sales literature has this to say about the new model;

“In China, the bat is considered a symbol of happiness as the pronunciation of the word ‘bat’ resembles a Chinese word which means ‘fortune is coming.’  The depiction of the bat is considered to be a lucky pattern which brings five kinds of luck: a long life, wealth and respect, health and mindfulness, virtue and grace, and to die without worry and regret.  There were times when only noble people could wear clothes using motifs of the bat.  In Japan as well, the bat is regarded as a symbol of luck as the word bat is pronounced as ‘komori’ which could be written in Japanese as ‘a lot of happiness.'”

Like the models cited above, this one will be built off of the M1000 chassis, the same line that has been plagued by a supply chain issue in recent months.  Fret not as a limited edition of this nature is likely immune to the issues affecting the rest of the series.  It is unclear just when we might see this one come to market though I would anticipate a June/July release.

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News: Maki-e Peakcock Limited Edition

Pelikan Maki-e Peacock Limited Edition

There is no better way to start off a new week than with news of a few upcoming releases.  First up is Pelikan’s Maki-e Peacock limited edition announced by Fritz-Schimpf earlier today.  This 2018 model follows the Spring & Autumn (2016) and the Dragonfly (2017) that came before it.  Pelikan’s sales literature (translated from German) relates that the peacock is one of the most beautiful birds on earth due to its exceptionally beautiful, brightly colored feathers.  Peacocks have also been known to eat poisonous plants without being affected causing the animal to held in high esteem amongst different cultures and religions since the early days of human history.  The peacock has developed as a symbol of happiness because the bird is seen as being able to protect people from hardship and pain.  This Maki-e release celebrates all of the above.  Built off of the M1000 chassis, the traditional Make-e painting depicts the brightly colored plumage of the peafowl set in sharp contrast against a black background.  

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Pelikan’s Maki-e Koi and the Story of the Dragon

Pelikan M1000 Maki-e Koi Fountain PenKoi fish are a domesticated variant of the common carp and have been around for thousands of years.  Carp are a cold water fish that can survive and adapt to many climates and water conditions which facilitates their propagation to new locations.  With proper habitat, they can grow up to three feet in length and easily live 25-30 years or more.  They were originally found in Central Europe and Asia but are most frequently associated with Japan.  This may be because they were largely unknown to the outside world until a Tokyo exposition in 1914.  Carp were first bred for food but color morphs were later selectively bred resulting in the beautiful diversity that we see today.  There are currently over 20 different varieties of Koi fish.  The carp has been revered for thousands of years, often represented in stories as a symbol of perseverance.  In Japanese culture, they symbolize wealth, prosperity, love, a successful career, and good fortune.  One ancient legend of the Koi stands out and Pelikan highlights it in the promotional materials for their 2015 Maki-e release, simply titled Koi.

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News: Maki-e Dragonfly

Pelikan Maki-e Dragonfly Limited EditionEarlier today, Pelikan International gave us a glimpse of their new 2017 Maki-e model.  It was just around this time last year that we learned of the prior release, the Spring & Autumn.  This new release has been given the moniker Dragonfly.  Not many details are available at this time.  Pelikan themselves only state;

This limited edition “Dragonfly” is a masterpiece that combines the craftsmanship of Pelikan Germany based on 179 years of tradition and technology coupled with superior Japanese traditional Maki-e painting techniques. Each fountain pen has the Pelikan logo on the crown, a limited edition number and the artist’s signature drawn in by hand using Maki-e techniques.

While there isn’t much to glean from that excerpt, the picture is a bit more telling.  The double scroll work on the nib clues us into the fact that this is designed off of the M1000 chassis.  The traditional Make-e painting depicts a dragonfly amongst a colorful background which stands out nicely against what appears to be a black pen.

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News: Maki-e Spring & Autumn

Pelikan Maki-e Spring & AutumnFollowing the recent news of the upcoming Statue of Zeus, Iguana Sell, a purveyor of luxury goods out of Spain, gave us a preview of an upcoming Maki-e limited edition fountain pen today in a post on The Fountain Pen Network.  The new model has been named Spring & Autumn.  This appears to be an ambitious Maki-e release, encompassing both traditional Maki-e and Raden techniques in a veritable patchwork of thematic motifs.  The pen’s finish is designed to symbolize both of its namesake seasons.  The imagery includes cherry blossoms and maple leaves, both symbolic of their respective seasons in Japanese culture.  Gold leaf is employed to create three traditional Japanese designs on the cap.  These include flowing water in green, a hemp leaf in brown, and a golden stripe.  There is an area of blue abalone shell on the barrel of the pen, creating a Raden effect.  An additional area of stripes in violet depict eternal love.  Yet another area in silver is done in the Harikiri technique.  Several different Maki-e techniques exists and Harikiri entails generously sprinkling gold powder over a design and then carefully removing it with a needle in selected areas so that the original design shows through the gold dust.  When taken as a whole, these different panels come together to give the front of the pen, where the clip resides, an Autumn motif whereas the opposite side depicts a Spring design.

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Pelikan Maki-e Unique Collection Auction 2014

Maki-e 2014 Auction BannerIn 2012, Pelikan hosted a special auction in which 11 pens done in the Maki-e style were sold.  These were unique pieces, never to be reproduced.  The final sale prices ranged anywhere from $4400 to $19,000 plus.  While these prices are out of the price range for most of us, it is still fun to look at these beautiful pieces (and perhaps dream of hitting the lottery).  Two years later, Pelikan is again hosting a special auction, this time with 17 pieces up for sale, again done in the Maki-e style by renowned artist from Japan.

According to Pelikan, these pens will be available for purchase in successive auctions held at one-week intervals during November.  For those that don’t know, “Maki-e is a complex Japanese lacquer painting technique, which requires a great deal of patience and skill. The artist applies lacquer as well as gold and silver particles in multiple layers, which are repeatedly polished, giving a 3D effect. Only a few artists in the world have mastered the technique of Maki-e painting; it takes years to learn.”

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