Namiki Emperor Goldfish
The Namiki Emperor Goldfish is a stunning example of Maki-e technique. This hand-finished flat-topped eyedropper-filled fountain pen is not only a memorable work of art in its own right, but also a superb writing instrument. Goldfish are frequently depicted on in fine urushi lacquer work in Japan, symbolizing wealth and good fortune in the land of the rising sun.
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One of the most exciting Maki-e pens to have come from Namiki in recent years, the Emperor Goldfish does not disappoint. The contrasts between the brilliant colors and the muted metal maki-e gives depth to the composition. Landscape, if it can be called that, comprised of terrain, fluid, flora, and fish are all present in exquisite detail.
Namiki Pen Company has returned to their classic flat-end form of pen. Seen first in what now are extremely rare and valuable pens made for Dunhill by Namiki in the late 1920s, the "flat top" straight-sided pens are back. The advantage to this pen shape and lack of clip is that it offer an uninterrupted canvas for Maki-e application. As an eyedropper filled pen, the entire barrel is filled with ink, giving the writer many pages of continuous flow.
Multiple approaches to surface detail include delicate raised ridges as seen here on the fins of the goldfish. They also define the contours of the land forms. Gold and silver metallic urushi lacquer define the goldfish scales as well as the pond ripples.
This style of Maki-e, where the surface is gilded, coated with urushi and then burnished to a high sheen with charcoal dates from the seventh century. The other method employed here, developed in the twelfth century, lays down urushi lacquer in specific areas which are then sprinkled with gold dust to the desired density. This method requires great hand craft.
It is commonly accepted that Namiki is the world leader in the art of Maki-e on fountain pens.
Spiral swirls of silver ripples beautifully stylize the effect of light on water. The goldfish floats in that space between that top surface and the reeds below.
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