Spring Under the Stars

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Model name: “Spring Under the Stars”

Artist: Ikki Moroike

Number: 10-9460

Materials: Ebonite with Maki-e decoration

Filling system: Converter & Cartridge type

Nib selection: Available in M & B 21K solid gold bicolor nib

Limited Edition: 28 pieces worldwide


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.



About the Collection:

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 process and techniques:

-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.