Summer Under the Stars

Click to enlarge

Model name: Summer Under The Stars

Artist: Ikki Moroike

Number: 10-9462

Shape and materials: KOP Ebonite with maki-e decoration

Filling system: Converter & Cartridge type

Nib selection: M, B 21K Gold with rhodium plating

Limited Edition: 28 pieces worldwide


“Summer under the Stars” features the key stars of the magnificent Aquila, Cygnus and Lyra constellations – The stars form ‘The Summer Triangle’ overseeing a Japanese Summer evening landscape.


Below … the Fireflies sparkle

Above …. Lovers meet

Across the Milky Way



Summer has arrived -the fireflies are in evidence in the bushes and the night sky is decorated with Stars and constellations. Aquila, Cygnus and Lyra are now all overhead in the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

The Summer Triangle is an asterism formed from the imaginary triangle connecting the three brightest stars (Vega, Altair and Deneb) in the three of the main constellations of this Season. It has inspired many legends throughout history and in Japan the festival of Tanabata is celebrated annually in mid-Summer. Originating from a Chinese legend of the Princess (who has excellent weaving skills) and the Cowherd, the story tells of the couple falling in love and marrying. Once they are married, the princess stops producing her cloth and the cowherd stops herding his cows. Her father the King banished the couple to opposite sides of a great river (the Milky Way). He then relents and allows them to meet but there is no bridge. According to legend a flock of Magpies created a bridge for them to cross the river and they meet up on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of July. The Princess is represented by Vega and Altair is the cowherd. The star Deneb forms the bridge allowing the two to ‘meet’ across the Milky Way galaxy.

Vega- in the constellation of Lyra (also known as the magic Harp given to Orpheus by Mercury) is a blue-white class A0 star about 26 light years distant. It is the 5th brightest star in the Skies at night.

Altair- in the Aquila constellation (also known as the Eagle belonging to Zeus as far back as 1200BC) is a class A7 blue-white star about 126 light years away.

Deneb –in the constellation of Cygnus –the Swan (mythology suggests that Orpheus was changed into a Swan upon his death and placed beside his magic harp (Lyra) in the sky. Deneb is a blue -white supergiant class A2 star which is 1660 light years away and is 70,000 times brighter than our sun and 25 times the mass.


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.