Winter Under the Stars


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Model name: Winter Under The Stars

Artist: Ikki Moroike

Number: 10-9946-020

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


“Winter under the Stars” features the magnificent Orion constellation over a Japanese winter night landscape.

Below – A Winter Landscape

Above – Orion’s Belt With Stars Pulsing

Beyond – Many Light Years



In the Northern Hemisphere the constellation of Orion (The Hunter) is seen clearly in the Winter night Sky from November to February each year. It is one of the most conspicuous and recognisable constellations in the Universe. Orion has been recognised and celebrated by all the world’s Great cultures, and many myths and stories are associated with it. It is the astronomic reference for the luminosity standard and is one of the most important constellations for stellar navigation.

Orion has seven main stars. The famous Orion’s Belt (the Hunter according to Greek mythology) consists of three large stars, Alnitak, Alnilani and Mintakai – all between 800 – Orion has seven main stars. The famous Orion’s Belt (the Hunter according to Greek mythology) consists of three large stars, Alnitak, Alnilani and Mintakai – all between 800 -1400 light years distant. The other four perimeter stars include Betelgeuse (the left shoulder) which is a massive ‘M’ type Red supergiant star – nearing the end of its life in the skies. It is the eighth brightest star in the sky.

Bellatrix (the left shoulder) is a ‘B’ type blue giant star. Rigel (right foot) is a ‘B’ type blue supergiant and is the sixth brightest star in the Sky. Saiph is the left foot of Orion.



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.