As the saying goes, the pen is the tongue of the mind. Instead of sending an e-message, why not write a letter using the beautiful Namiki Emperor Coral 2021 Maki-e fountain pen? 

 

Just like how the form of luxury timepieces has evolved from a pocket watch to a wristwatch, the fountain pen has evolved too, from the olden days of carrying around a quill pen and a bottle of ink.

According to the cultpens.com website, developing what would become the first fountain pen was not easy. It’s thought that Leonardo da Vinci may well have made one for his own use way back around 1500, but it was well into the 1800s before they started to become reliable and commonly used.

However, fountain pens were still considered quite prone to leaking until some innovation started to happen with the design of the feed, around 1900.

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Today, there are numerous fountain pens on the market. If you are looking for a writing instrument that not only writes smoothly but is also handmade by talented craftsmen from Japan, look no further than the Namiki Emperor Coral 2021 Maki-e fountain pen.

This special pen is wrapped in corals; these are marine invertebrates that have lived for more than 1,000 years. Regarded as a good luck charm, coral is also seen as the birthstone for the month of March in Japan. In addition, the 35th wedding anniversary is called the “coral anniversary”. The Namiki Emperor Coral 2021 Maki-e is the perfect gift to celebrate these occasions, with its stunning depiction of the richly coloured world of the ocean.

Namiki Emperor Coral 2021 Maki-e - THE EDGE SINGAPORE

Maki-e refers to lacquerware on which a design is made by sprinkling or spraying wet lacquer with metallic powder, usually gold or silver, from a dusting tube, canister or brush. For the Namiki Emperor Coral 2021 Maki-e, the deep colours of the ocean are expressed in togidashi (burnished) maki-e, which uses raden, coloured lacquer powder, gold powder, and other natural materials. The rocks are finished in shishiai togidashi (combination of raised and burnished) maki-e.

For the fish, taka (raised) maki-e is used to finish the budai (parrotfish); while togidashi-taka (burnished-raised) maki-e is employed on the suzumedai (damselfish) and tsunodashi (moorish idol). Hira (flat) maki-e is used for tsuno (black coral), while the red, pink and purple corals are finished with taka maki-e using many colours.


See also: A tribute to a craft


Only 99 limited editions have been produced worldwide. This fountain pen is based on the Emperor vest-type body style and decorated by Kokkokai maki-e artisan Seiki Chida.

The fountain pen comes in a special box finished with blue lacquer resembling the ocean and the serial plate is decorated with corals and suzumedai. A special bottled ink is produced depicting corals and tsunodashi on the cap.  

 

The story of corals

In Greek mythology, the blood of the hero Perseus, who was beheaded by Medusa, flowed into the Mediterranean Sea to form corals. For this reason, corals have been worn by people as protection against evil spirits.

Corals shaped like branches and leaves tend to be thought of as seaweeds, but corals are “animals” with mouths and stomachs in their bodies. They are categorised together with sea anemones and jellyfish in their biological classifications.

Coral also lay eggs and it is believed that their spawning is related to the tidal ebb and moon. A mystical sight of different coral varieties spawning on the same night can be seen all over the world once a year.

The coral reef is a topography in which limestone skeletons pile up after the coral dies. Coral reefs are an indispensable part of the ocean because they are home to fish, shellfish, and other species. In recent years, it has been reported that coral habitats have decreased due to rising ocean tem- peratures because of global warming.

The bleaching of corals, a phenomenon also known as the “desertification of the sea”, has been cited as a leading environmental issue of today. In various coral habitats, environmental protection activities are being carried out, and transplantation and rooting have been planned.

Corals not only enrich the natural environment of the ocean to the extent that they are said to be forests in the ocean, but also co-exist with many marine life forms. We hope that the motif of the corals will inspire each of us to reflect on the importance of protecting the environment.