Today’s delightful pens are from the Namiki Chinkin collection, and it’s the first time On Fountain Pens has the honour to feature Namiki pens here! Chinkin means “gold inlay” and it is the technique used to create the wonderful designs on these beautiful pens.
These pens have just been launched in November 2014, fresh out of the oven from Namiki. There are 4 designs in the collection, namely:
- Namiki Chinkin Yukari Cranes (Tsuru)
- Namiki Chinkin Yukari Pine Tree (Matsu)
- Namiki Chinkin Yukari Silver Grass (Susuki)
- Namiki Chinkin Yukari Cherry Blossoms (Sakura)
These pens come with a two-toned 18K gold nib.
In Japan, Chinkin and Maki-e are two popular ornamental lacquering techniques. For those already familiar with the Maki-e Yukari pens from Namiki, these Chikin Yukari pens are similar in size. Also, Namiki had previously launched their more premium, signed Chinkin series, which are available in Yukari Royale (Squirrel and Owl) and Emperor (Peony, Tiger, Hawk, and Dragon) sizes.
In the Chinkin technique, the pen is coated first with a Roiro lacquer finish, and the designs are carved on the lacquer layer with a chiselling tool specialized for this work. Only can only imagine how much willpower and concentration is needed to carve all these intricate strokes on the pen! Make a mistake, and the pen is pretty much “wasted”, because, unlike Maki-e where coatings are applied, once you carve the wrong way with the Chinkin technique, it is not possible to repair the mistake. There is absolutely no room for error.
To quote the Namiki Chinkin brochure,
… work using the Chinkin technique can only be achieved by artists with immense strength of mind and outstanding skills.
Various intricate carving techniques may be employed in the making of these beautiful masterpieces. Carving techniques include concentrated groups of dots (Tenbori – reminiscent of pointilism), concentrated linear patterns (Senbori), rub carving (Kosuribori), rough scratchings, and carving using the corner of a flat blade (Katagiribori). Two different techniques can be seen in the two close-up shots I took of the Sakura and Matsu pens respectively:
After the design has been carved, the artist then applies gold leaf and powder into the depressions, resulting in the final golden design.
Chinkin, though one of the leading Japanese lacquering techniques, actually originated from China and was brought to Japan during the Kamakura Era (~A.D. 1281-1385). Imagine this art form surviving all these years, and still sought after today! This artistic technique is also used on other surfaces such as bowls and tea caddies (boxes used to store tea). Here is a video on the Namiki Chinkin technique (Chinkin is introduced from 1:34 onwards).
These are for sure very beautiful pens for a collection, but unfortunately I don’t own them and I’m not able to afford them for now… 🙁
If you are interested in these pens and live in Singapore, they are already available locally at retailers such as Fook Hing Trading Co., Elephant & Coral, and Aesthetic Bay. If you are overseas, you can contact your local authorized Namiki dealer to get these pens!
Special thanks to Fook Hing Trading Co. for letting me take photos of these amazing pens. 🙂