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Maki-e Collection

Hanakui Oshidori (Mandarin Ducks)
Limited Edition Maki-e Collection

Image of Conway Stewart Hanakui Oshidori

Conway Stewart is working with many highly praised and recognized Maki-e artists for its 2006 collection.
Hanakui Oshidori is the third pen in the spring collection crafted by the renowned artisan, Mr. Koichiro Okazaki.

Hanakui Oshidori (Mandarin Ducks)

Mandarin Ducks are a theme frequently featured in Oriental art. A notable characteristic of this species is intense loyalty. Pairing for life, they represent conjugal affection and fidelity in eastern art. Their presence represents balance and harmony.

Image of Conway Stewart Hanakui Oshidori
Chinese proverbs for loving couples use the Mandarin Duck as a metaphor and they are frequently used as symbols during Chinese weddings. The species was once widespread in eastern Asia, but it is now endangered because of large-scale exports and the destruction of its forest habitat.

The populations in eastern Russia and China are probably well below 1,000 pairs, although Japan may have around 5,000 pairs.

Mr. Koichiro Okazaki's work name is Kogaku-san. His work is painted freehand without any outline of design or silk screen process. While 90% of currently produced Maki-e artwork utilizes man-made Urushi lacquer, Kogaku san uses only 100% natural Urushi lacquer, collected by hand from Urushi trees.

Image of Conway Stewart Hanakui OshidoriKogaku-san draws his inspiration of these particular Mandarin Ducks from treasures housed in the Shosoin temple.

Shosoin is an imperial storehouse. It is located inside the Todaiji Temple in Nara just northwest of the Great Buddha. The building serves as a time capsule housing the treasures of the Silk Road (the overland trade routes from China to the Mediterranean).

This temple has protected and preserved around 9,000 different items dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries.

Amongst the thousands of treasures, the Shosoin serves as museum of Persian motifs including animals, trees, birds, and lion hunting, artifacts from the Roman Empire, an unparalleled collection of musical instruments from Iran and China, carpets from western China, a rhinoceros horn bowl from Champa (today central Vietnam) are just a few of the national treasures.

Image of Conway Stewart Hanakui OshidoriThe building holds ritual objects used in China and brought to the Japanese court for its own purposes; objects made in Japan that reflect Japanese imitation and innovation of Tang Chinese; and archives, temple furnishings, and ceremonial dress.

Shosoin's significance extends beyond Japan the building is widely acknowledged as the "Treasure House of the World".

Kogaku-san has depicted a pair of these colorful birds set against a flowing backdrop of running water. Each brightly painted Mandarin Duck is clasping a long stalk with flowers. Raden inlay and gold powder are carefully used to accent both the ducks and flowers.

The shimmering surface of the flowing water is detailed with gleaming gold and green.

This wonderful design adorns the cap and barrel. It is an amazing display of both art and nature.

Each piece carries Kogaku-san's signature, and the coveted
Red Seal signature signifying the highest level of Maki-e art.

Hanakui Oshidori by Mr. Koichiro Okazaki
Limited to 25 pieces worldwide

Nib grades: Extra Fine to Extra Broad, Italic Fine, Italic Medium, Italic Broad
Filling mechanism: converter cartridge

Retail Price £3,774 $6,310 €4728
Limited to 25 pieces worldwide

About the Artisan:
Mr. Koichiro Okazaki's work signature is Kogaku-san. Born in 1959, Kogaku-san has received prestigious recognition, including the award of Kao (his authorized monogram) from Kuda Munenori of Sado Omote School as well as placing in several national urushi-related exhibitions. Kogaku-san's art is very popular and can be seen on many traditional accessories, such as ornamental hairpins and jewelry.

He has a strong following and is much admired by people collecting his work on expensive combs used for decorative purposes. One of his most distinguished works was on a citizen pocket watch that sold for $20,000. Kogaku-san's attention to detail is amazing. Some of his artwork has lines no thicker than a human hair.

Kogaku-san's work is painted freehand without any outline of design or silkscreen process. While 90 percent of currently produced maki-e artwork utilizes man-made urushi lacquer, Kogaku-san uses only 100 percent natural urushi lacquer, collected by hand from urushi trees.

Click on the images below to view additional designs
crafted by maki-e artisan Kogaku-san

Image of Conway Stewart Maki-e Image of Conway Stewart Maki-e
Image of Conway Stewart Maki-e Image of Conway Stewart Maki-e

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