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Maki-e Collection

Karyoubinga, Celestial Maidens
Limited Edition Maki-e Collection
"Nominee in the 2008 Pen World Reader's Choice Awards -- Best Maki-e Artistry"
The pen exhibiting the best Maki-e artistry; Maki-e encompasses a number of lacquer-working techniques originating in Asia

Image of Conway Stewart Maki-e Karyoubinga

Conway Stewart is working with many highly praised and recognised Maki-e artists for its 2006 collection.
Karyoubinga completes the spring collection crafted by the renowned artisan, Mr. Koichiro Okazaki.


Karyoubinga (Celestial Maidens)

Karyoubinga is a celestial being who plays music, dances, sings and flies through the air. She appears in many forms, often with a bird's body and an angelic head. She is depicted in Buddhist paintings, ritual robes, murals, and temple decorations.

Image of artist Mr. Koichiro OkazakiThe artist, Mr. Koichiro Okazaki, has received prestigious recognition for his work and has been accepted by and awarded in national art exhibitions. Known through his work name as Kogaku-san, his art is admired and collected by lovers of maki-e and investors world-wide.

Kogaku-san draws his inspiration of this particular Karyoubinga from treasures housed in the Shosoin Temple. Shosoin is an imperial storehouse. The building serves as a time capsule, housing the treasures of the Silk Road and is located inside the Todaiji Temple in Nara just Northwest of the Great Buddha. This Temple has protected and preserved around 9,000 different items dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries. Shosoin's significance extends beyond Japan and the building is widely acknowledged as the "Treasure House of the World".

Kogaku-san's rendition of the Karyoubinga from the Shosoin Temple is an imaginary creature with the head of a beautiful woman and body from an exotic bird. Karyoubinga lives on the snowy mountains in the Himalaya region and in the Paradise, spending most of her time teaching and dancing, possessing a melodious voice.

Image of Conway Stewart Maki-e KaryoubingaImage of Conway Stewart Maki-e KaryoubingaTo successfully depict this much loved design, Kogaku-san employs a wide range of many different methods of Maki-e art and techniques: Bokashi maki-e (a shading technique in which two kinds of gold powder are graduated through bamboo. It takes a very steady hand to sprinkle solid gold dust on to wet Urushi lacquer), Hirame Ishimeji (large gold foils sprinkled over the wet Urushi lacquer and then a transparent Urushi lacquer is applied and burnished), Togidashi maki-e (a labour-intensive technique that results in a design completely flush with the surface, utilising the repetition of paintings, powder sprinkling, and burnishing), Tsukegaki technique (using heavier raised lines of gold lacquer, dusted with different size of gold powder to give texture and definition to the design), Kirigane (decorative technique employing small squares of gold or silver foil applied to maki-e lacquerwork surfaces of gold foil and abalone and gold powder applied to maki-e lacquerwork surfaces). A clear orange colour natural Urushi lacquer is painted on the design to secure its finish and durability for the owner to enjoy for many, many decades.

The Conway Stewart Karyoubinga brings a wonderful traditional interpretation of an important figure from Buddhism into our modern world. Set against a backdrop of shimmering gold powder on the cap, the figure of Karyoubinga evokes feelings of lightness and harmony, perfectly in keeping with the theme. This sense of calm and soothing peace is carried through the barrel of the pen, birds and a floral motif provide a complimentary backdrop to the central figure.

The beauty of Maki-e depends on the artisan's skills: artistic design, knowledge of traditional techniques, and the ability to tell a story through the application of art. Many sought-after artisans acquire their training in their early teenage years, following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents. A Maki-e artist's vocation is not motivated by money, but by pride in following a family tradition.


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

Karyoubinga (Celestial Maidens)
by Mr. Koichiro Okazaki

Limited to 25 pieces world-wide

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

Image of Conway Stewart Maki-e Karyoubinga


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 authorised 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 jewellery.

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.

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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