Saturday, February 12, 2011

Namiki - Hummingbirds

I have mention previously that in 2004 Namiki launch a new series of maki-e pens. They discontinued almost all of their old Yukari range except this piece.

They did the right thing as this is one beautiful piece of artwork.

There are 2 humming birds, one on the cap and a bigger on the barrel. Both extracting nectar from hibiscus flowers.

Hummingbird possesses a wide spectrum of breathtaking colors. The iridescent colors of the feathers arise from layers of special cells within the top layers of the feathers. Light that hits these cells is broken apart; some wavelengths are reinforced and intensified, while others are nullified through interference. The resulting colors are amazingly vivid.

The artist has captured the green iridecent of the hummingbird feathers with greenish gold and gold color. The red color on their throat shows that both are male birds.

Most Namiki pens has black background (red or green background are extremely rare). It's easy to depict night scene with black background. But hummingbirds are day animals.

To illustrate bright daylight, gold rings are paint on the background to illustrate bright sunlight. Abalone shells (or Raden) are scattered around the birds represent lights broken by the fast flapping wings.

I have always interested in this pen. But there are too many priorities that I have to place it at the end of my wishlist. In 2008, Namiki decided to discontinue it. I think part of the reason is because it's artist, Seiki Chida, has too many projects on hand (both normal and limited edition pieces).

You might ask why don't Namiki let other artist continue to paint this pen? I don't know the exact reason but that is not their tradition. So when an artist retired, so did their pen design.

Luckily, I was able to acquire one before it is discontinued.


  1. Like all artisan, they like to work on something original and something their created themself and not others people design.

  2. Sometime I wonder whether the artist is the designer of picture. They painted it, but who design it?

    There are pens that are painted by more than one artist. The Namiki Thunder God vs Wind-God is one example. It is painted by Hyakusen Murata, Yasunori Sakamoto and Kyusai Yoshida.

  3. From what I read from some of the reference book, the artisan uses design from books to design them. They share their design. I think only within the same organization.