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Ferrari da Varese Maki-e Pens
Maki-e Silver Pen Masterpieces by Master Kitamura-san
It took more than two years to realize the Ferrari da Varese limited edition Maki-e on Sterling Silver pen collection. The three issues were creating outstanding quality, finding a Maki-e master who had nothing to do with pens and therefore did have a "not biased" mind on the subject, and creating Maki-e on silver, a very challenging task. The result is a luxuriously elegant collection of expensive pens. In collaboration with master Maki-e artist Tatsuo Kitamura, Ferrari da Varese offers an exclusive, exquisite, masterful collection of Maki-e on Sterling Silver pens. These luxury writing jewels are available individually but recommended as a complete set. Each pen is a one-of-a-kind.
Tatsuo Kitamura: Master Japanese Lacquer Artist
Tatsuo Kitamura (pen name, Un-ryu-an) has never been widely known until now. He had been an unknown artist who even in Wajima, home to Japanese lacquerware, is only just beginning to attract attention. This is simply because most of his works are snapped up by collectors in and outside of Japan. His work is seen as a highly creative art using the traditional craft of lacquer on daily objects such as pens, to add beauty to your life.
His lacquer works use various techniques that are unique to the craft such as Makie (sprinkled powder), Rakan and Kawainuri and are very impressive and attractive. However, this is not simply because of the interesting look of elaborate and gorgeous traditional designs, but also his sense of crisis for the future of this traditional craft. His spirit is also reflected in his works challenging genuine lacquer artisans and their works at the time when the craft was at its peak.
In the old days when the craft of lacquer making was a mainstream craft, elaborate designs and decorations enmasse produced Inro (a wooden case for holding small objects) which has long been lost.
One of the traditional craftsmanship techniques lost was Somada saiku that uses aogai (blue shell) that glows in blue with gold and silver leaves, for its exquisitely detailed design and was an esoteric technique handed down within the family. Few clues were left available of this lost craft and Kitamura studied and unlocked this secret technique piece by piece by himself, which eventually resulted in his artwork today.
Most Japanese art lovers and specialists in the west have the misconception that there exist many a craftsmen ofInro in Japan today. In the end of the Edo period and beginning of the Meiji era, numerous numbers of Inros left Japan just as Ukiyoe (wood block prints) did and those artworks have been kept in many museums in their countries readily available for them to study. It is not surprising that this misunderstanding persists.
It is perhaps shameful for us that in contemporary Japan Kitamura is the only person in the country or indeed the whole world, who is able to create Inro that rivals the genuine art pieces of the 19th Century.
Kitamura was born in the year of the dragon as his given name Tatsu-o suggests and now he is just over 50 years old. He worked in the design industry in Tokyo and in his twenties returned to Wajima to learn lacquering and started making lacquer pieces for souvenirs. But then his inquisitive mind began to work and he began his research in earnest. He went to London to study extensive collection of Inro and Makie and eventually reached his present style of work.. He uses his pen name, Un-ryu-an as the brand and runs his workshop as an art director with a group of young craftsmen as he learned that he alone would not be able to manage to master the craftsmanship of the artisans of the 19th Century.
His workshop has a total of nine people including himself and his wife, Hiroko with temporary workmen who volunteer to assist his work. One piece takes a year to two years to make. Kitamura loves the sea as he was a son of a fisherman and that is why he uses a number of marine creatures such as shellfish and octopus motifs etc. he says laughing. He tries to stay away from fishing though to avoid becoming devoted to it.
He also uses wild flowers which are a staple of lacquerware and he uses his own observant eyes to note the details of the flora and to show expressions of nature in his craft of lacquering. This is the main attraction of his craft, where Kitamura has found the genuine beauty that he has been seeking.