This is one of my latest urushi pen additions. It is the Danitrio Hanryo Maki-e Akigusa ni Suzumushi. Hanryo is the pen model and it means companion. Maki-e refers to sprinkled (with gold particles etc.) picture painting using urushi lacquer. Akigusa is autumn grass and Suzumushi is the bell cricket aka Meloimorphia japanicus. All the elements of this design, the cricket, autumnal grasses, chrysanthemum etc. reference the Autumn season. These crickets are well known in Japan and there is even a temple in Kyoto, the Kengonji temple that raises these crickets. People come to pray accompanied by their sound known as the voice of Buddha.
This is/was the smallest pen Danitrio makes/made—I’ve read it’s out of production, but all the photos online show a slightly different pen that has a clip, mostly different for having a clip. This pen was new at the AD but I reckon that does not necessarily mean it was made recently. Two versions of this pen with the same maki-e design were available to me to choose from including this one in purple and another in red. Both were quite fetching, but I chose the purple model because I did not have an urushi pen with purple color. Regardless of the base color the maki-e work is beautiful and beautifully done with minor variations between the two pens.
The basecoat is at first glance simply polished purple urushi but closer inspection reveals diffuse addition of gold powder, so I suppose the entire pen is technically done with maki-e techniques. On the cap is found an insect and plants. Delicate single lines define the grasses whereas the cricket features raden or shell inlay as well, which is a brilliant choice to represent folded up insect wings. The body depicts flowers, mainly chrysanthemums in two colors/effects but also shows other plants with raden and alternative maki-e techniques—I’ve not been able to identify the other two plants although they are likely familiar to Japanese people. All in all, this Autumnal scene is familiar in Japanese artwork and is found on paintings and screens as well as pens and other craftworks.
The small #5 nib is branded with a T shape imprinted with the word “trio”. It’s an 18k stub nib fed by a plastic feed and a cartridge converter filling system. Size wise the nib fits the pen and while it is a petite pen for Danitrio it’s really a midsize pen and is comfortable to write with. The nib requires some pressure to write and it’s certainly no gusher but is not stingy with ink flow either. The cap does not post well and should not be posted. As it is turned from ebonite the pen is lightweight and well balanced.
The artist who signed the pen is Masanori (Masanori Omote) and I’m proud to have several pens from him. He is a master.