How does one come up with superlatives to describe something? What I’ve got here almost belies description; it must be experienced. This is a Danitrio Hyotan or calabash/gourd shaped pen with dragon and flower maki-e. I don’t even really know the real name of the pen or the model number. The artist is Kogaku and I’ve two other magnificent pens by him but this one is beyond. Like my new flat top Mikado the base is shu-tamenuri but that is where similarities end save the quality of the work.
On the cap there is a cloud dragon. I assume that because there is a dragon and some clouds. The dragon is a large piece of contoured maki-e work that utilizes a gold powder so fine individual particles cannot be made out with the naked eye with what appears to be a raden eye. The clouds are bordered in gold and filled with finely grained silver powder for extra sparkle and texture. So now we are up to two or three different metal powders and many coats of urushi of different color/composition.
The body has a flower motif rendering what I believe is Tsubaki or Camelia, but I could be wrong. One flower appears more “realistic” whereas the other one appears to be symbolic of something perhaps a Buddhist symbol, or not. Anyway, it is a (symbolic?) flower encircled by symbolic waves. The whole of the flower uses at least 5 different sizes of metal powders of gold and what appears to be copper and at least two difference colors/compositions of urushi including green and red. There is also raden on each flower. The amount of work here is astonishing.
Almost forgot this was a pen. It sports a #6 “Buddhist flame” nib and plastic feed that is supplied by a CC filer. I like a CC filler on Danitrio pens. It means that I get to change inks more often. This is a broad nib and an excellent writer with just the barest amount of pressure. Ink glides across the page.
The packaging is old school Danitrio in that the pen comes in a fabric pouch encased in a large, mirror black lacquered box. It’s not urushi but it looks great and feels substantial, special, and presents this pen as an occasion. The only other Danitrio pen I have that came with this big box is my very first from four years ago, which is just (just!) a tamenuri finished Mikado. All the others have come in simple Paulownia wood boxes, even the maki-e pens. Not sure what dictates the packaging.