Maki-E Arts (Part II): Supernatural Creatures
Our journey through japanese arts in decorating pen continues. We're now showing you some of our maki-e limited edition pens, the Supernatural Creatures collection.
In our work we're constantly led by imagination and creativity; we let our fantasy run wild and explore imaginary worlds, taking inspiration from old myths, legends and ancient tales.
With the "Supernatural Creatures" collection we wanted to give the world our interpretation of creatures and myths which inhabit distant cultures' history.
We thought that maki-e was the best suited technique to accomplish that, and Master Oshita was happy to put his magic at work.
Note: we deliberately chose not to resize the pictures, as we thought it was important to show in the incredible level of precision and detail of Oshita's hands.
In the ancient Egyptian religion, Anubi was the jackal-headed (although recent studies stated that his head represents a grey wolf) god. It was considered the most important god of the dead, impersonated the protector of the deceased and their resting places. Infact his name recalls also particular meanings such as He who is upon his mountain and He who is in the place of embalming. It should be noted that such procedures weren't considered negative or ill-fated. Taking care of the dead was instead seen as the most important, divine and ironically devoted to life role. Anubis doesn't just represent Death; on the contrary, he sums up the whole life cycle as he also represents rebirth. The colors he's depicted with are infact the color of a dead body and that of the black, rich and flourishing Nile's black soil.
The japanese ogres, also known as Oni, are demons depicted in various forms and they represent a common topos in Japanese literature, art and culture in general.
Sometimes they're painted as half man half animal creatures, sometimes as red skinned and white haired demons and more often just as creatures with unnatural features such as extra eyes or fingers.
It is debated what the real origin of Oni is, but they're commonly associated to disasters, diseases and death. Although they're horrendous creatures, they inspire a strong form of respect mixed with some sort of admiration. After all, Oni are very powerful creatures in Japanese culture.
Far from being literally "supernatural creatures", The Maya was a Mesoamerican pre-Columbian civilization. We dedicated them a pen because of their incredibly developed and complex myths.
They had developed a written language as well as arts, architechture, mathematical and astronomical studies. By the time the Spanish had arrived, the Maya had reached their apex. Much of Mayan cultural influence can be seen in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Maya managed to measure the lenght of the solar year to an incredible level of accuracy; it was infact much more accurate that the European one, which is an amazing thing since Europe had, most likely, a huge advantage in terms of technology.
Dragon and Phoenix
The Fenghuang, also known as the Chinese phoenix is the mythological bird of East Asia that reings over the other birds.
It is most commonly depicted while attacking snakes, symbolizing the eternal struggle between Good and Evil and the infinite circle of Yin and Yang.
Its body itself represents six celestial bodies: the head is the sky, the eyes are the sun, the wings are the wind, the talons are the earth and the tail is the planets. Chinese dragons are legendary creatures, portrayed as scaled and serpentine creatures with four legs. Often painted while struggling against a the fenghuang, it represents the Yang. They symbolize auspicious powers, control over water, rainfalls, hurricanes and floods. The dragon is definitely a symbol of power.
Pegasus and Chimera
In the ancient Greek mythology, Pegasus was portrayed as a white, winged divine stallion. During the centuries, it has represented different symbols, ranging from wisdom (from Middle Age to Renaissance) to poetry (during the 19th century he was believed to create the sources from where poets drawed their inspiration).
Carl Jung has interpreted the Pegasus' symbolism as a form of spiritual energy that allows access to real of the gods, on the Mount Olympus.
The chimera was a monstrous creature, composed of parts from three different animals: a lion, a snake and a goat. It describes anything perceived as implausible, crazy. Infact, despite its horrendous look, the chimera also represents the pursuit of what seems impossible to reach, a great goal, a dream.
Which is what daily takes place in Visconti.
These limited edition pens were produced in really low numbers: 188 pieces - Dragon and Phoenix (2004), Pegasus and Chimera (2005), Ogres (2005) , Anubi (2005) and 88 pieces - Maya (2009). They all issue our patented Dreamtouch 23kt Palladium nib for perfect writing performances.
Hold one and start dreaming...