2020 Namiki Limited Edition “SHIJIN”
The “Shijin” are important traditional figures in Chinese mythology represented by four sacred beasts known as Seiryu, Byakko, Suzaku, and Genbu. These mythical creatures are the guardians of the four cardinal directions and are deeply tied to principles of Feng Shui. Each “Shijin” is represented by a symbolic colour and is linked to one of the elements which are said to make up the natural world: wood, metal, fire, and water.
Seiryu is represented by a mighty dragon with the antlers of a deer, and the body of a snake. This sacred creature guards the East, controls the element of wood, and is symbolized by a vibrant blue-green colour. Seiryu is said to have the power to bring forth blessing rains which produce abundant crops. This dragon-god is also considered a symbol of wealth and believed to attract good fortune and success.
Unlike the other “Shijin”, Byakko is a spiritual beast modelled after a living animal – a tiger that survived for 500 years and gained spiritual power. This Tiger-god guards the West, governs metal, and is symbolized by shades of brilliant white. Byakko is said to be an incarnation of the Moon Goddess and is believed to bestow fertility and ensure safe childbirth.
Suzaku is represented as a beautiful phoenix with five-coloured wings. This brilliant bird is guardian of the South, wields the element of fire, and is connected to shades of blazing red. Suzaku is seen as a symbol of beauty and intelligence who brings happiness by burning evil spirits in its flames.
The god Genbu is depicted as a long-legged turtle with a snake wrapped around its body. It is believed that because the two animals are eternally intertwined Genbu has the power to improve human relationships. This sacred creature serves as guardian of the North, master of water, and is symbolized by deep shades of black. Genbu is considered a symbol of longevity and prosperity due to its ability to control life and travel to and from the underworld.
The centre of the “Shijin” fountain pen is adorned with an image of the sun’s rays made vibrant by the use of gold powder. A contrasting dark sky is depicted in Raden (Mother-of-Pearl) as well as gold and silver powder. An intricate “I Ching” symbol serves as an eight-directional compass denoting the North, South, East, and West. The cardinal directions are painted in their symbolic colours of rich blue, brilliant white, fiery red, and deep black, symbolizing each corresponding sacred beast. The image of each of the four “Shijin” gods is represented in their respective cardinal direction when the fountain pen is capped and held upright.
Seiryu, who controls wood in the East, is positioned on the right side of the pen, while Byakko, who controls metal in the West, is placed on the left. This depiction gives the appearance of the two gods engaged in confrontation, imparting the illustration with dynamic energy.
Similarly, Suzaku, guardian of the South and master of fire, soars above sizzling flames at the bottom of the pen’s barrel. Genbu, who guards the North and controls water, floats atop the waves along the cap. Each sacred creature is intricately depicted using Taka(Rased)Maki-e, while the waves and flames at the top and the bottom are depicted in Togidashi(Burnished) Maki-e.
The "Shijin" fountain pen was designed with the hope that it will bring prosperity and good luck to all those who own it.
This fountain pen is based on the Emperor vest-type body style and was crafted by KOKKOKAI master Maki-e artisan, Masaru Hayashi. Only 99 of this Limited Edition fountain pen have been launched worldwide. Each “Shijin” fountain pen is presented in an exclusive, jet black box with serial number plate, and is accompanied by a Limited Edition ink bottle adorned with the same eight-directional compass depicted on the fountain pen. We hope that the 2020 Namiki Limited Edition “Shijin” fountain pen will be cherished by collectors worldwide for many years to come.