How are Urushi Lacquer Pens Made? An in-depth look at the Imperial Taipei Sunset

A Kenro Exclusive: The Imperial Collection, Featuring the Taipei Sunset

If you’ve heard the name Kenro, you know they’ve been a trusted company for distributing such great luxury brands as Montegrappa, Aurora, Speedometer Official, U-BOAT, TF Est 1968, and now Esterbrook over the last 26 years. Kenro’s most recent quest? To find the most beautiful pen in the world. Each year, a new model will be commissioned in the Imperial Collection. This year? The beautiful Taipei Sunset made with urushi lacquer.

If you’re totally fascinated with the urushi lacquering technique featured in this specific model – you’re not alone. We were so interested in this process that we had to learn more!

According to toki.tokyo, this 9,000-year process for lacquerware production starts with the sap of the Asian urushi tree. Now a true art form throughout the world, urushi had its humble beginnings in the Stone Age throughout Asia when it was used to coat such things as wood, pottery, baskets, etc. It then became more and more prominent when it was used to make religious images of Buddha, plates for traditional cuisine, utensils for tea ceremonies, and even armor for war. Eventually the process spread throughout Europe in the coming centuries and became even larger.

So how does it work? Once hardened, the urushi lacquer forms a protective coating against the surface on which it’s applied. It’s both durable and aesthetically pleasing (in fact, add some gold or silver powder on top of the traditional wet urushi, and that becomes the maki-e designs that are also very prominent in fountain pens). The full process of making an urushi fountain pen may take several weeks to months to complete. It must be conducted under strict supervision, as any error can permanently stain the finished pen. For fountain pen collectors and enthusiasts, it’s certainly one of the most sleek and beautiful designs around.

The Taipei Sunset

Limited to 33 pens worldwide (yes, they’re all numbered and signed by the artist in gold paint!), the Taipei Sunset is a true rarity. Made from the finest ebonite and coming with a JoWo 18k gold nib and Schmidt converter, the Taipei Sunset’s best feature may actually be its special “Cushion Cap Closure” system which prevents the ink from drying up, ensuring instantaneous ink flow after periods of no use. This deep red (Aka-Tamenuri, as it is known in the Japanese pen world) pen has a tapered barrel (ending in a rounded but narrow point) and comes packaged up in a special HIMOKI wooden box, both for protection and presentation. Considering both the color and the body shape, plus the painstaking work that went in to creating the urushi lacquer, the Taipei Sunset will certainly be a point of envy for all fountain pen fans.

Now On Sale

This Kenro exclusive is one of the most beautiful pens we’ve seen recently. The form is sleek and sophisticated – a perfect pick for this exclusive collection. (For nib enthusiasts, please note that specific nib sizes may be available. Just inquire if you are looking for a specific nib size, and we will do our best to accommodate!) As only 33 are being produced, be sure to check out more details on our website before it’s too late, or contact us today to place your order!


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