Technique Details for The Great American Bald Eagle

As a tribute to our Homeland, The Great American Bald Eagle pen was launched on AP Limited Editions’ 10th Anniversary in February 2016. This limited edition series sold out within three weeks of the launch!

The technique used to produce this stunning pen is Shishiai Togidashi Maki-e. This technique is a combination of Taka Maki-e, Hira Maki-e and Togidashi Maki-e. Shishiai Togidashi Maki-e is the intricate combination of Taka (raised) Maki-e and Togidashi (burnished) Maki-e and the highest level of Maki-e requiring great skill.

Urushi lacquer and charcoal powder are used to create the main design in high relief. Then raised elements are smoothened to a gradient and
burnished to a uniform luster. This technique is often used in landscapes where such elements as rocks, clouds, or mountains are featured in a raised design that slopes gently to a flattened design.

The Maki-e technique uses powdered Gold or Silver. In addition to lacquerware that uses Gold or Silver, there is also lacquerware that uses a technique to add decorations using Shells. Some Shellfish emit beautiful rays like a rainbow such as the Turban Shell. The technique to adhere tiny crushed pieces of such shells onto the surface of lacquerware, like a mosaic, is called “Raden”.

The Sky: Very thinly sliced (0.8mm) Abalone Shell pieces have been used to create this stunning sky. These thick pieces have been carefully attached piece by piece to fit the curved surface of the pen.

Stars: Platinum powder and white Urushi were used to create the 50 stars.

Mountains: The raised Maki-e process of Taka Maki-e was used to create the relief of the majestic mountains. The base is applied with very fine
charcoal powder and Urushi. It is left to dry and then scraped with charcoal. Urushi is applied on the entire surface. Gold powder is sprinkled. The snow on mountains was achieved with Platinum powder.

The Eagle’s face and body was created in Taka Maki-e, the raised Maki-e technique to show a two dimensional view. The eyes of the Eagle have inlaid Yakougai (Turban Shell). The feathers were drawn and achieved by using a very fine brush covered with Urushi to draw fine lines which were then
sprinkled over with Gold and Silver powders. This process is known as Tsukegaki 付描. Some of the feather outlines that were drawn were not covered with Maki-e powders. This process is called Kaki-wari.