What is Tame-nuri on an urushi pen?
Tame-nuri describes the “clear” urushi coat that is applied to allow for an individual to see deep into the layers of the pen. It is common to find traditional tame-nuri urushi pens contain a thinner edge around the cap and the barrel, revealing the base color of the pen.
Caption: Example of a tame-nuri urushi pen, the Tame-nuri Bright Red on Mikado.
To produce the tame-nuri effect, the nuri-shi (artisan) will apply suki-urushi (clearish brown) on the outer layer of the pen and then will burnish it. Suki-urushi is made up of an extremely high quality refined urushi. The high quality refinement involves a paper filtration process (also known as urushi-koshi) using Yoshino-gami (hand-made paper filters) which is a progressive filtration process where the filtration starts with binding pieces of Yoshino-gami together and squeezing out the urushi through them, followed by repeating this activity again but instead with larger quantities of pieces of Yoshino-gami bound together for finer filtration.
Caption: Base color revealed on the edges of this Tame-nuri Blood Red on Hyotan.
Tame-nuri creates an amazing depth on the pen that no other material can replicate. As soon as one sees these pens in person, they will immediately know why nuri-shi believe urushi is living. Tame-nuri allows for pens to come alive as it has transformational abilities with its material being able to change colors over time – tame-nuri does not deteriorate like most materials when exposed to light, but instead it evolves gracefully into another color. If you have never picked one of these bad boys up before, definitely look for these at the pen shows because nothing is like seeing these pens in person, camera photos just don’t do it justice.
Lyn, Bernard. Maki-e, an Art for the Soul. Win Yuan Enterprise Co., Ltd., 2003.
- Choosing a selection results in a full page refresh.
- Press the space key then arrow keys to make a selection.