A new writing instrument pays tribute to the life and legacy of China’s emperor
With its High Artistry Limited Editions, Montblanc pushes the boundaries of creativity and technical virtuosity to tell the stories of history’s great figures. Pairing the traditional expertise of the métiers d’arts nurtured for over 110 years with high precision technology and tools, Montblanc artisans transform fine materials into elaborate masterpieces that defy imagination. From stone cutting and setting to hand engraving and gold work, many techniques have been used to bring to life the fascinating world of Kang Xi, the longest reigning emperor in Chinese history. Part writing instrument part jewellery creation in colourful precious stones and gold, each Montblanc High Artistry Homage to Emperor Kangxi Limited Edition is a dazzling display of the Maison’s artistry.
Considered one of China’s greatest emperors, Kang Xi (1654 – 1722) was the second emperor in the Qing dynasty whose reign brought long-term stability and prosperity after years of war and chaos. An accomplished military strategist and general, Kang Xi was victorious over the powerful Three Lords who threatened his sovereignty, and over the rebels of Inner and Outer Mongolia, successfully submitting them to Qing rule. One of the most able riders of his time, he had a passion for tiger hunting. Among the many achievements that shaped his cultural legacy, he created the Mountain Resort in Chengde, a classic masterpiece of Chinese palace architecture and one of the world’s largest royal gardens designed in the great imperial tradition. He repaired and extended the Grand Canal that linked the Yellow River and Yangtze River, from Beijing to Hangzhou. He commissioned the Kangxi Dictionary that became the standard Chinese dictionary during the 18th and 19th centuries, and essential for the development of literature, poetry and culture during the Qing dynasty and beyond.
During the Qing Dynasty, the dragon was considered one of the most valued imperial symbols featured on the emperor’s clothing, on court furniture and objects, and throughout royal palaces. A majestic dragon made of individually cut white jade pieces and a line of brilliant cut diamonds swirls around the Montblanc High Artistry Homage to Emperor Kangxi Limited Edition 1, The Imperial Dragon fountain pen in an artistic representation of the emperor’s supreme power in champagne gold. Like the rich yellow silk of the emperor’s gown, the cap and barrel of the writing instrument are set with a full pave of yellow diamonds. The cap is cut in the shape of one of his sleeves, as depicted in imperial portraits of the powerful ruler. Inspired by his fascination for mechanical devices and clocks, the cap top features a mechanism that drives the movement of the dragon’s eyes, opening and closing them whether the pen is upright or laying down. A reference to Kangxi’s enthusiasm for Western astronomy, the design of the cone is inspired by an armillary sphere created to represent the movements in the heavens. A 2-axis mechanism allows a 6,42 carat square emerald-cut yellow diamond in a vivid yellow-orange colour to rotate freely at its centre. Thanks to a special mechanism, the precious ornament can be detached and admired as a standalone jewel. Crowning the writing instrument, the cap top is adorned with diamonds in a pavé setting, and the clip is set with a natural white pearl. The Au750 solid gold nib is decorated with the dragon’s head.
The Montblanc High Artistry Homage to Emperor Kangxi Limited Edition 1, The Royal Blue Dragon is a masterpiece in blue and white gold inspired by the deep colour of one of the emperor’s garments. The pavé of blue sapphires on the cap and barrel contrast with the brilliant diamonds on the dragon encircling the fountain pen, as well as the white gold fittings. The armillary sphere mechanism in the cone of the writing instrument features a brilliant 5ct white diamond (Colour D, Flawless). Mediator between heaven and earth, the dragon on the Montblanc High Artistry Homage to Emperor Kangxi Limited Edition 1, The Jade Dragon seems to float through the clouds. The mythical creature stands out in vibrant green jade against a scintillating pavé of white diamonds on the cap and barrel. A precious red 5,08ct ruby floats inside the axis mechanism in real gold, while the top of the cap is set with a pavé of diamonds.
Among Kangxi’s many contributions to Chinese arts and culture, he revived the porcelain industry and initiated a new era of high-quality production at Jingdezhen. Reminiscent of one of the scenes painted on imperial porcelain by Qing dynasty artists, the Montblanc High Artistry Homage to Emperor Kangxi Limited Edition 1, The Hunter brings to life the emperor’s lifelong passion for tiger hunting. By leaning on the rare Grisaille enamel technique, applied using a brush then creating subtle contrasts and shadows using a needle, the cap and barrel emulate white and blue porcelain art depicting hunters riding their horses as they chase tigers in the wild. A reference to archery, the barrel is encircled by an archer’s ring made of jade, and the bottom half of the barrel is embellished with a majestic 3D hard-engraved tiger set with diamonds in pavé. The clip of the fountain pen is shaped like a ruyi, the curved decorative sceptre that symbolizes the emperor’s power and good fortune, and adorned with blue sapphires. Adding to the preciousness of this edition, the solid white gold fittings are enhanced with rows of brilliant diamonds. A dazzling 11,53ct blue sapphire is set at the base of the cone inside the axis design.
During his trips across his vast empire, Kangxi had paintings commissioned of the landscapes and communities he visited on journeys such as the grand Southern inspection tour. The solid gold cap and barrel of the Montblanc High Artistry Homage to Emperor Kangxi Limited Edition 5, The Emperor feature cloisonné enamel creating the effect of painted landscapes in tones of yellows, greens and sand punctuated with threads of gold. The cap top features an original opening mechanism that reveals a miniature gold sundial, one of the instruments brought to the emperor from Europe that he was fascinated by. The gold cone tube of the writing instrument is engraved by hand with a dragon, set with yellow diamonds and the cone is set with a sparkling diamond (DFL, approx. 2ct). The barrel ring features a dragon, symbol of power, hand-carved in green Wyoming jade, while the rings and clip are embellished with a sprinkling of yellow diamonds to enhance the intensity of this homage to Kangxi’s legacy.
Montblanc High Artistry Homage to Emperor Kangxi Limited Edition 10, The Calligrapher celebrates the ruler’s passion for literature and writing with a poem carved on the black jade cap and barrel of the fountain pen. A reference to his favourite hunting animal, tiger’s head in yellow sapphires and black rhodium coated gold adorns the writing instrument’s barrel. Secret inscriptions are engraved on the cap including a work of calligraphy by Kangxi that pays tribute to a poem by Tao Yuanming, hidden under a white gold shield that can be opened. A yellow sapphire shines at the base of the cone, and two yellow sapphires shine on the clip shaped like the ruyi, Kangxi would hold to represent his power.
The armour-inspired design of the Montblanc High Artistry Homage to Emperor Kangxi Limited Edition 89, The General is a tribute to the imperial power and authority. The cap and barrel in AU750 yellow gold feature a special pattern reminiscent of the ceremonial suit of armour the emperor wore for parades. The gold contrasts with the black PVD coated fittings of the fountain pen. The birch used on the lower barrel is the wood traditionally associated with hunting bows in the Qing dynasty. The symbol of longevity and decorative lotus plants are carefully lasered onto the thin birch wood using ultraviolet technology to protect the surface of the precious wood. The barrel is embellished with an archer’s ring made of tiger’s eye, while the base of the cone features a yellow citrine cabochon. The summit of the pen features the Montblanc emblem in mother-of-pearl.
To complement the Limited Editions 1 and 5, Montblanc has created a unique stationary book that matches the distinctive colours of each writing instrument. Each piece is hand-embroidered with the application of pearls and different beads and features the imperial seal inside and a portrait of Kangxi. The paper contained in the notebooks was produced exclusively by Magnani 1404, combining traditional production processes with modern printing technologies.
By combining subtle variations and adjustments to traditional know-how with high precision tools and innovative technologies, the High Artistry Homage to Kangxi Limited Editions take craftsmanship to new heights of virtuosity, honouring the achievements and influence of a great Chinese emperor whose legacy continue to fascinate and delight centuries later.
Guided by the pioneering spirit since 1906, Montblanc revolutionized the culture of writing with breakthrough innovations. Today, the Maison continues to push boundaries and evolve the expression of fine craftsmanship across each of its product categories: the pinnacle of luxury writing instruments, timepieces, leather goods, accessories, fragrances and eyewear. With every innovation, Montblanc offers new functionalities and groundbreaking designs imbued with the Maison’s heritage of sophistication and crafted to the highest standards through the skills of its artisans in each of its manufactures whether Hamburg, Germany for its writing instruments, the Swiss Jura in Le Locle and Villeret for its timepieces or Florence, Italy for its leather goods. Reflecting its ongoing mission to create fine lifetime companions born from the most pioneering ideas, the iconic Montblanc Emblem has become the ultimate seal of performance, innovation, quality and expression of style. With its origins deeply rooted in the culture of handwriting, Montblanc continues to assert its cultural commitment around the world with the creation of wide-ranging initiatives to promote arts and culture in many forms, while honouring the modern day patrons who support the advancement of the arts.
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