Tamenuri reaches its apogee in fountain pens created by AP Limited Editions – stark in their simplicity, numinous as the ultimate truth.
Literally, the Japanese term “Kintsugi” translates to mean “golden joinery”. It is also, often, uttered as “Kintsukuroi”, which means “golden repairs”. On a very basic level, the art refers to the repairing of broken pottery by mending them with lacquer, often dusted or mixed with precious substances like gold or silver, incorporating methods that closely resemble that of maki-e.
But on a more profound, much deeper level, Kintsugi or Kintsukuroi are extensions of “Wabi-Sabi”, the Japanese worldview that stems on the acceptance of imperfection, of transience. This in turn stems from the Buddha teaching that the three marks of existence are suffering, impermanence and the absence of self-nature. Kintsugi thus relates to “Mushin” (literally, no mind) which carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, non-attached and equanimous, amid changing conditions. This poignancy, the aesthetic of existence, has been a characteristic part of Japanese art forms, providing their transcendental sense of purpose, their compassionate sensitivity.
A philosophy that Anuj Poddar of AP Limited Editions not only embraces, but celebrates with his every breath, with every new creation.
“It is not about the fountain pen” he had once told me. “It is not even about the art form that the particular pen sports, or the techniques that have been used to reach its level of perfection. It is the way – the joy of creation, of being one with the greater forces of being, of being one with one’s self, with nature that takes the story of AP Limited Editions further”. It is a Zen thing – an intuitive and meditative state that cannot be accessed either with ritualised worship or the study of scriptures.
That is perhaps why, Earthly rewards, like for example, the many Fountain Pen of the Year Awards, constituted by the Pen World Magazine, where winners are adjudged by the popular mandate, do not really excite Anuj Poddar beyond a certain point. The near unanimous obeisance that AP Limited Edition pens command from the connoisseurs and critics alike, too, are really not something that stimulates or motivates the man. The premium price tags that every pen proudly commands is, of course not a matter of contention and the sheer aesthetic beauty of the pieces, however many breaths they take away, is not the life force of his mission.
The Kintsugi moment for AP Limited Editions and the master behind it – Anuj Poddar – I realise, is in the journey itself. For, though he will not say it in so many words, the journey is not merely about creating the perfect pen, it is also about bringing the perfection back into the process of creation, in elevating the art of making the perfect fountain pen reach a higher plane, so that it can reinvent its purpose, it can be one with its soul, it can attain its potential and thereby fulfil some pre-ordained cosmic destiny. Inexplicable it may sound, but trust me, there is only one way of testing the veracity of what I say and that is to hold an AP Limited Edition pen in one’s hands and feel the bliss of a thousand suns breaking in the soul.
Anuj Poddar and AP Limited Editions, make many pens. Pens, that individually and collectively attain the apogee, the zenith of the art forms that they represent. It is not for nothing that the name is synonymous with the crest of lacquer art – be that Russian, Maki-e, Urushi, Sakura or Chinkin. For once, let us not venture into the heady world of AP Limited Edition’s Bespoke Fountain pens, which are too rare and too exotic- inhabitants of a higher domain even – to be discussed here, and focus on only one aspect of perfection this time around. Tamenuri.
Tamenuri is a unique form of Urushi lacquer art in which the base colour is “covered” by multiple subsequent coats of translucent natural Urushi gloss. A backbreakingly time consuming process, the magic of Tamenuri is unveiled over time, as, with use, the radiance of the base colour gradually breaks through the Suki-Urushi (the translucent layers), just as the colour pigments mature to reach their destined levels of brilliance: enlightenment of a celestial kind.
The Tamenuri pens in the AP Limited Edition line-up are among the finest in their class – having reached a level that is almost divine as an art form in terms of the sheer aesthetics, their stark simplicity. To describe the pens will be an exercise in futility, for they are embodiments of the truth that says, “It is only when the mind is freed of all clutter and the soul sheds all the embellishments of emotions that one progresses on the path towards the true light”. The “light” is there in the hidden recesses of every heart (read pen), hidden under layers: it is only with the guidance of a true master that the luminescence of self-realisation is attained, the ecstasy of enlightenment, released.
The sacred words of Buddha had travelled east to the land of the rising sun many eons ago where it had taken different forms, to be perfected, to reach its true potential, in the process, awakening the self of the world. Today, as the Tamenuri makes the return journey, it is a kind of a cycle completing itself as the world awaits the breaking of a new dawn of consciousness through the layers of Urushi applied under the guidance of Anuj Poddar.
For more information contact: https://aplimitededitions.com/
3 Replies to “Tamenuri from AP Limited Editions – the ecstasy of enlightenment”
A great article about AP’s new stuff. Informative and thought-provoking. Not BTW, hand-painting pens in the US was all the rage almost 100 years ago. Ca. 1926-1930, mostly in Chicago, Arts and Crafts-trained artists produced colorful pens
for Conklin, Grieshaber and Sheaffer. More recently, there were Krone and Kynsey, et al. My personal preference is for the stuff seen here, and works by (the Russian) Phoenix Lacquer Art, to say nothing of the Nakaya and Namiki maik-e.
This is an appreciated article about AP Limited Edition Pens as I had heard of the name and had seen online some of their fountain pens, but this is the first extensive, in-depth Review I have read. And what pleasurable learning about this prestigious brand! Thank You Anuj Poddar and Chawm Ganguly!
Exquisite. Each pen is a work of art.