Genuine Urushi is like pure gold, only for fine jewelry. and pure gold is too expensive for cheap works with cheap materials.
This pen size is Mikado, which is a larger pen and is fitted with an ebonite feed and a size #8 18kt gold nib. The nib grades available are Fine, Med, Broad or Stub. This pen fills via eye dropper. Here is a link to Danitrio to see how the eyedropper works for their pens.
Sakurakawa, bark of Sakura (Cherry Tree) look painted with Sabi-urushi, which is Urushi mixed with finishing powder to be able to stabilize the raised part of the designs.
In this case, Sabi-Urushi is used to make the surface Sakura bark look by the Maki-e shi, Masanori. Look very carefully at trim and you will see little gold heart shape pieces were pasted by hand on the center and on the clips. Very fine work indeed.
The base for Urushi paintings must be smooth and strong in order to have a good Urushi painting, which will last thousands of years. When the base is ready for painting, the first painting uses Sabi, Urushi mixed with polishing powders, as its base painting and call it Shita-nuri, the base painting. Then, Naka-nuri, the interim painting with Urushi is preparing for better Uwa-nuri, the finishing part of painting. The color of the interim painting has to be selected according to the color of the finishing part of painting. All these works are usually done by Nu-shi, craftsmen of Urushi paintings, painting 7 times in average and it takes 2-3 weeks before the Nu-shi can send back the pens to our Maki-e sh, who will do more Urushi painting works or Maki-e onto the pens.
Good basic paintings start with base painting, which the craftsmen paint twice or three times with Urushi mixed with finishing powders to make the base hard and durable. This is then followed up by the interim paintings which is done by one or two layers in preparation for finishing the painting.
There is no 100% transparent Urushi. The clearest Urushi still has a light brown or amber color. The interesting thing with Tame-nuri is when the transparent Urushi is painted over the color Urushi, the color will change because this transparent Urushi is NOT 100% transparent like man-made “Urushi” which is 100% clear.
The translucent Urushi has to be made with Japanese Urushi, because Urushi from China or Vietnam are all black when they sap from the trees and they can never be refined to be Suke-Urushi to be used for the basic paintings.
SAK-2E Sakura Bark –nuri on Mikado Red MSRP $2400