We are all familiar with the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast – a young maiden is whisked away to a castle with a beastly figure, only to fall in love with him. This is a tale that goes back, in some iteration, for over 4,000 years and is, once again, interpreted for today’s audience. This time, with Montegrappa’s ambitious new pen, the Bijo-To-Yaju.
Designed in partnership with renowned designer and artist, London’s Royal College of Arts-trained Tomita Kazuhiko, this pen is an evocative objet d’arte that uses elements of Eastern and Western craftsmanship to create a truly unique writing instrument. Kazuhiko was inspired to create this pen after watching the 1946 La Belle et la Bête, directed by French artist and filmmaker, Jean Cocteau.
Every inch of real estate of this pen is a considered interpretation through various means of Eastern craftsmanship. It fuses elements of Japanese woodblock printing, Kabuki theatre and Kintsugi, the art of goldwork in Japanese artisan craft.
The woodblocking technique on the pen depicts various scenes of the fairytale on the body of the pen, including the merchant’s ship, the castle, the fateful rose and the loving couple wrap the length of its body. The barrel is decorated in vermeil using lost wax casting, a craft that has been used twice before in editions including Dragon (1995) and Kitcho (2021).
What we see with this edition is not a contrast of East and West, but a harmony in the design aesthetics of varying philosophies that have produced one of Montegrappa’s most beautiful pens to date. From the sculptural finial showcasing the beast’s head (a playful nod to the Kabuki tradition of lion’s being seen as heroes in theatre), to the pen stand being the beast’s body, it is a pen that is as much art for the desk as it is a fine writing instrument.
The limited edition itself consists of 222 fountain pens and 99 rollerballs. Fountain pens are fitted with 18K gold nib with ebonite feed with a piston-fill mechanism. A lacquered wooden case designed by Kazuhiko emulates the tiered roofs of Japanese medieval castles. Prices start at €4,950.