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Hand-painted in China

Penne in porcellana dipinta Hand-painted by Chinese masters.
The Duke range is enriched with two new pens that combine fine materials, such as porcelain, with artist’s touch. In the most authentic Chinese tradition.


The first pen I’m telling you about, today, is made in hand-painted porcelain.
An authentic Chinese tradition began in VIII Century and reached its peak during the Ming Dynasty – who didn’t hear of precious Ming vases of porcelain? – in the city of JingDeZhen.

Porcellana disegno Autunno di Duke

The barrel of the Duke fountain pen I am presenting today is just from there, from central China, produced by the heirs of the potters who already seven centuries ago were able to create masterpieces never equaled in the West.
The connection to Chinese history doesn’t stop there. The pen is painted with three different subjects, each with a distinctive symbolic meaning:   Bamboo, Lotus and Autumn Melody.

Particolari disegno Bambu

Bamboo is a typical Asian plant , absent from Europe, used for many applications – including pens – and of enormous vitality. It symbolizes a long life in Chinese tradition. Remember that  bamboo leaves and shoots are the main food of the Chinese Giant Panda.
This reproduction of bamboo is essential, almost monochromatic, but with great elegance.


Particolari decorazione Melodia d'Autunno

From a bamboo cane you get the “fundamental sound” – a central element of Chinese music – which brings us to the second picture depicting the music: Autumn Melody.
A simple fairy nightingale voice – able to move to tears the Emperor of China, according to Hans Christian Andersen – is singing for us.
The nightingale is strained in the effort to sing, with their paws clutching a skeletal autumn branch.
All tones are warm, typically autumnal: yellow, terracotta red and brown.

Particolari pittura Fiore di Loto

Finally, the Lotus Flower; in Chinese culture it symbolizes a person of great talent and culture that has managed to rise above earthly weaknesses such as power, money and even reputation. An unconventional figure, also a little bit pessimistic, sung by many Chinese poets.
Here, overlooking the pale green and bright red of the petals, the bud of a lotus flower – supported by a long rough stem – dissociates from the other vegetation.

I personally never used a pen made of porcelain before, and the sensation is extremely pleasant.
The surface is slightly porous and the paint  imperceptibly changes the surface. The pen is “warm” to touch, and contrasts with metallic finishes and polished lacquered cap.

A simple red gem adorns the cap of lacquered brass. The nib, a unique grade, is 14Kt gold and there is also the Roller version of this pen.

Porcellana disegno Bambù di DukePorcellana disegno Fiore di Loto di DukeLa scatola delle penne di Porcellana di Duke

The pen, closed, is 140 mm long; opened, from 117 mm, to 162 mm with the cap posted back (fountain pen).
The diameter of the barrel of porcelain is 12 mm and the handle tapers from 10 to 8 mm in diameter.

All Porcelain Pens come packed in beautiful black lacquered wood boxes



Penne in cristallo di Duke

The feature of this second model of pens is certainly more extraordinary for the painting technique then for the materials.
The barrel, in pure crystal,  is painted …  inside!
A real reversal of perspective, and also of the sequence of drawing; working in reverse you have to paint the finer details first, then the colored areas, and only at the end the background.
The technique is definitely Chinese, rare and valuable, but it severely restricts the quantity of pieces that can be produced – a whole day’s work of a skilled artisan to produce one – and makes these pens a rare object.

Particolari pittura Tigre

Subjects are definitely Chinese too: Tiger and Fairy.
The Tiger is considered the king of animals in China and symbolizes a resolute person who is not afraid of obstacles.
Colors are vivid, as is the look of the tiger, very aggressive. The stripes of the coat gives a sense of motion to the tiger that seems ready to pounce on its prey.

Particolare pittura Fata

About the Fairy, you’ll be spoiled for choice among the dozens of Chinese fairy tales, all very delicate.
Here the shining Fairy emerges with golden glare from a dark background, and still decorated – never leave an empty corner.
It’s a pity that the picture on the box cover does not exactly reproduce the delicate fairy pen.

As the pens in porcelain are discrete and quiet, so these pens scream the personality of the owner. They’re designed to impress and communicate, not to be kept in the box – which is rather luxurious – but used and displayed in public; nobody will ask you to try them unless you’re faced with another Tiger or another Fairy like you.

The cap is made of brass, covered with celluloid. Trims are chrome-plated brass.
A nice  red coral ball decorates the tip of the cap, and a small sapphire, cabochon cut, adorns the clip.
The wave-shaped nib is made of 14 kt gold in a single M grade.

Cristallo paint Fairy by DukeCristallo paint Tiger by DukeCristallo paint Fairy lacquered wood box

The pen is 155 mm long when closed, open it’s 130 mm uncapped and 181 mm with the cap back.
The diameter of the crystal barrel is 15 mm; the handle tapers from 12 to 10 mm in diameter

Both crystal pens come packed in a luxury black lacquered wood box

All these fine pens are already available on International.pens.it, the foreign pens’ section in Giardino Italiano‘s website.


Giardino Italiano

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