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SerpenteTwo exclusive pens to sign our destiny.
Starting from the recent pens’ productions of two major brands –  Visconti and Caran d’Ache – we’re speaking of “real” dragon and snakes, in Eastern and Western mithology and culture; why they’re depicted on daily use objects, and which is their meaning.

Of all mythological creatures, the dragon is surely the best known. Virtually every culture in the world has its dragon myths, and countless stories have been told of its origins, history and of its defeat at the hands of dragon slayers. Early references to dragon-like creatures turn up in Babylonian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Japanese accounts, as well as in classical Greek and Roman sources.

In many of these the dragon described is not a symbol of evil, but often a goodwish creature, a great serpent that represents the primal matter of creation itself, or the life-giving waters of Ocean. In this context, its wings are described as sending forth the air, which is the breath of life. Therefore, the dragon is seen as a messenger of the sky gods.

It is without doubt in China that the dragon achieves its most complex mythological and symbolic status. Here it represents the highest spiritual power and is emblematic of the representatives of such power on Earth. That’s why, in China, Dragons are said to influence every aspect of life and in its context are one of the 12 symbolic creatures of the Zodiac.

It is not by chance that February 12th 2012 – the day marking the beginning of the lunar year of Water Dragon – celebrations for Chinese New Year were outstanding and charged with extra symbolic value as the Year of the Dragon was pregnant with action and progression and promised the mystery and challenge of the unforeseen for humankind. Bearing ever more importance, not only the effigy of the dragon was played with engraving on objects of common use to protect the house and family, but also on jewels and precious personal objects to be worn in particular occasions as a symbol of fertility, success and farewell.

A beautiful example of this kind of objects is the fountain pen, worldwide used to sign our most intimate social expression of individuality – the signature – upon contracts and important documents as a guarantee of our will to fulfill future deeds, honor obligations and promises, or to testify we have already accomplished them in the past.

Dragon1That’s the reason for, in Eastern perspective, using a pen bearing the effigy of the dragon, calling upon us good luck as the ink flows on the paper in the creative act of writing, can be considered an act of magic and spirituality at once.


Visconti: Dragon

A masterfully successful specimen of these rare objects is by Italian Visconti, producing jewellery pens thanks to the mastery of the best Florence goldsmiths. Fountain pen “The Dragon” is a masterpiece whose production is limited to 888 vermeil pens plus 38 pens in 750 old gold equipped with a 23 kt 950 Palladium nib and double reservoir filling system.
Its body is made in black natural resin and finely decorated with multicolored lacquer obtained on multiple layers and adding lacquered filegree and fine carvings to represent the dragon in its most classical shape, paying respect to ancient Chinese texts.


The Dragon shows red and orange colors – red is the symbol of good luck – and is represented as a hybrid being of different animals described like that: “The dragon’s horn resemble those of a stag, his head is that of a camel, his eyes those of the demon, his neck that of the snake, his belly that of a clam, his scales those of a carp, his claws are those of an eagle, his soles those of a tiger, his ears those of a cow.

Sticking to the original nature of the Chinese dragon described as above, Visconti’s goldsmiths represented it on the pen in its natural element, the sky, surrounded by softblueish clouds as a symbol of the Air and vital breath.


The Dragon comes in a black laquered wooden box and dragon display.

The Visconti Dragon fountain pen is available in Giardino Italiano

Nonetheless, every symbol holds its peculiarities and therefore one should deeply investigate its nature before making use of it: to fully enjoy the protection of Chinese animals, remember the dragon cannot be held apart from the Snake.

February 10th 2013 officially gave start to the Chinese Year of the Black Snake, soon after the moon entered the Aquarium.
The Snake stands as a symbol of the earthly Dragon and the two – the first coming just after the second in the Chinese horoscope in the 12-animal sign system – are opposed and complementary.

Snake1The Dragon is a Yang animal, embodying strength and action, outcome and transparency; the Snake is a Yin animal instead. Enigmatic, intuitive, introspective and refined the Snake symbolizes secrecy, privacy, and wisdom.

These, applied to the different spheres of writing, will have different influences on the outcome of your intents. You can intuitively understand which of the two aspects of the dragon (the heavenly Dragon or the earthly Snake) should call for good luck, depending on your purpose in writing.

Caran d’Ache: Year of the Snake

And insisting on the subject, another spellbinding creation – dedicated to the Black Snake of Chinese calendar 2013 – cannot be ignored: Caran d’Ache, Maison de Haute Ecriture, created a writing tool resuming a subtle blend of art and culture resulting in “Year of the Snake 2013” as part of the Artiste Collection.
That’s a limited edition produced in 888 fountain pens and 888 roller pens.

The recurrence of number 8 is not fortuitous: 8 stands for balance and the end of a cycle, so number 888 wants to recall fortune and changing fate.
Pens dedicated to black Snake could only be made in a glossy black-colored body. Caran d’Ache master goldsmiths made them adhering to the strict criteria of Chinese Lacquer technique, applying a delicate lacquering procedure, combining ancient tradition and modern advanced technologies.


The lacquer is spread out by hand in successive fine layers, and the last one is gently polished, giving the pen the brilliant deep reflections of a piece of jewellery. Then, a Snake wrapping itself sinuously around the shining black body of the pen is hand-drawn in gold. The pen comes in a valuable box, also containing the Authenticity Certificate Chinese Lacquer and the Limited Edition Certificate.

The Year of the Snake pen, by Caran d’Ache, is available in Giardino Italiano


“Movements, objects, speech, and words: we communicate through gross symbols”, the Tao says. Everything which is expression of ourselves contributes to determine our future.


Simona Gauri
per Giardino Italiano

2 Responses to “Dragons and snakes”

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