The Imperial Dragon, Royal Blue Dragon, Jade Dragon, Calligrapher, Hunter, General and the Emperor, these are the names of Montblanc’s latest High Artistry Limited-Editions, created to honour Kang Xi, one of China’s greatest emperors as well as the longest reigning. The seven designs are part writing instruments and part jewellery creations in an impressive display of the Maison’s artistry.
“With its High Artistry Limited-Editions, Montblanc pushes the boundaries of creativity and technical virtuosity to tell the stories of history’s great figures. Pairing the traditional expertise of the métiers d’arts nurtured for over 110 years with high precision technology and tools, Montblanc artisans transform fine materials into elaborate masterpieces that defy imagination.” – Montblanc
Kang Xi (1654 – 1722) was the second emperor in the Qing dynasty whose reign brought long-term stability and prosperity after years of war and chaos. An accomplished military strategist and general, he had a passion for tiger hunting, created the world’s largest royal gardens at the Mountain Resort in Chengde, repaired and extended the Grand Canal that linked the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, and he commissioned the Kangxi Dictionary, the standard Chinese dictionary during the 18th and 19th centuries.
During the Qing Dynasty, the dragon was one of the most valued imperial symbols and featured on everything, from the emperor’s clothing, to the court furniture and objects, and throughout royal palaces. The importance of this symbolism is highlighted by the three one-of-a-kind “Dragon” pens.
The Imperial Dragon occupies the length of the pen and is made of champagne gold and set with a full pavé of yellow diamonds and is inspired by the rich yellow silk of the emperor’s gown. In a tribute to the Emperor’s fascination for mechanical devices, the cap top features a mechanism that causes the dragon’s eyes to open and close depending on whether the pen is upright or laying down. In a reference to Kang Xi’s enthusiasm for Western astronomy, the design of the cone is inspired by an armillary sphere with a 6.42-carat square emerald-cut yellow diamond in a vivid yellow-orange colour. A 2-axis mechanism allows it to rotate freely at its centre. Thanks to a unique mechanism, the precious ornament can be detached and admired as a standalone jewel.
The Royal Blue Dragon is a masterpiece in blue and white gold. The pavé of blue sapphires on the cap and barrel contrast with the diamonds on the dragon encircling the fountain pen, as well as the white gold fittings. The armillary sphere in the cone features a brilliant 5ct white flawless diamond.
The Jade Dragon seems to float through the clouds in vibrant green jade against a scintillating pavé of white diamonds on the cap and barrel. A precious red 5.08ct ruby floats inside the axis mechanism in real gold, while the top of the cap is set with a pavé of diamonds.
The Hunter is also limited to just one piece and pays homage to the emperor’s lifelong passion for tiger hunting. The rare Grisaille enamel technique has been used on the cap and barrel to emulate the white and blue porcelain art depicting hunting scenes. The barrel is encircled by an archer’s ring made of jade, and the bottom half of the barrel is embellished with a majestic 3D hard-engraved tiger set with diamonds in pavé. The clip is shaped like a sceptre and is adorned with blue sapphires. The solid white gold fittings are enhanced with rows of brilliant diamonds. A dazzling 11.53ct blue sapphire is set at the base of the cone inside the axis design.
The Emperor, limited to just five pieces, feature cloisonné enamel to create the effect of painted landscapes in tones of yellows, greens, sand and gold. The cap top opens mechanically to reveal a miniature gold sundial. The gold cone tube is engraved by hand with a dragon, set with yellow diamonds and is topped with a 2ct diamond. The barrel ring features a dragon hand-carved in green Wyoming jade, while the rings and clip are embellished with a sprinkling of yellow diamonds.
The Calligrapher, limited to ten pieces, celebrates the ruler’s passion for literature and writing with a poem carved on the black jade cap and barrel of the fountain pen. A tiger’s head pattern in yellow sapphires and black rhodium coated gold adorns the barrel. The cap also features calligraphic engravings along with a white gold shield that can be opened. A yellow sapphire shines at the base of the cone, and two yellow sapphires shine on the clip shaped like a sceptre.
The General is limited to 89 pieces. The cap and barrel feature a distinctive pattern in yellow gold, reminiscent of the Emperor’s ceremonial suit of armour, which contrasts with the black PVD coated fittings. The lower barrel features birch onto which lotus plants designs have been delicately lasered. The barrel has an archer’s ring made of tiger’s eye, while the base of the cone has a yellow citrine cabochon. The summit of the pen features the Montblanc emblem in mother-of-pearl.
To complement the one and five-piece Limited-Editions, Montblanc has created a stationary book that matches the distinctive colours of each writing instrument. Each piece is hand-embroidered with the application of pearls, beads, an imperial seal inside and a portrait of Emperor Kang Xi himself.