Carved Pens

Whether you believe it or not, this is a Pilot knock-off. Name on the barrel is Pliot! The design of fan and origami in different views is masterly carved in to the urushi coating. For us, it is the band that really sets this pen apart.


The bori pictured below is huge with a huge nib. You don't see them every day.

This is an interesting design pen rarely seen. If you look closely is is red hard rubber. Went to a Japanese collector for Y26,000.

Usually, most kamakura bori seen for sale have sort of a mundane diagonal pattern of scalloped urushi. They're ok in and of themself and very desirable. Below are two pens with different designs.


The following three pens depict ukiyo-e type designs of a nude woman. All deftly carved into the urushi coating of ebonite bodied pens by a decent artist. The platform is believed to be a pen made by Well, as evidenced by name on the stainless steel nibs. The nib and feed design help date the pen to the early 1950s when they were, perhaps, made for the American GI market. It is of note the designs on two of the pens flow from the barrel to the cap. See how it crosses the band and the tree continues onto the cap. The third pen has seemingly unrelated designs on the barrel and cap and this may or may not be a mismatch. Regardless, it stands alone as a work of art.



Was absolutely certain this was plastic until looking at it very carefully with a 10X scope. It still might be plastic but, am leaning towards it being a natural material, perhaps horn.


Carved decoration of urushi lacquer over wood has been an important art form and cultural asset of Japan for over 1,000 years. To learn more about the history and place of carved urushi in Japanese society we direct you to Kamakura Bori Kaikan, where a history and description in English and photographs are provided. We are confident you will enjoy this site and come away with a fuller appreciation of this art.

1957 carved plum wood. Mt. Fuji on cap and cranes and pine tree only barrel. Part of a set in pawlonia box with dated dedication. The box on which it rests is from the Meiji era - late 1800s makie.


Circa 1925 kibori tsuishu kamakura-bori. Kamakura-bori commonly refers to pens with scalloped cut-outs in the barrel sometimes seen on eBay and elsewhere. However, real kamakura bori is crafting of a carved design or decorative pattern, as the crane on this pen. The theme of this design is known as matsu ni tsura, or crane and pine trees.There are at least 18 layers of urushi lacquer applied to the ebonite cap and barrel. The design is carved through the urushi and into the ebonite demonstrating how the reddish (tsuishu) layers create the design. Pen is signed. (photo courtesy Jim Mamoulides)


Late 1930s Popura. A small maker, they produced high quality decorated pens before World War II. After the war, their production mainly consisted of mass produced pens of mediocre to average quality. Always watch to see if the nibs are gold as it usually means the pens are of a better quality. This is a familiar pine tree and mountain design that implies good fortune. Red urushi on ebonite barrel and cap. (photo courtesy Jim Mamoulides)


Mid-1930s. One carved design over-layed on the other. Nib marked MORGAN is only identification. Design is carved through the urushi and ebonite.