K'ANG-HSI is a fountain pen created by Olga Aloy whose style takes its inspiration from the armour worn by Manchu steppes horsemen in 17th century China, under the reign of the K’ang-hsi emperor, who brought his dynasty and his country to the heights of glory. Excellent mounted archers, these horsemen were grouped into “banners”, a term that designated a formation of ten men. They were one of the main military components in the policy of unification and defence of the emperor. Their armour was based on silk and metal facing pieces, while the wood of their bows was protected by natural lacquer. With lacquer for the silk and scales of real gold for the metal facings.

Several months of work went into the making of this pen. Once the base layers had been laid, the gold spots were applied one by one and then coated with a further layer of lacquer. Once dried in the “furo”, a traditional cupboard in which the degree of humidity is kept at 80% and the temperature at 23º, the lacquer was painstakingly sanded until the gold reappeared at the surface, before applying the next layer of lacquer. No fewer than 18 to 20 layers were needed to achieve the effect of the little spots appearing to emerge like gold pebbles just skimming the surface of the lacquer, and to lend the decoration that silky sensuality characteristic of natural craft lacquers.

At the ends of the pen, and set for Olga by a master jeweller, is some rock crystal, a stone said to favour meditation and induce calmness and harmony, which the Greeks called “krustallos” because they thought it was ice created by the gods. And finally the clip, in silver gilt, clasping the summit before slipping down the hood like an arrow. The shaft of the capillary conduit is likewise lacquered, to provide sensuality to the touch and ensure a good grip, while the nib is made of gold and rhodium (18 carats, 750/1000) for writing comfort.