Rational reasoning is not a requirement for a stationery addict to buy inks, but personally there are some cues that will set the thought, “Oh, I need to get it.”  Pilot Iroshizuku Murasaki-Shikibu has one of those ticks:  The Tale of Genji.  It is a medieval Japanese classics, closely depicting the court life of the Heian Era.  The Tale‘s author, Murasaki Shikibu, was a court lady who lived in close proximity with all the power players in the court.  Some scholars speculated that The Tale is her memoir reflecting the passing of a better era.

Enough with the nerdy background, murasaki actually means purple in Japanese, so I was curious as to how Pilot encapsulates the essence of The Tale, as well as the enigmatic Lady Murasaki.  I believe in my previous posts I have expressed doubts on a luxury ink like Iroshizuku, but I cannot resist the temptation, so I settle with a sample of it.

From outside, Murasaki looks rather ordinary.

 Given the price of Iroshizuku, I somewhat expects miracles out of this ink.  It works well on normal printing paper, as seen below.  No feathering, no bleedthrough.

I am amazed on how nice of shading that this ink has, even for a Japanese fine nib.  I was afraid that it shares too much similarity with my cohort of purples, but it did not.  It resembles the lavender buds when they bloom, and it is a rather romantic color.  Very soft and feminine.  
Here comes the comparison.  It might come closest to J. Herbin’s violet, but violet has a bit more blue undertone than murasaki.  Compare to De Atramentis Magenta Violet and Mont Blanc’s Lavender purple, Murasaki is definitely a color of spring, almost suitable for Easter.  
Does it capture the transient beauty that Lady Murasaki intended to preserve in her work?  I believe so. The color itself is very soft and a color I can envision on a kimono.  In fact, if I remember correctly, some of the court ladies on The Tale of the Genji scrolls did wear similar color outfit.  
For those of you who are interested in the handscrolls of Tale of Genji, click here.
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2 thoughts on “Ink Review: Iroshizuku Murasaki-Shikibu

  1. Well, you have a sample of magenta purple. I can give you a sample of the Mont Blanc and J. Herbin. The latter did feather a bit. Now I am debating whether I should get a whole bottle of Murasaki… sigh…

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