What was Egyptomania?
The dictionary defines Egyptomania as follows: Obsessive interest by westerners in ancient Egyptian culture, especially during the 19th century. The interest was sparked during this time by two things, the first being Napoleon Bonaparte's campaign in Egypt from 1798-1801, the second being the increased and exhaustive scientific study of ancient Egyptian remains and culture that was a direct result of his campaign. Egyptomania is not necessarily a good thing although some good came out of it, a lot of appropriation of the "exotic" and foreign culture came off as exploitation, especially when looked at through a lens of the present.
The most foreign elements were taken and obsessed over in the world of wealthy Europeans, the clothing was taken, Cleopatra was fetishized for being a strong leader who happened to be female, the Egyptian gods and burial practices were unfamiliar and thus fetishized as well leading to mummies becoming a part of horror cinema, not to mention songs like "Walk like an Egyptian" that referenced hieroglyphs and made a dance out of them. Egyptomania didn't just result in a mass cultural appropriation, it also led to some important scientific discoveries and mysteries like: the pyramids, hieroglyph writing systems, papyrus sheets, black ink, ox-drawn ploughs, irrigation, calendars, surgical instruments, and mummification to name a couple. The history of Egyptomania is one of great discovery but also one of appropriation, just keep this in mind as it is important to remember what has happened in the past. That's enough of a history lesson for one day, onto the pen.
Appearance & Packaging:
The pens come in very bright, eye catching boxes that utilize a pattern of diagonal boxes in colors that were commonly used in hieroglyphs. The red is said to symbolize life but can also symbolize evil and destruction, the blue represents birth and the heavens, and the yellow was used for the skin color of the gods. In the middle of this pattern is what I believe to be a Cartouche or name plate and was commonly thought to provide protection against evil spirits in this life as well as the after life. Other than that bit of design the box is virtually the same as the box for a 146, cream colored velvet like material to protect the pen from scratches on the inside.
The actual pen is close in size to the Rouge Et Noir collection and like that collection, the pens don't post. I am quite fond of the "vintage" look this pen has and is something I would imagine to be on the desk of a museum curator or Indiana Jones.
The base model of this pen is black with an octagonal barrel, weathered looking trim and a small stamp next to the clip with the Egyptian name plate design, the snow cap is engraved on the top in lieu of the resin ones seen on other Montblanc models. The solitaire gets a little more interesting with a partially sterling silver barrel with hieroglyphs engraved on it and bares the same small stamp and engraved snow cap. Both pens have a small scarab at the end of the clip which really ties the design together.
My favorite design element of the pen is all to do with the nib which I feel they really did well on this pen but I'll talk more about that in the next section! Enough with design, onto the actual nib and performance!
Nib & Performance:
The nib is definitely my favorite design element on this pen because I think they really hit it out of the park, It features a scarab with its wings out which is a symbol of rebirth and renewal. All the space on the nib seems to be distributed evenly making it feel balanced and not really cluttered despite the detailed stamp of the Beatle.
Like the other heritage collection, the nibs have a triangular breather hole which I feel gives the nib a unique look. The nib is 14k gold and writes pretty well, very smooth and almost no feedback which is always nice. I was able to write with a medium nib which I felt was a little more on the fine side in terms of how Montblanc nibs usually write so keep in mind that in my experience these tend to run a little thinner than normal. The nib has good ink flow and did not have a problem keeping up with faster writing and initial signing. Overall the pen performs well, as it should at this price. With that out of the way let's move onto some pros and cons.
- Very nice nib design
- Satisfying weight and length in the hand
- Cool threading at the end of the section
- Piston filler
- Skinny and slightly slippery section. ( some people may not like it).
- Base model may be a little toned down for some in terms of design
- On the expensive side for what it is
Price & Conclusion:
Being a Montblanc pen, it is not going to be inexpensive, the base model (black with no silver) clocks in at $900 while the solitaire (silver hieroglyphics) clocks in at $1,200. While this is on the high end it is to be expected with a luxury brand like Montblanc and I don't feel the price is out of the question. The tie in between Egypt and all they've done for the history of writing and recording things on paper with an iconic pen brand like Montblanc really is nice to see. After all, Egypt did have quite a unique writing system as well as making their own early form of paper called papyrus! Overall this pen and collection is very interesting and is just nice from a historical aspect as well, I just wish the pen came with Hieroglyphic writing lessons! Check these pens out on the Pen Boutique website and remember, enjoy & keep writing!