British heavy metal legends IRON MAIDEN will release an exclusive limited edition collectors box of their upcoming studio album, Senjutsu, which will be available for Fan Club members only. Only 2021 copies of the box were made, and they will go on sale this Friday, August 13. The boxes are priced at 333GBP / 400EUR / 450USD and will be strictly limited to one per person.
The boxes will be released in two batches via the FC shop in order to give people in different time zones a fair chance to order. The first batch will go live at 10 AM, BST, and the second batch will go live at 5:30 PM, BST. They will appear at this location.
You can also pre-order Senjutsu via Amazon here.
With less than 24 hours to go ahead of the pre-order for the Limited Edition Collectors Box, here are a little more details on what makes them so unique:
As you’ll know by now, the Limited Edition Collectors Box contains an illustrated print inspired by Japan’s ukiyo-e tradition by Masumi Ishikawa who also worked on two previous original Maiden art pieces in 2016. His other collaborations include Star Wars, David Bowie, and KISS.
Born in Japan in 1978, Masumi became a disciple of master artist Utagawa Toyokuni VI in 2000, but due to Utagawa Toyokuni VI’s sudden passing he has continued to pursue the Utagawa aesthetics on his own, a style with deep roots. The Utagawa school was the largest ukiyo-e school of its period founded by Utagawa Toyoharu in the middle of the 18th century. According to the Mitsui Agency, who provided the services of Mr Ishikawa, there aren’t any artists dedicated to just ukiyo-e. Although contemporary ukiyo-e are being produced today, a lot of them are not in the typical aesthetic that can be found in historical works from the Edo period and Meiji era, which makes Masumi something of a rising star, but if you think you know what’s coming then guess again. Unlike the two Iron Maiden ukiyo-e pieces created in 2016, which depicted Eddie having time-travelled to the Edo period and for which the band showed great appreciation, you can expected something very different when the FC Exclusive box arrives. As Masumi explains, “with this specific Samurai Eddie request in mind, I personally wanted to create something with a different mood than the two previous works by using different colour schemes. The pattern used on Eddie’s attire is a pattern that is often used in musha-e (a genre of ukiyo-e that depict samurai warriors), which I occasionally use in artworks myself. After much trial and error as to how I should design Eddie into this work, this was the pattern I decided to use in the end.”
The finished piece will also include three Japanese words:
「穢行銘傳 Phonetically, these characters spell out, ‘Iron Maiden’, and mean, ‘works of Darkness.’ There is also the drawing of an actual iron maiden torture device next to them.
「壊泥」 Phonetically, these spell out, ‘Eddie,’ literally meaning, “a dirty/stained person who crushes or destroys.’
One thing you will not see is the Japanese symbol of death which present on Eddie’s breastplate on the cover of Senjutsu. Japanese symbolism exerts a strong influence on Japanese culture, Mr Ishikawa refused to use it because he deemed it too intense to be used.
The Tsuba: The Hilt Of A Samurai Sword
An object of much speculation and curiosity is the tsuba, which is the removable sword mounting and hand guard of a samurai sword, but as with so much in Japan there’s more to it than that. Usually round, occasionally square, and essential to the balance of these legendary weapons, the tsuba at its most basic level protects the hand from sliding onto the sword blade, and from attack, and its history goes back nearly 2,000 years. It was only relatively more recently though, during Japan’s Sengoky period (1467-1615) that these items seemed to take on greater significance, becoming more ornate during the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1600), and by the Edo period (1603-1868) they became nothing less than an art form in and of themselves.
Initially tsubas were made of iron but over the years they came to include a wide variety of alloys, brass, bronze, silver and gold, and featured a wide variety of motifs from dragons to pagodas to more natural themes like leaves, and flowers.
A Toe-tally Awesome Dragon…
In designing the tsuba for this FC exclusive, Mark drew inspiration from the red Japanese symbol for ‘death’ that he had used on Eddie’s breastplate to create the basic form of the tsuba and wrapped a traditional Japanese dragon around it. The dragon head is taken from the samurai sword hilt Eddie carries, but there’s more to the dragon than that.
In Japan, dragons are water deities associated with rainfall and bodies of water, and are consequently often depicted as serpentine creatures with three claws on each foot and no wings.
The reason why Japanese dragons only have three claws is because Japanese people believe Eastern dragons originated in their native homeland and grew toes as they moved North. Comparatively, Chinese folklore presents the opposite story, whereby dragons originated from China and lost toes the farthest away from China they went.
This particular dragon has three toes: just one facet which is indicative of the huge level of care, historical accuracy, and attention to detail that makes the Limited Edition Collectors Box so very special.
The box will contain the following items:
– The CD digipak version of Senjutsu
– The Blu-Ray digipak of “The Writing On The Wall”, including a making-of video and sleeve notes
– A decorated board portfolio containing the following:
* A Japanese hanko-style Eddie stamp, made of teak and engraved, in an engraved teak case
* An exclusive Mark Wilkinson print, signed and stamped by the man himself
* A unique artwork print in Japan’s Ukiyo-e tradition illustrated by Masumi Ishikawa, who previously created 2 pieces of Iron Maiden ukiyo-e works
– An Eddie lenticular
– A Japanese-style tsuba – a decorated metal sword hilt typically worn by the Samurai
– A Senjutsu Eddie pendant necklace
– A printed canvas banner with wooden ends
– And last but not least, a certificate of authenticity presented in an envelope inspired by Japanese celebratory Shugi Bukuro envelopes and featuring an intricate bow: a mizuhiki.