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The Japanese concept of Wa is best understood in one word — harmony.
In its most traditional sense, it is the principal of order applied at the social and familial levels. Beretta, however, has employed the principal of Wa in a slightly different way.
Using the concept as its guiding light, the world’s oldest firearms manufacturer set out to find congruence between Eastern and Western craftsmanship, art and functionality, convention and modernity. The results, well, simply breathtaking.
The Izumi Project took five years to complete, in doing so created a truly one-of-a-kind SO6 EELL Shotgun and Samurai Tanto dagger.
The artist at the center of the project is perhaps the most consequential Japanese sword engraver alive today — Izumi Koshiro. The master engraver integrated a fair amount of his traditional background — not just in technique, but also theme — in ornamenting the amazing Beretta over/under.
The firearm is adorned with a dragon motif, a mythological creature revered in Eastern cultures as a symbol of strength and good fortune. The dragons on the shotgun, according to Beretta's website, are meant to provide power and protection to its owner and his family.
Whether good fortune will shine down upon the eventual owner of the ornate SO6 EELL is yet to be determined. But, they will most likely count themselves among the lucky when reflecting upon the three hand engraved and gold inlaid dragons on the firearm's receiver.
On the right side is a sea dragon surrounded by waves, the left is a celestial dragon in the clouds, and on the bottom is another sea dragon emerging from the water into the sky. The dragons are each chasing a dragon ball, the symbolic “sacred pearl” of wisdom. On the gun it is depicted as a gold sphere.
As can be easily seen, the engraving is a break from that traditionally found on shotguns. And the accompanying dagger is equally exquisite and unique. Also following the dragon motif, the edge weapon is the creation of five Japanese sword masters.
The SO6 EELL itself is one of Beretta’s premier shotguns. The side-lock has a low-profile receiver and vault-like cross-bolt locking system. The line of shotguns uses top walnut briarwood, hand selected for color tone and sturdiness. The shotgun's wood to metal joints are hand cut to give them a seamless and superb fit.
The Izumi Project's SO6 EELL comes not only with the custom dagger, but also a wooden box. The box features a dragon on it lid and was designed and crafted by David Linley of London. It also has a secret drawer that stows a cleaning kit.
Of course, if this beautiful gun has stolen your heart, you better start putting away your nickels and dimes. While there was no price listed on the Beretta site for the Izumi Project, it is has been reported that its price is well over $100,000.
Guess that comes with the one-of-a-kind territory.