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The Menuki Orphanage


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#1 Brian

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 05:43 PM

I have been meaning to do this for months now, and thought that while I had a few minutes, I would finally get it done.
What is the menuki orphanage? Well....most of us Nihonto collectors will have come across those single menuki we always seem to find in the bottom fo the drawer. Sometimes they are utilitarian, sometimes really nice. But they are always single menuki, missing the other half of the set. Even in Japan, I saw shops with boxesof single menuki (going for crazy high prices)

So the aim of this thread is for everyone to post pics of their single menuki, and to see if anyone out there can provide the matching half. Then you can either negotiate for one of you to buy the other one, trade something....or just put the fact to memory should you ever want to strike a deal.

Because menuki themes were often standard among many schools, you may have one that looks similar, but is far better or worse quality. Sometimes the materials or sizes are different. Just because your theme is similar, doesn't mean they are an exact match. But sometimes they are close enough for at least mounting purposes.

So for all those of you out there with single menuki..take some pics and post them here. This will be an ongoing thread. Unlike myself (who forgot) I do suggest at least adding rudimentary dimensions and info. And maybe a pic of the backs too if you like.
So here are 3 of mine that I have lying around here. The shishi shouldn't be too hard to match, although some I have seen lack some finer details.

Brian

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#2 Surfson

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 05:56 PM

Great idea Brian! I will have to take some photos of my orphans. I have a couple that are really very nice, and deserve to be paired up, at least mounted on a sword. We might have a fuchi-kashira orphanage as well, as they get separated even more readily than menuki. Cheers, Bob
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#3 Ian

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 06:34 PM

Fantastic idea Brian.

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#4 kusunokimasahige

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 07:00 PM

This raises a question. Were menuki always the same on both sides or did there exist pairs which were not symmetrical, not the same so to speak but still matching because of either a religious or legendary theme ?

I do like the idea of a Menuki Orphanage though :)

KM
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#5 John A Stuart

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 07:55 PM

Many, many that were thematic, but, notmirror images. Example; Goto Zenjo menuki. John

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#6 Brian

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 08:36 PM

The kabuto and armor thingy (see how well I know Japanese armour? :rotfl: ) above by Ian would also have gone well together, but I think it is the size difference that prevents a match. Let's see what others come up with.
Ian, do you have a clear close-up of that signed one...man and his dog?

Brian

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#7 Ron STL

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 09:30 PM

A few orphans from the midwest...Ron STL

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#8 Ian

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 09:38 PM

Here's another photo taken with my tablet.
I think it's Soten, made from inlaid iron.
The other is another poor orphaned water dragon, gives it's scale. :D

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#9 John A Stuart

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 09:48 PM

Don't you think it could be by 東山 Tosan, H10269.0 ?

#10 Brian

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 09:51 PM

Ron,
Pity...your shishi is the same one as this one...so both looking for the other side :)
http://www.ebay.com/... ... 19e6922ab6

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#11 dirk marshall

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 10:55 PM

IMG_0001.jpg I have a match I believe to the item posted by Nihonto-uk .

#12 ROKUJURO

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 11:10 PM

Excellent idea, Brian! Thank you!

One day, you might also want to start a FUCHI-KASHIRA orphanage, I have a few which wait for their respective counterpart.

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Regards,

Jean C.

#13 cuttingedge59

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 02:56 AM

Jean ,
Your fuji san menuki seems very similar to a fuchi that I have , how big is it in mm.
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#14 Ian

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 12:22 PM

Don't you think it could be by 東山 Tosan, H10269.0 ?


Nice :D

I have a match I believe to the item posted by Nihonto-uk .


I feel a trade coming on 8)

#15 IanB

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 12:38 PM

All, Somewhat off-thread, but relevant I think, is a tachi koshirae I bought at Christies what was supposed to be a 19th century copy of a Muromachi era ensemble. Since it was for was for display to show what a military tachi looked like, the fact that it was a copy and had no blade was irrelevant. Although it was catalogued and bought as a copy I have a feeling it just might be real. What I found interesting is that the hilt is bound with variegated braid in what is called katate maki style and has the menuki completely covered forming intriguing bumps on either side. Out of curiosity I had it X-rayed and found to my surprise one side is the common shoulderguard and riding whip motif, the other a helmet and sai hai. The X-ray also showed the gilding on both - in other words they were absolutely standard menuki. Perhaps the creator of the mount simply used a pair of menuki that was to hand, although he could have just as well used a couple of pieces of wood for all it mattered.
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#16 Akitombo

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 01:52 PM

2013_1222menuki0001.JPG Great idea,

Here are a couple.

Merry Christmas

David.N

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#17 ROKUJURO

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 05:22 PM

....Your fuji san menuki seems very similar to a fuchi that I have , how big is it in mm?....

Chris,

it is 62 mm long. I don't want to sell it, I was rather looking for completing a pair. Interestingly, I just learned from Barry that two completely different MENUKI may match as well!

Nevertheless, I would appreciate to see a picture of your FUCHI, if you and Massa Brian don't mind..
Regards,

Jean C.

#18 Brian

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 05:50 PM

The hardest part about the menuki orphanage is that everyone is going to want to complete their set, and no-one will want to sell their one :rotfl:
David...that shishi might go well with my one. What length is it, and are you willing to sell?

Brian

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#19 rkg

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 05:53 PM

Many, many that were thematic, but, notmirror images. Example; Goto Zenjo menuki. John


True Story.

I'm currently photographing some menuki that will show up in a future KTK catalog that are VERY different from each other (the primary is a silver/copper image of Fudo Myoo, the back side is a solid gold marker with a sanskrit symbol that stands for Fudo Myoo, and a nicely done lotus plant), though if you look at the backs you can tell from the residue that they were mounted together and I believe they were done by the same guy (though only the secondary piece is signed/dated).

Best,

rkg
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#20 Akitombo

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 08:18 PM

Brian

It is 1.5 inches long.

Would like to swap, perhaps a tsuba book????

Best to post you item first, good to have it in hand first, before you swap for that Yagyu tsuba in the drawer :D :lol:

David

#21 Adrian

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 10:20 PM

The hardest part about the menuki orphanage is that everyone is going to want to complete their set, and no-one will want to sell their one :rotfl:
David...that shishi might go well with my one. What length is it, and are you willing to sell?

Brian


This topic is an awesome idea, and I don't say this too often :D Should be VERY useful to a lot of people on the long run.

Maybe those who are also interested in selling their "orphan" menuki should be allowed to mention this (and perhaps a price, but only if they chose to) when they post? This seems like a good place to tolerate the "make me an offer" approach :D
Adrian

#22 Surfson

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 12:53 AM

Henk, to answer your question about identical menuki, I was taught that usually identical menuki are of much poorer quality. I have found that to largely be the case, and usually only focus on ones that are slightly different. I'm sure there are NMB members with examples to the contrary, but just thought I would tackle your question.
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#23 Mark

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 01:58 AM

here are ones I have. I am happy to sell any or to buy a match. I have some odd fuchi and kashira also

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#24 cuttingedge59

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 04:53 AM

Nevertheless, I would appreciate to see a picture of your FUCHI, if you and Massa Brian don't mind


Jean ,
Here it is , 38mm long with gold highlights and mt fuji in silver.
Was looking for matching menuki so if you ever want to sell plse may I have first option to buy.

Chris nz
mt fuji.jpg
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#25 Tanto54

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 04:48 AM

Dear Ian C. (Nihonto-uk),

I believe that two of your "orphaned" menuki may actually be matched (at least thematically). Did the two menuki pictured below come together or are their backs similar? From your photos, the style and materials look similar (but difficult to tell from the photos). A man in a fundoshi with a dog (cow herder) coupled with a woman with yarn (weaver) represent Tanabata - a festival/story about Orihime and Hikoboshi (the heavenly stars Vega and Altair) - lovers who are separated by the Milky Way so they can only meet once a year. The festival is celebrated in Summer and is a standard motif in antique Japanese arts.

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Regards,
George M.

#26 Ian

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 11:53 AM

Hi George
The man with the dog is iron, the Tanabata theme is shakudo and belongs with a man with a cow. The backs are very far apart.
Thank you for you thoughts though.

Merry Christmas

Ian

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#27 Nihontocollector19

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 10:00 AM

* Uploaded by admin, original pic too large *. Dimensions 1 3/4th

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#28 Brian

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 01:21 PM

Andrew,
You should get hold of Mark. At least one of his (Top left of Img065) might be a good match for yours. Need dimensions.

Brian

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#29 Nihontocollector19

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 11:13 PM

Another orphan menuki http://tinypic.com/r/fcl7ch/5 looking for a match for my buddy as a Christmas present not for sale

Andrew h


#30 Mark

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 04:32 PM

I found another, as with the others they are all available for sale if you have a match or I am happy to buy a matching menuki, it would be good to get items together

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