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Viper6924

Woodblock print with matchlocks!

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Here is a rare example of a Japanese gunnery manual much like if not the same one I am posting pictures from. There are several good zoomable images from the book on the Bonhams site.

 

Fine Japanese Art London, New Bond Street

16 May 2013 14:30 BST

Auction 21101

Sold for £1,250 (US$ 2,140) inc. premium

http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/21101/lot/458/

 

After Inatomi Ichimu (1552-1611), late 17th/early 18th century. A hojutsu sho (gunnery manual book), painted in ink, colour and gold on paper, bound in orihon format, titled Meate no okite (Rules for Targets) from a set of eleven volumes called Ichiryu Ippen no sho, written by Inatomi Ichimu, the founder of the Inatomi School of Gunnery, illustrating the shooting points of targets and explaining the changes according to the distance and direction the gunner takes, the targets depicted include a diverse variety of subjects: birds, insects, animals, arrows, grass, a warrior, rock clouds and bamboo, each beautifully rendered by a Kano-School painter,with okugaki (postface) written originally by Ichimu, inconsistently dated 1606/1607. 25cm x 21.1cm (9 7/8in x 8 3/8in).

 

The complete set of the books is in the collection of Gakushuin University Library. Inatomi Ichimu (whose real name was Sukenao), was a gunnery expert employed by feudal lords such as Hosokawa Tadaoki (1563-1646), Matsudaira Tadayoshi (1580-1607) and Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), as the founder of the Inatomi School which was one of the best gunnery schools in Japan. He wrote many gunnery manuals. It appears that the work was never printed but was copied many times over several generations. Judging by the style of the front cover and the paintings, this copy may date from the late 17th/early 18th century.

 

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Here is something interesting, seen by us the images from Japanese gunnery manuals sometimes seem far fetched but when you compare them to a similar European image your perspective can change.

 

 

An illustration from Inatomi-ryu teppo densho (The secrets of shooting with guns of the Inatomi School), 17th century, shown over a very similar European illustration from Ezekial Baker's "Remarks on Rifle Guns" (1823) demonstrating the back or supine position.

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Good afternoon Eric,

 

I wonder if there is something of a cross fertilization between the European manuals and Japanese.

 

i.e. the Japanese having sight of European gunnery manuals (Slight pun intended) :roll:

 

During the latter part of the Edo period the Dutch sold more than 10,000 foreign books on various scientific subjects to the Japanese from Deshima Island.

 

These became the basis of knowledge of the wider World and a factor in the Rangaku movement (Dutch studies).

 

Just a thought

 

Cheers

 

Malcolm

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I think that's a modified Creedmore position, and is likely a natural progression of attempting long range fire.

http://www.researchpress.co.uk/longrang ... sition.htm

In this case, the design of the Japanese gun makes it appear slightly more feasible than the Western illustration with the typical stock design.

 

Brian

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Dear Eric, Malcolm, Brian,

Yes, ... that is the " Back Position " often referred to as the " Creedmoor Position " used in long range target shooting competitions. It seems to have died out shortly after the Creedmoor competitions of the late 1870's and the Standard Prone Position ( shooter lays flat on stomach with rifle supported on elbow bent hands and rifle butt stock to shoulder ). I am not sure the old Creedmoor Position is even allowed any longer under the Competitive Shooting Rules. I know, ... that I never seen it used during the time I was Competitive Shooting back in the 1960's and we shot out to 1000 yards.

The observation of Malcolm that at least some of the Japanese Gunnery Manuals were copies or strongly influenced by European Manuals is possibly the case but this so far is unproven.

Attached below is a Newspaper's illustration done at the Creedmoor Competition of I believe 1874 showing the Creedmoor Position. I would have to agree with Brian that the design of the Japanese Matchlock lends itself much better to this position than the European style firearm.

Also note the position of the Elevation Sight on the rear buttstock of the rifle of the fellow using the Creedmoor Position as compared to the Elevation Sight on the breach end of the rifle being used by the fellow shooting in the Standard Prone Position.

 

I notice that Inatomi Ichimu worked in the early 1600's. In point of fact the Inatomi Manual would seem to predate the European illustrations AND earliest descriptions ( being 1776 apparently ) of the " Back Position ". Now that is interesting !

 

... Ron Watson

 

Note : Since originally posting the above, ... I had surmised that Malcolm would be correct in thinking the Japanese borrowed from European Shooting Manuals. Further research on my part might actually indicate the reverse may have be the case ... and if that were true, ... it might also be possible that the Europeans borrowed the idea of the Elevation Sight from the Japanese ?? This however I doubt as the Elevation ( ladder ) rear sight was not of any real use until the advent of the RIFLED barrel and the rifled barrel most definitely was not in use by the Japanese prior to it being introduced to Japan post 1853. Someone is bound to note that the first European rifled barrels appeared in 1540 ( Germany ) but they did not come into any general use until much much later.

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Malcolm and Ron, there is a book which agrees with both of you in that it states that these images may not be entirely accurate (as Ron stated) due to the desire of individual schools of gunnery to keep certain aspects of their teaching secret (as Malcolm stated). So we have the possibility that certain images are just fantasy, or that they have been purposely drawn in a way that would fool the uninitiated, or that we just do not understand what is being represented in some illustrations. The book "Recreating Japanese Men" has quite a long discussion on these books, you can read some pages of it here (pages 32-36), from pages 36-44 there is an interesting discussion on guns in Japan during the Edo period. http://books.google.com/books?id=QqSSAYSig78C&pg=PA32&lpg=PA32&dq=Inatomi+Ichimu&source=bl&ots=yUWHy6FsyO&sig=nsOFkDE-yNuZ8y4QL_e91hvqvYs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ll7IU9GjB4fP8wHp3oHIBQ&ved=0CFUQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=Inatomi%20Ichimu&f=false

 

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Dear Eric,

Thank you for the posting especially the link to the pages in the book ... " Recreating Japanese Men ". I read and re-read it several times. I like to make sure I miss nothing that can aid in my studies. And, ... as an added bonus you got us ( me ) back on the track of the original thread being Prints featuring the Matchlock.

 

... Ron Watson

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It may help to analyze the term Hidensho 秘伝書 ひでんしょ

 

HI 秘 - ひ - Secret - Conceal

 

DEN 伝 - でん - Transmit - Go along - Follow - Report - Communicate - Legend - Tradition

 

SHO 書 - しょ - Write

 

I have heard there are instances in both Japanese Arts and Martial Arts where the phrase "Hidden in plain sight" is used.

 

Cheers

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Dear Eric,

Thank you for the posting especially the link to the pages in the book ... " Recreating Japanese Men ". I read and re-read it several times. I like to make sure I miss nothing that can aid in my studies. And, ... as an added bonus you got us ( me ) back on the track of the original thread being Prints featuring the Matchlock.

 

... Ron Watson

Ron, it seems that the gunnery manuals were not actually wood block prints, each was individually hand drawn from what I have read, the images I have seen range from very primitive to incredibly detailed, the quality and content depended on ones status in a particular school and wealth. There are actually very few prints that show matchlocks at all, only a handful really, one book that was pointed out to me recently has some of the best prints showing matchlocks in use "Budōgeijutsu hiden zue shohen" (武道芸術秘伝図會 初編), by Masatomi Ōmori and Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1855, the title roughly means "martial arts secret view", maybe someone can do a better job on the title. http://heartland.geocities.jp/hamasakab ... b2802.html

 

One image from the book in particular caught my eye, it shows a mounted samurai pointing a matchlock pistol at another mounted samurai who appears to be holding up a small shield as a defense, which would be the first use of a hand held shield I have seen in any Japanese print. Any opinions on whether this print is actually showing a hand held shield.

 

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Eric, That print comes from the book illustrated by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Whether such a shield was ever used I just don't know - I have never seen one. The Royal Armouries used to have a large standing shield, like a European pavaise, of heavy iron plates sugake laced together and fitted with a bar that locked it open and another that formed a prop at the back. Sadly I never saw it in the flesh nor indeed saw a photo of it because it was sold off in the 1960's or 1970's when the Museum had to raise money for an English great helm that had surfaced on the market. I know that Russell Robinson intended to relace it but couldn't find a supplier of braid big enough. It then passed through the hands of a dealer in London and I believe it finally came to rest in Texas. Where it is now I do not know, the collector / dealer in Texas who I think had it passed away fairly recently and the family didn't say anything about what happened to his collection.

Ian

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Eric, That print comes from the book illustrated by Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Whether such a shield was ever used I just don't know - I have never seen one.

Ian, several years ago I saw this small hand held shield for sale in Japan, it is the only one I have seen but it would work much like the one in the print. I suppose that if you were facing a pistol wielding opponent at close range and you were not prepared to fire back, something like this thick iron shield might actually stop a bullet, of course I have no idea how old or authentic this shield is.

 

zshield3.jpg

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Gents, Sorry to come into this conversation a bit late and I know it has moved on a bit...but back to long range sights...

 

Is it possible that so few of the detachable sights exist because they were simply bamboo (or similar) and have rotted away a long time ago?

 

Could it have been that the individual musketeers would have known how to make these sights when necessary and would simply throw them away when not required - which might have been most of the time?

 

Essentially along the same lines as moving the flint a degree or 2 to the left or right on a flintlock if it is not sparking well - you don't see this instruction / suggestion written down often. To the musketeer this would have been obvious, but to the modern target shooter whose life does not depend upon it - less so?

 

Just a thought..

 

It strikes me looking at the pictures demonstrating how to use the long range sights...might of been drawn by an artist who was not that familiar with guns, and / or is copying other text and drawings ...as, as discussed they are just plain wrong....Obviously taken out of context and with my inability to read the Japanese annotations I can't be certain...comments?

 

Has anyone tried making a long range rear sight recently? as I might have a go at making one to see how easy it is and am interested in suggestions with the fixing point to the rear sight.

 

Best regards,

 

Jon

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Dear Jon,

I am not positive what the Japanese Matchlock Elevation Sights were manufactured from. I assume brass, as bamboo would probably have been too flimsy to have stood up to use.

Yes, ... I agree unless the Japanese were incorporating some secret code into their shooting manuals, ... many of the illustrations are just not correct and make little or no sense.

Long range Elevation Sights are generally purchased by the individual for long range target shooting. The simplest are what are called Creedmoor Elevation Sights and are employed NOT FOR SERIOUS target shooting ( as they have no adjustment for Windage but ONLY Elevation ). These are purchased by people wanting to do historical re-enacting. ( see first photograph below ). Serious long range target shooters use a type of elevation sight that also incorporated adjustment for windage as well as elevation ( see second photograph ). The elevation sights are generally attached as far back on the gun as possible ... generally on the breach rather than the barrel ... actually so far back from the barrel as to be behind the Action of the firearm ( see third photograph ), .... whereas the Japanese attached their elevation sight to the rear barrel sight as an accessory. There is usually a horizontal hole thru the rear sight or sometimes a slot arrangement for attaching the elevation sight to this rear sight.

... Ron Watson

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Hi Ron,

 

Thanks for the post :) I'm very familiar with muskets and rifles up to Circa 1862 as I own and shoot my original guns internationally - flint rifle, musket and percussion rifle etc

 

The Japanese muskets are somewhat of an anathema to me (although I'm just about to start shooting mine - first outing on Sunday morning), though a lot of my friends shoot them to a high level....

 

I'm not really familiar with Japanese culture but it almost seems the same, but very different if you know what I mean!! :D

 

 

Cheers Ron, Jon

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