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This Week's Edo Period Corner


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#121 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 04:06 PM

Today’s wild guess; :D

knockdown handles for a Chochin (提灯) :?: :?: :?:


No! :phew: Good idea, though.

Shall I leave it like this for a bit, or do you want the next picture?

All lids opened, but still packed.

The last photo shows it all exploded and set up.
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#122 John A Stuart

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 04:07 PM

For a lantern Koichi san? Well out on a limb now, but, an archery game set for a little target game, perhaps. John

#123 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 04:18 PM

For a lantern Koichi san? Well out on a limb now, but, an archery game set for a little target game, perhaps. John


Bull's Eye, John.

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#124 John A Stuart

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 04:29 PM

Wish I had as many chances with kantei to be wrong. Looks fun. John

#125 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 04:56 PM

The whole thing is in fairly poor condition and needs a bit of TLC. All the metal fittings are beautifully made in solid silver, plain on one bow, and chased on the other, but some are loose or bent, and one is missing. Two of the bamboo sections are snapped and not very well repaired. The amount of damage guaranteed that I was able to strike a bargain with the antique dealer.

The bamboo sections closest to the handles/grips seem to have a Mei on them.

I haven't tried stringing the bows, but it must have been fun assembling and firing this yashiki bow'n arrow kyugu in a tatami mat room. Holes in the shoji? :glee: What would the 'proper' targets have looked like?
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#126 Nobody

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 05:04 PM

I haven't tried stringing the bows, but it must have been fun assembling and firing this yashiki bow'n arrow kyugu in a tatami mat room. Holes in the shoji? :glee: What would the 'proper' targets have looked like?

This video shows a mechanical doll of Edo period, though it may be a replica. :idea:
http://jp.youtube.co...h?v=-JV--AwLxiE

MORIYAMA Koichi
盡人事而待天命 - Do one's best and leave the rest to Providence.

♪ Nobody knows de trouble I see, Nobody knows but ......


#127 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 05:11 PM

That is amazing! Thanks for the link, Moriyama san.
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#128 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 06:25 AM

Lafayette C Curtis over on myArmoury.com had an interesting question about how the priming pans were protected on Japanese Tanegashima matchlocks. Gabriel Lebec has been acting as an in-between ferrying messages back and forth between us. Many thanks, Gabriel.

Below are a series of photos illustrating my own matchlock and the degrees of protection available.

One. The pan lid which fits/sandwiches quite snugly over the priming pan itself, in both closed and open position. I've pulled up the serpentine.

Two. Notice the brass partition behind it, called the Ama-ooi, or rain protector. This was to stop water coming off the barrel and working its way under the inner rim of the cover, and divert it backwards or forwards..

Three. Notice the hole in the top of the pan pin. Your matchlock should ideally have this hole; the pin itself is actually hollow.

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#129 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 06:38 AM

For complete protection against the wind and rain, and to stop the enemy seeing your lighted match at night, you could cover the whole match and mechanism with a lacquered paper box-like cover, this also was called Ama-ooi, or rain cover. The whole thing was placed over the top of the barrel, and fixed with a single wire which sat into the hole in the top of the pan cover pin! It must have quivered slightly, balanced as it was on one vertical wire unless the wire continued round and snapped shut under the barrel in some way. Material for future study...

I have a picture here in Sawada Taira's book, Nihon no Furu-Ju 日本の古銃 p. 133, but... there is a clear warning in the back about copyright, so perhaps it might not be wise to show it publicly here. (Sawada Taira is quite famous/influential in Japan; it would really not be clever to get on the wrong side of him!!!)

PS An indication of how popular these lacquered rain protectors might have been is the fact that almost every matchlock ever produced in Japan had the hollow pin in preparation for fitting the black box Ama-ooi.
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#130 Gabriel L

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 06:59 AM

Many thanks to you Piers, for so readily and thoroughly accommodating my (and, by proxy, Lafayette's) requests and for trading some pleasant emails. A fascinating aspect of Japanese arms that I previously knew literally nothing about (no surprise there ;)). You learn something every day...
Cheers,
-GLL

#131 IanB

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 11:06 AM

Piers, There are illustrations of these rain protectors in the catalogue 'Military Accessories of a Daimyo Household" No 10 put out by the Tokugawa Art Museum in Nagoya. Two have hinged sides so that you could prime the pan and get at the serpentine without remocing the cover. There is also a famous book illustrated by Kuniyoshi showing gunners with rain-guards that are like rectangular boxes without a front or back.
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#132 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 03:08 PM

Piers, There are illustrations of these rain protectors in the catalogue 'Military Accessories of a Daimyo Household" No 10 put out by the Tokugawa Art Museum in Nagoya. Two have hinged sides so that you could prime the pan and get at the serpentine without removing the cover. There is also a famous book illustrated by Kuniyoshi showing gunners with rain-guards that are like rectangular boxes without a front or back.
Ian Bottomley


Thanks for that Ian! Excellent stuff. Later today I had a look around and found a catalogue of an exhibition held some years ago in Nagoya Castle. The rain box here is quite different from the one I was planning to post (hand-made by Sawara Taira out of leather) and looks to be made of sheet metal. This one doesn't seem to cover much of the match, and I am not sure how it fitted on. Anyway, we know know that there were at least two versions and possibly many more. Materials were lacquered leather or paper, or metal sheet?

We had a bit of a chat among our matchlock company members this afternoon and the leader, who tends to be fairly knowledgable, said that Sawada Taira's word Ama-ooi is actually wrong. The Nagoya catalogue as per photos below also labels them Ama-ooi, but I was assured today that they should be called Ama-yoke', or rainguard. Perhaps they were called by different names in the various regions.

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#133 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 05:04 PM

This week's corner, but... still the same week where you are? It's midnight in Japan, so maybe a new week here.

Had a very mixed day today. Had to attend a funeral in Mie Prefecture, a four hour drive from here. Standing outside in the baking heat with no shade or hat while the priest droned on inside. The girl is only 19 and she has lost her father, the sole breadwinner for the family, to a stroke.

Through a friend I was introduced to a husband and wife who are descended from the Scribe/Karo to a famous Daimyo. Their family have the keys to the castle Kura and they showed me some of the things they inherited, including some amazing swords and koshirae. Envelopes full of fascinating seppa of different thicknesses and materials, fuchi kashira, tsuba, menuki, etc. (Have you ever seen a leather seppa? I examined it with a magnifying glass and told them I thought it was lacquered wood.) One sword was So-shu-den, Chikuzen no kami, Sa no Kunihiro. The fuchi and kashira were by Masachika. They had a letter to the Lord from Tokugawa Ieyasu, among other things. As a gesture of friendship, they gave me some long nakago yajiri arrowheads from the castle inventory.

14 hours there and back.
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#134 Brian

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 05:40 PM

Piers,
Fascinating stuff..pity under those circumstances.
For the beginners and those who don't know much about them, can you give us a bit of a background to kura? I know a bit about them, but perhaps you could explain them in terms of who had/has one, why, when and what for etc?
Are there many unopened ones out there still, and are they limited to fairly wealthy families?

Brian

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#135 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 03:19 AM

Piers,
Fascinating stuff..pity under those circumstances.
For the beginners and those who don't know much about them, can you give us a bit of a background to kura? I know a bit about them, but perhaps you could explain them in terms of who had/has one, why, when and what for etc?
Are there many unopened ones out there still, and are they limited to fairly wealthy families?

Brian


From your post, Brian, I can tell that you know a lot more about this subject than I do. My quick answer is... please let me off the hook! Here is some general knowledge, however.

Fire being one of the 4 great disasters, all things of value (for those families possessing such things) would be put in a self-standing plastered and tiled storehouse away from the main house, perhaps in one corner of the courtyard/garden. The walls, doors and window shutters were very thick and it was designed to stand up to almost anything, including earthquakes, another of the 4 calamities. A wealthy family might have more than one 'Kura'. As they got packed with family heirlooms, it became a bit of a chore to go in and sort out/index, so in many cases no-one really knows any more what is in there. The door was usually bolted and locked with at least one massive padlock to guard against thieves.

There is a type of antique dealer, much disliked in general, called an Ubu-dashi-ya, (a displayer/seller of freshly-discovered objects that have not seen the light) who goes round villages looking for houses with their Kura still intact. He will call at the house and try to persuade the owner to let him into the Kura storehouse to see what there might be for him to buy and sell.

If a Kura is destroyed in an earthquake, this is a time of anxiety for the family and an opportunity for others. Kura are also regularly broken as houses are rebuilt or land is developed, and sometimes the family asks the builders to organize someone to sort out and sell off the contents, giving welcome opportunities for rich pickings for those in the know. Rich widows might try to sell off the contents quickly if the tax authorities announce they are on the way to evaluate and decide probate.

I have seen no official figures on numbers of unopened Kura, but you do see them still all over the place, especially in the countryside. They may be empty, or they have in some cases been made into living space, but there must be many that remain untouched, even though antique dealers loudly bemoan the scarceness of such. :phew:
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#136 Brian

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 09:08 AM

Thanks Piers, that is good info. I should have clarified that I know a (very little) bit about them and hope i wasn't putting you on the spot. Good to have an idea of how things work there, and get a mental picture of the scene.
I should imagine an old, unexplored kura must sometimes be a collectors or antique dealers dream. :)

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#137 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 02:14 PM

Thanks Piers, that is good info. Good to have an idea of how things work there, and get a mental picture of the scene.
I should imagine an old, unexplored kura must sometimes be a collectors or antique dealers dream. :)

Brian


Er, Brian, is the bear a Catholic? Our hearts all surely beat to the same number here. :rotfl: The only drawback to a packed Kura, I should imagine, would be the sheer quantity of objects salted away, and ... ... ... my total lack of ability to judge the market value of most of them. :cry:
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#138 Brian

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 02:34 PM

Er, Brian, is the bear a Catholic?...

If we are going to mix our metaphors, I would hate to know what the Pope does in the woods. :shock:
:rofl:
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#139 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 03:29 PM

Brian, would you care to explain the meaning of that to some of our Japanese members? :glee:
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#140 Brian

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 03:50 PM

Well..since you are the bilingual one, I think I will delegate that task all to you. :badgrin:
How's that for putting you on the spot? :lol:

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#141 John A Stuart

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 08:23 PM

That's a good one. I know what the Pope would do in the woods if he ran into a bear. I have and almost did. John

#142 Stephen

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Posted 14 July 2008 - 08:50 PM

Ok boys this is getting a bit out of the woods :offtopic:

                                  Stephen C.

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#143 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 02:49 AM

Ok boys this is getting a bit out of the woods :offtopic:


Thanks Stephen for rescuing us from ourselves. :freak:

In order to freshen the air, I will post some piccies of the Yajiri. He gave me a representative of each of several different types that they found in there.
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#144 Brian

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 10:39 AM

Piers,
Please do. I am a fan and small-time collector of yajiri. Would love to see them.
Does anyone know of a book that has more info on them than the Japanese Polearms book?

Brian

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#145 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:34 PM

Here goes with a photographic blend of science and artistry! The largest is 30cm from tip of the Yajiri, to the end of the Nakago; it could almost be taken for a yari spear. The blade is 7.5cm or 8 cm in length, depending on whether you stop with the cutting edge or with the collar. The shortest is the red one, 18.5 cm in overall length, with a blade 4 cm long by 2.5cm. Most of them were polished to some extent by the person who gave them to me. One is coated in red and one in black lacquer. The red one is Ino-me sukashi. None are signed with a Mei, but two have horimono remains on the blades.

Thoughts. I wonder whether the bowman had a choice of tip available, depending on what kind of enemy was approaching? Like a set of golf clubs??? The variety surprises me.

Disclaimer. These are nothing like some of the really beautifully-worked yajiri one can find and pay huge prices for. I love such, but they are in a different world! One day when I can afford one... These below were as stated from a certain castle armoury/storehouse.

Notice the match is at 5cm.

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#146 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:36 PM

The last two.

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#147 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:40 PM

Some closer shots of the Shiri (bum/butt) = arrowhead.

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#148 Brian

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 01:56 PM

Those are wonderful and huge yajiri. They gave them to you? Wow..can i get some friends like that? :D
They are much larger than most I have here. I would expect most of those to have a hamon if polished. They might look very nice in tiny shirasaya and polish. Saw quite a few like that in Japan, and even for these lesser embellished examples you are looking at a few $100 each. How many of these did they have in the kura? Very jealous here ;)

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#149 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 02:24 PM

Those are wonderful and huge yajiri. They gave them to you? Wow..can i get some friends like that? :D
They are much larger than most I have here. I would expect most of those to have a hamon if polished. They might look very nice in tiny shirasaya and polish. Saw quite a few like that in Japan, and even for these lesser embellished examples you are looking at a few $100 each. How many of these did they have in the kura? Very jealous here ;)

Brian


Thanks for the words of encouragement, Brian. May I also thank you for the cropping job you did. I wouldn't know how to go about doing it, and I have been feeling guilty about the number of piccies I have been posting here, but I do try to keep the camera stopped down as far as I dare before quality suffers too badly. Please feel free to let me know if I am threatening to crash the site or anything!!! Innocence is bliss...

The way he was giving them to me, I had to conclude that they must have had more, but he was making a special gesture of friendship to me as the teacher of his ex-student, so it was no, no, that's enough, time and time again! And yes, I have seen them at antique markets here, but even the fakes never go for less than 10,000 JPY.

He had a fascinating fukuro yari, with a little stubby curvy triangular blade that he thought might have been togi-beri polished down. I assured him that it was the proper size, and he even apologized for not giving it to me!!! LOL... I hope he saw not a glint of greed in my eyes. I stayed focused on thanks and amazement.

Yes, absolutely about the togi. I am debating getting a quote on at least one of them. If it costs 100 bucks an inch to get polished professionally, then one alone may set me back 400 US, for the four facets. Expect a verbal report here in the next day or two. :thanks:

PS Brian, do you have yours displayed here on this site anywhere? I would love to see them...

PPS Took them round to the sword shop and was told not to bother sending them for polish. This was repeated by several people. Just use a fine sandpaper to stop any rust and find a nice box or stand to display them... :|
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#150 Bugyotsuji

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 03:05 AM

Can anyone clarify the following, one way or t' other?

Someone I respect told me that the red lacquer sukashi yajiri above, with the Ino-me center/centre, is actually a Kabura-ya, designed to whistle, (or make some kind of scary noise) in flight. :?:
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