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What Are These Mounts?


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#1 Peter Bleed

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 07:57 PM

Dear Friends,

Once again i beg the help of the Board with a question.

I recently noted a Japanese blade that has appeared on eBay, As an on-going auction i will do no more than to use it as a example. We will not discuss its quality or value, altho I will say that it certainly nice.

 

http://www.ebay.com/...=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

 

I have seen these koshirae before and several time have had them pointed out to me as potential "AINU" blades. They are not uncommon and they seem to forrn a distinct type - plain wood saya/tsuka. antler fittings, and often tightly wound "rattan" wrap in the tsuka and/or the saya. They also rarely have what we might think of as "collectible" blades.

As a collector of Ainu stuff, I am SURE (100%) that these are NOT Ainu gear. They have NEVER been shown in any books or catalogs on Ainu Material Culture and I have never seen them in Japanese exhibits of Ainu materials. The rattan wrap doesn't show up on any other Ainu stuff and they do NOT have any of the other classic features of Ainu art - 'bracket' design, 'fish-scale cross hatch' etc..

So what are these? They may be Matagi gear of some kind.- made for an by forest workers. And i suppose they could be gardeners' tools, altho they look way to rustic/crude to be polite bonsai tools. These things do NOT look like samurai weapons.

If anyone has insights, I would love to hear them.

Peter


Peter Bleed

#2 Geraint

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 09:45 PM

Interesting Peter,

 

I have been lead to believe that these were doctor's swords.   I have one similar though no where near as good and many of the inlays are missing.  I cannot give you a reference for this idea so it may be completely off the beam. 

 

Looking forward to what this thread brings up.

 

All the best.


Geraint

#3 IanB

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 10:45 PM

Geraint,  I too have read this somewhere and that similar swords were also allowed for wear by the headman of a village as a symbol of their status. Sadly I cannot now quote a reference so treat the opinion with caution.  

Ian Bottomley.



#4 John A Stuart

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 11:39 PM

Did that not refer to wooden bladed swords? Anyhow, below 2 shaku were allowed to common folk when travelling, no? Not Ainu, a tool and definitely minge. John



#5 Bazza

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 01:19 AM

Sword 19 inches, blade 5 inches - definitely a tool of some sort.  The sharp point suggests cutting tied rope or string around something (a bundle of cuttings??), or perhaps dead-heading flowers, or indeed a multitude of tasks in the garden or forest.  Why such an elaborate koshirae???  Maybe the "Headman" suggestion has merit??  Or, why not decorate up an important tool for everyday use and wear...

 

The aspect I'm writing about, however, is the tsuba remaining with the scabbard:

>  note how the stag tsuba is actually affixed to the scabbard and is a part of the scabbard's throat

 

Has anybody here actually seen a koshirae with this feature???  I offer one here:

 

AAA_ 046rsz.jpg

 

Bestests,

BaZZa.



#6 Shinto23

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 02:57 AM

Morning BaZZa,

 

Very interesting, and I can't say I have seen this before. Certainly dispenses with the notion that the Tsuba is to stop the hand running down the blade; however, in this case this looks like a tanto or ko-wakizashi, so probably not so much of a concern here? Certainly will stop the Tsuba rattling... LOL. I too am interested in what the members of the board have to say.. Looks like a nice koshirae, so perhaps the owner was just wanting something different in the late Edo period when he/ she commissioned this?

 

Is this yours? Any chance we can get some more pics of the Koshirae if it is? Thanks.

 

Barrie.



#7 Bazza

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 09:58 AM

Hi Barrie,

 

The sword isn't mine, but I'm able to put up photos.  Please find attached.  NOTE:  The tsuka has been rebound since these pics were taken.

 

Bestests,

BaZZa.

 

omote1 full length 032.jpg

 

omote2 menuki 034 cropped.jpg

 

omote3 kogai closeup.jpg

 

omote4 kojiri closeup 036.jpg

 

ura1 full length 039.jpg

 

ura2 menuki 045cropped.jpg

 

ura3 kozuka closeup 041.jpg


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#8 Greg F

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 01:53 PM

Bazza that Koshirae really looks good and the Tsuba/Saya really is an interesting novelty i think. All the best.

Greg

#9 Shinto23

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Posted 04 March 2017 - 04:17 PM

BaZZa,

 

What a fabulous koshirae. Surely a prize in any collection, and I really do love it.. It certainly looks like a 'regularly mounted' koshirae, so I wonder why the anomaly (of the fixed Tsuba). What purpose would this serve? Deceit perhaps? Could the blade looked housed, when in fact partly drawn...? 

 

Getting back to the original post, I cannot add any assistance to the odd looking koshirae; however, I was always led to believe that 'Doctors Swords' were a (solid) koshirae - like a sort of Baton - but made look like a short sword to deter vagabonds and reprobates.. 

 

Barrie.



#10 alansue

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 01:04 AM

AAha BaZZa you nifty fella, 

what a fantastic package and is now complete with the handle rebind . I loved this piece when it lived in Sydney.

and used to visit it regularly.

 

All the best mate Al






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