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IanB last won the day on May 30 2020

IanB had the most liked content!


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  1. I too have just acquired a blade signed by Bizen Osafune Norimitsu dated to 1468. When I have had time to study it properly I will publish images and details. What is immediately evident is that it is a short, heavy blade with prominent bo utsuri and suguba hamon. Ian Bottomley
  2. Many thanks Jean and Charles, - yes of course a bokuto. Makes sense being carried and used by a doctor as a crack on someone's head would require the professional services of the wearer. Ian B.
  3. I acquired this at a local arms fair thinking it was essentially a dummy tanto for the tea-ceremony or similar occasion but on getting it home and handling it, it clearly is a kind of club / jitte. It is of a moderately heavy wood, fully lacquered and fitted with vey reasonable quality menuki and saya mount. It seems to be representing an ebi, although it is a bit odd and indeterminate in that quarter. Has anyone seen its like? Ian Bottomley
  4. Michael, As Uwe has said, it is what is described as a fire-fighting helmet. They are of lacquered paper so as not to transmit the heat, and had a cape attached to the brim that fastened across the face leaving only the eyes exposed. The cape was usually of woollen cloth since it was more fire resistant than cotton or hemp. They seem to have been worn by the senior person supervising the fighting of a fire, as well as being worn as protection to the head and face when escaping from a burning building. I have a ladies version, again made of woollen cloth, that is shaped like an eboshi or court cap in black, with a cape in red decorated with folded paper cranes. Again, these would be worn to protect the hair and face when escaping from a fire. Ian Bottomley
  5. Geraint, I think you are right on the point about the width of the original tang being too narrow and hence the signature placement. It seems that Kanesaki specialised in yari which again suggests it is a modified sasaho yari blade. Irrespective of shape, it would be a devastating little weapon to tuck into your obi. While I am at it, I have often wondered about the hole and shitadome at the bottom end of the saya. These often seem to originally held a leather tab. I may be wrong but their purpose may have been to help prevent the saya pulling out of the obi too easily when the blade is drawn. Ant other ideas? Ian Bottomley
  6. Bought this for my Christmas present from me to me. It is signed Kanesaki near the habaki which makes me wonder whether it was originally a yari blade that was shortened, which is much higher up than a normal yari signature, or is as made and is pretending to be a cut down yari. Ian Bottomley
  7. The Royal Armouries collection in Leeds UK has a crossbow with three bolts having diminutive heads like No. 11 above. The bow is made of slats of baleen fastened together to increase the draw weight. There is another crossbow in the Met. New York, formerly in the George Cameron Stone collection, and a couple in Nagoya. On the whole they seem rare in Japan in contrast to China. Ian Bottomley
  8. Ciro, Nice work. Just one small point, all your blades are back to front. The hilts should be on the left so that the front of the bade is displayed. Ian Bottomley.
  9. Nick, What I see is a perfectly real old Mino blade with a dubious polish and relatively inexpensive but late mounts, but for the amount of money being asked I am sure you could do much better.
  10. IanB

    What is this?

    Dating a jingasa is never easy. However most of the ones we encounter, the rather flat lacquered ones are late Edo. They were introduced for the daimyo gyoretsu to replace the mixture of farmers' straw hats the participants wore when the weather was bad. The bajo jingasa, that look like a bowler hat, are even later, supposedly introduced in the 1850-60 period. During the Sengoku jidai the ashigaru were issued with conical jingasa, either of iron or lacquered rawhide. My dear old buddy Dr. Galeno had a gold lacquered rawhide one decorated with the kamon of Oda Nobunaga. The book of common soldiers published in the early 17th century shows these ashigaru's jingasa with a cloth curtain hanging from the sides and back. None of the very few jingasa of this type I have seen have had any form of attaching such a thing so they may have been glued in position. What you do see are bajo jingasa with pierced brass studs fitted on the underside for attaching a hood that spread over the shoulders and crossed at the front to cover the lowerpart of the face.
  11. IanB

    What is this?

    Brian, My first thought was that this was a variety of a jingasa designed to have a top crest, kashira date, in the form of a dragon, part of which wrapped around the body of the jingasa and lined up with the embossed dragon's tail. However, looking more closely it seems the tail is in reality lacquer, applied to the iron base. That being the case, that part of the dragon , that linked the tail to what was a crest, probably of the dragon's head, is now lost. Ian Bottomley
  12. Luc, Indeed, I look back and hope that the times we spent in Firenze can be repeated. Ian Bottomley
  13. Further to the above announcement, I regret to say that illnesses, and the difficulty of driving on motorways at night, have become unsurmountable problems for some of our former members. As a result the prospect and hope of re-starting the Northern ToKen Society, as stated in the above post, has been premature. The few who have indicated a positive interest in its resumption are too few to make it a viable proposition. It is with the deepest regret that I have to report that after some 50 plus years of its existence, the Society will be forced to wind down and cease to meet. I would like to offer my sincere thanks all those members who have attended and supported the Society in the past for their friendship and the generosity with which they have shared their knowledge. Thank you all and my very best wishes for the future. Ian Bottomley
  14. Adam, I too have a wakizashi that has a wood saya and tsuka with all the fittings done in staghorn. Even the habaki and seppa are of buffalo horn, the only metal being the unsigned, hirazukuri blade. The fittings represent the 7 gods of good luck, not represented as such but by their attributes - rice bale, stag's antlers, a sack, a staff weapon etc. Perhaps made for a village headman or someone similar. Ian Bottomley
  15. As the covid pandemic is beginning to wane in severity here in the UK, the possibility of resuming more normal activities safely is now becoming a possibility. Existing members of the Northern ToKen Society UK have been contacted about the resumption of meetings; specifically of meeting in October. So far sufficient members have replied in the affirmative to make such a meeting viable. As a result there will be meeting at 7.00pm for 7.30pm at the Britannia Airport Hotel, Manchester, just off the M22 motorway on the 12th of October. Should anyone else be interested in joining us, they would be more than welcome to come along and meet the existing members. Full details of our meetings are on our website - The Northern ToKen Society. Ian Bottomley..
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