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Edo Period Corner Part II

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All, To return to a previous theme for a moment. The newly listed images of old Japan contains this image of a guy in fire-fighting outfit including the waist belt.

Ian Bottomley

I have spent several days collecting every image of samurai fire costumes I could find and while I could not find many period prints of samurai wearing kaji haori, kaji kabuto etc I did manage to find quite a variety of images of antique haori, kabuto, zukin, shikoro etc meant specifically for samurai to wear during fires, both male and female costumes. It appears that the items we see are usually only parts of what once was a full ensemble that included matching head gear (hood or helmet), cape, jacket, chest protector, sash, pants, and gloves. These items of clothing would be marked with a family mon and some would be elaborately decorated with expensive fabrics and embroidery. Now as for the sash/headband, from what I can see what some sources describe as a headband is actually a sash as a samurai would either be wearing a kaji jabuto or kaji zukin and there would be no need for a headband, especially a bulky one. I have found several museums in Japan and the US which picture and or label these items as a shash/belt. The average commoner fire fighter (hikeshi) is pictured wearing a head band and maybe this has caused some confusion with the sash of the samurai costume.

Here are two of the kaji haori, muneate, ate-obi sets from the Met and a picture of two fairly complete sets of fire costumes.

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I have had it on good advice from someone with experience, that extra long threads such as the old Edo Period Corner can eventually cause database problems. So I have taken the advice and locked the old one, which will continue with this on..Part II.

Carry on as before :)

 

Brian

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I have had it on good advice from someone with experience, that extra long threads such as the old Edo Period Corner can eventually cause database problems. So I have taken the advice and locked the old one, which will continue with this on..Part II.

Carry on as before :)

 

Brian

Brian, is it possible to pin the Edo period I thread so that it does not disappear?

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In an ideal world I (or someone energetic) would provide a quick index

to the Edo Corner thread for potential visitors. :phew:

 

Maybe Brian/moderators, or the first poster in this thread could edit in a link to Edo Period Corner part 1 in the first of this thread?

I'd hate to see it get buried, as there's so much great stuff in there.

 

Regards,

Lance

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Maybe Brian/moderators, or the first poster in this thread could edit in a link to Edo Period Corner part 1 in the first of this thread?

I'd hate to see it get buried, as there's so much great stuff in there.

 

Regards,

Lance

 

Hi All

 

the old edo thread needs to be set as a sticky with the forum software and only a mod or above can set a thread in that way, that will make it stay at the top of section it lives in. I have so much reading to do on this board, I'm excited big Kev style ( minus the heart attack). Furthermore there are quite a few threads that should be set as stickies for us newbies IMVHO but i am new here so I will go back to my corner now.

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Good morning all

 

I agree that Part 1 should be held somewhere visible if possible

 

130193 views of Part 1 says something..........

 

Piers' Fanclub perhaps..... :)

 

Cheers

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Edo Period Corner Part II. New and improved. Well here we go: Just got some nice things from Japan. Thought I share this Kayaku-ire. About 14 cm high with a nice raden decoration. Haven´t seen so many powder flasks with raden before this one. Just needs a light cleanup. The powdercap is almost 6 cm long. I´m no expert in using this in real life, so to speak. But I guess a full cap would have been be used for a larger caliber gun.

The best part is that it still smells very strong from gunpowder. Smells like victory :badgrin:

 

/Jan

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Hello Jan, well done on the good-looking powder flask. There are many fakes and repros and adaptations out there but yours seems to be generally a good example, with perhaps a couple of bits missing. You say it smells of black powder? Hold it upside down and tap it and you might get a few grains in the palm of your hand.

 

Here is an interesting contribution to the Edo Corner Pt II. Has everyone heard the story of the Birdman, Chojin Kokichi, who is said to have flown in 1785, over 100 years before the Wright brothers? Not powered flight, but he seems to have jumped off high places, and despite being banished by the authorities from at least two different towns, managed not to die of his exploits, as detailed in the poster here.

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Well,lets play CSI :) After a few taps on the bottom this fell out. A few grains of corse gunpowder plus a bit of a surprise. Can it be a piece of used Hinawa?

 

It´s def has a burnt textile feel to it. Smells like 10 minutes after the 4:th of july fireworks.

 

/Jan

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Here is something I have never seen before, I have seen a lot of fire costumes but I have never seen an associated menpo.. This kaji kabuto was sold in Japan recently and along with a matching shikoro and muneate it had a matching menpo.

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Eric, You are blessed with an ability to find the unusual. That set is fantastic.

Ian Bottomley

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Today I spent some time listening to Andrew Shingleton introducing some of the guns in the Wallace Collection. A fascinating talk.

http://www.wallacecollection.org/collections/event/4464

 

During his lecture he pointed to an odd-looking gun lying in the bottom of a glass case and announced that it was the oldest known example of a revolver type matchlock, Portuguese, I believe he said. Next week I am planning to go back to find out more about it. Notice that the serpentine falls forward, not backwards as with most western matchlocks.

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Piers, any date on that Portuguese gun?

 

Tobias Capwell, one of the curators, is giving a talk on their magnificent rapier exhibition next Thursday, Eric. I am hoping to go and get some more detail on this gun (if it is not a fake or a later Indian variety) either before or after his talk.

 

Incidentally, the fireman set with menpo above is something I have not seen before. Thanks for posting!

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Piers, The gun is Indian and nothing to do with the Portuguese. The shape of the stock suggests it originated in the region of Indore (see my article: A Tentative Classification of Indian Matchlock Guns; Royal Armouries Yearbook, Vol 7, 2002). There is a very similar gun in the Royal Armouries collection with the same conical shroud around the end of the revolving cylinder. Just what the purpose of the shroud is I am not sure. My initial thought was that it might prevent an accidental flash-over from chamber to chamber and direct the balls and flame forward, but the fit between the chambers and the shroud is the same as between the chambers and the barrel. A very similar gun, but without a shroud and also in the RA, was used by Colt as an example of an early revolver when he gave a lecture on his revolving pistols to the Institute of Civil Engineers in 1851.

Ian Bottomley

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Many thanks for the quick and informative reply, Ian. Are back copies of your articles available? Just about time to make another trip through Leeds! I have to go to Scotland around the 4th September.

 

Could the extra tubes be for ease of loading, obviating the need to go down the barrel each time?

 

Do you have any feeling as to date?

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Piers, I'm not sure about back copies, it was a while ago. If you do call on us Northerners I will get the library staff to run off a copy. As for the date of these guns - help!!! Indian material often has the appearance of great antiquity even if relatively new. The monsoons and other climatic factors ravage iron artefacts. MY guess, and it is only that, would be 18th - 19th century. We have a load of material taken from Lahore in the 1850's that look like new, that left in Lahore looks, I am told, ancient.

Ian B

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I have this bullet mold, bullets and what is supposed to be some old match cord. "Tama-tsukuri" or "tama-igata" are possible names I have heard for the bullet mold, any suggestions would be appreciated , also possible names for the bullets and match cord, thanks.

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Tama for the balls, Tama-igata as you say for the mold, and Hinawa (hi = fire, nawa = rope) for the match cord, Eric.

 

Remember that although matching sets do sometimes appear together when they are found for example in an old drawer etc., often dealers will put 2 and 2 together to make a 'set'. For this reason, unless you actually saw or got the story as to where they were found, you will simply have to believe that they are contemporary with each other. The Tama-igata and the matchcord look fine to me, there on the tatami. All you can do to check the authenticity of the Tama is make sure they are not fishing weights (there will be a hole for the line) and weigh and measure them and see if they fit the Tama-igata. Are there any weight Kanji (eg 3 Monme) inscribed into the Tama-igata?

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Piers thanks for the info, I will look at the bullets and see if they are marked etc.

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Dear Eric,

I think you misunderstood Piers, ... The mold may be marked with the caliber in monmes ... NOT the bullets themselves !

... Ron

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Following up the tama-thread; I have here a rather odd looking tama-ire from my collection. About 25 cm long. It´s the apparatus dispensing the tama that I think is a bit unusual.

Have seen a few tama-ire with "crows beak" openings. But none with three levers. The front one is missing. It´s quite a genius design. And still works. Measuring the mouth I think this one is made for 2-3 monme tama.

 

/Jan

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Dear Jan,

I would have to see some Japanese Kanji on the dispenser to agree with your attribution of it being Japanese. It appears to be either an European or American SHOT dispenser as used by shotgunners during the nineteenth century. I have owned many during my years as an antique weapons dealer. First you set the top stopper for the load of shot, and open the bottom stopper to allow the correct weight of shot you have chosen to fall into the loading ( brass ) tube, ... the bottom stopper pan then shuts off any more shot entering the loading tube while you drop the desired load down the barrel of your shotgun. Hope this explains the operation.

... Ron Watson

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Thanks for Your input, Ron! I will def not protest Your conclusion. It´s bought from a dealer in Japan. But I´m sure it could have gotten there from an american/european sailor during the 19th century. Def made for some serious buckshots. Perhaps a piece of eastern barbarian hardware :)

 

Jan

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Ron,

I've also seen my fair share of these, but this one looks particularly hand made in many places. Some parts are very crude, and I wonder if this isn't a hand made one, either in Japan or elsewhere? It does copy the originals of course.

 

Brian

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Dear Brian,

Anything is possible, .... particularily with the Japanese penchant for copying. I have noted in the examples I have owned however that European examples generally have better metal work than their American counterparts which in turn are probably copies of an original European design.

... Ron Watson

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I´ve read somewhere about short teppos (60-80cm) used for close quarter combat, loaded with ironshots. Very much like our shotguns. The caliber was between 3-7 monme. The ironshots themselfs around 5-7 mm. They found teppos with their original load still present. Containing a handful of these ironshots. Perhaps this European/American loader could have been used for that kind of service? Just trying to find a reason why this device should have ended up in Japanese hands. I find the size of the mouth a bit to big for normal shotguns pellets. It´s about a centimeter in diameter. Or perhaps I´m way off....again :D

 

Jan

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