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Another Tanegashima


kalamarz
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Hello Everyone,

 

I have recently purchased an original tanegashima.  I was wondering if anyone out there knows the symbols that the gun is decorated with.  I looked online and it looks like the symbol represents the Jinbpost-3993-0-07118000-1488128756_thumb.jpgpost-3993-0-36766300-1488128775_thumb.jpgo clan but I am not sure.

 

Any help is much appreciated.

 

THANKS,

PAUL

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Hi Paul.,

 

They look like Kamon (Family crests)

 

If we take the orientation north south (i.e. the two lines running from top to bottom) then it is known as Maru ni Tate Futatsubiki. (Literally two lines standing within a circle).

 

If we take it as east west orientation (i.e. two lines running from left to right) Then it is known as Maru ni Futatsubiki (Literally two lines within a circle).

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Have to point out that on many later tanegashima, any mon are largely insignificant since they were added more for decoration than actually pointing to the clan that used them. Hence why so many have the aoi mon. I wouldn't let the mon point you in a certain direction necessarily.
Correct Piers?

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Judging by the wire-trigger, extended lockplate and the long "grip" for the matchcord it looks like another Sendai-style matchlock just popped up.

Please show us the complete gun if possible. Judging by the slender stock it's a 3-4 monme.

Finding more info about kamon is always a fun way to spend a day or two. Sorry to say it's more or less impossible to get it right. When we see a kamon we start looking in the books for a famous family to match it with (I've done it a lot) The problem is that many of these kamon (if orginal Edo-period) many time belonged to a retainer of the ruling family. I've done some extended research into the Uesugi-family. Whilst visiting the area I was fortunate enough to encounter round about 40 guns def confirmed to have belonged to this famous family. I was of course expecting to see the Uesugi-kamon on these guns. I was quite surprised when I discovered a whole bunch of different kamon. When I asked the local experts about why the answer was easy. Each Bushi (not Ashigaru) was allowed to decorated his specific gun with his personal kamon.

The style of Kamon on the gun in question looks to fall under that catagory.

Many Kamon was indeed meant for export and made during the Meiji-period, as you pointed out Brian. Sorry to say, a lot of them badly executed.

 

Jan

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The posters above have wrapped that up pretty comprehensively. I agree on the Sendai attribution, and the difficulty pinning down a Mei definitively to a single clan. (Same goes for sword koshirae.)

 

Would it be possible to show the barrel and any interesting detail?

Is it unsigned?

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Hello Gents,

 

You are a wealth of information.  Please see some pics of the 39" barrel below.  There is a stream of Katakana characters down one side but it is almost impossible to take a picture of.  Maybe you might have some suggestion how to bring out the characters without destroying them.

 

Many thanks,

Paul

 

post-3993-0-85079800-1488342621_thumb.jpg

 

post-3993-0-08927200-1488342648_thumb.jpg

 

post-3993-0-32323800-1488342684_thumb.jpg

 

 

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Paul, thank you. Which photo contains the characters? We are expecting them to be underneath.

In order to expose the characters and make them legible, you will need to remove the red rust without exposing bare metal. If you do expose bare steel, then you will have to re-patinate with something like gun blue, to protect the metal and for aesthetic reasons. This is a slightly more acceptable process than with Nihonto Nakago tangs.

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Looks like the old spelling for Sendai in the beginning, which is good. This style of gun where produced at many locations around the north of Japan. So it's kind of sweet to have a gun that we know was made in Sendai.

The rest of the signature will be hard to read due to corrosion. But I'm sure the kanji experts on this forum might be able to translate a few more. Sendai produced a lot of guns and there are over 200 gunsmiths recorded from about 60 different families so there will be quite a few to choose from :)

 

Jan

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I had a barrel with this bad of red rust. You need to get boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits (Home Depot or Lowes - I even found it at Walmart). Mix 50/50 and coat barrel. When it is wet, use a deer antler cut at a 45 to mimic a chisel. Scrape the barrel to remove the red rust. Use a cotton rag with fresh mixture to wipe away the residue. You can get antler in a pet store, it's sold as dog treats.

 

This will darken the metal and help loosen the red rust while you scrape at it with the antler (if you have ivory, use it, but the antler works for me). This mixture will also help keep it from reforming.

 

Warning, mix very little at a time, and don't discard rag in trash. linseed oil has a tendency to heat up when the rag is balled up, and can ignite. Rare, but possible.  I lay the rag out to dry and then toss in the weekly pickup. I pour the excess liquid out in the garden (wife wonders why plants won't grow there)

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Any mon are largely insignificant since they were added more for decoration than actually pointing to the clan that used them.

Is that a personal opinion or is there some sort of research etc that shows this to be true?

 

1d28bbfdd256b1cdc1c6fa6ecddd7c99.jpg

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For the reasons cited above. People could add any mon they like, and frequently did. How many Tanegashima have you seen with the Aoi mon on them? Out of the 7 I have seen locally, 5 had the Aoi mon on them. You think they were all imperial issue?
I suspect that real clan or valid mon would have been less "decorative" and more subtle.
That isn't to say none of them are real, but those are usually better done, and not hasty pressed brass discs imho.

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I have a tsuba with three Date kamon applied in shibuichi. There is the usual 'sparrows in bamboo' kamon plus one with the circle crossed by bars as on this gun, as well as the mitsu tomoe maru. Since the 'sparrows' kamon was used by the Date family itself, it maybe that the circle and bars was used to identify clan equipment.

Ian Bottomley

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From seing pictures of the whole gun, I can with some level of confidence say that this was a no-nonsense matchlock produced for the mass-ranks of Date-infantry. The standard caliber used by Date was 4-Monme (1.38cm). Would be interesting to know the caliber of this one.

This would also make sense regarding the kamon. As I said in my earlier post, the rank and file was not allowed to use a personal kamon. They would be issued with an arsenal-gun. If decorated, it would be with the kamon of the main family. In this case the circle with the three bars, which was used by the Date.

This is an interesting gun with all the features that you expect to find on a Sendai matchlock. Just take care of that rust.

 

Jan

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In the meantime after judicious application of Occam's razor, I have some partially good news. Your smith was first, second or third generation of a known Sendai gunsmith workshop. The thickness of the pan waist suggests a later one of these, but you have not yet uncovered enough characters to reveal his 'first' name. Here's hoping!

In the meantime take your pick.

Gen 1

芳賀十太夫豊平 (The use of Ju in his name suggests, to me, a Christian connection.) Hoga Judayu Toyohira

Gen 2

芳賀十太夫豊成 (Toyonari)

Gen 3

芳賀十太夫豊也 (Toyoya, Toyonari, Hiroya?)

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Many Kamon was indeed meant for export and made during the Meiji-period, as you pointed out Brian.

Another personal opinion without any actual proof??? Were did Brian say that kamon were made for export during the Meiji period? This is something I see thrown out as if it were a proven fact, do you have any research which backs this up? I also have seen people repeatedly say that "decorated Japanese matchlocks were not used by samurai but meant for export" etc but if that is true why are there so many of these still in Japan? Can anyone here actually say with any certainty what the rules were (if any) regarding the application of mon to matchlocks?

 

I just do not like to see personal opinion misrepresented as proven facts.

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Argument cuts both ways. It's a well established customary belief based on current commentary out of Japan and the establishment that adjudicates these matters for public opinions which are contracted for based on their perceived expertise . You are welcome to dispel their currently advertised position for the betterment of understanding by conducting serious research to counter their long standing positions.

I for one believe it's a good path to research.

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post-3993-0-10182500-1488577928_thumb.jpg

 

Gents,

 

Couple more characters from the side of the ignition port.

 

Piers-san, many thanks for narrowing down the choice of gunsmith.  Would Gen's correspond to some sort of timelines?  I was curious if we could get a ball park estimate.

 

Also the cal is 56 or 1.42cm.

 

Paul

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Very difficult to narrow down the date, but somewhere between 1630 and 1860...would be a starting guess. It could be older with later repairs. That pan looks seriously well used; it could be a second or third replacement?

 

On the side of the pan is a character which may be Zen 全, meaning complete or satisfactorily made, put there by the smith, but again this is a guess as to the habits of this Sendai gunsmith house. (Are there no more characters on the facet to the right of the main signature?)

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It's a well established customary belief based on current commentary out of Japan.

Really...how do you know this, what is the source of this "current commentary" besides sensei x, y or z making a statement that is accepted as "fact" and blindly repeated since you are not allowed to question were sensei x, y or z got their knowledge from. Here in the West when someone makes a statement as if they have some sort of facts to back up their statement they should have no problem stating were their knowledge came from. Maybe Jan can speak for himself and tell us how he acquired his knowledge of the subject. I am not saying that he is wrong, he could in fact be right but without revealing were his knowledge is coming from he (and you) should not be surprised if someone should question this.

 

I do a lot of research on not only Japanese arms and armor but also arms and armor from many different cultures, I have many theories about various aspects of the items I study and if I am basing my statements on a personal theory I try to preface it by saying "in my personal opinion"..."based on what I have observed"..".based on what I have read"...etc. If I make a statement in a way which makes it seem as though I have some facts to back up what I am saying I would not be surprised if someone would question me as to were I obtained my information from. At that point I either tell them or say that it is only a personal opinion / theory with out any actually proof.

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