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Maetate

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ken, Probably just preference, but there is often an heraldic link. I have an unproven theory that the plain round gilded discs were put on by the armourers, to be exchanged for the customer's choice after the sale. Hosokawa Sansai is said to have advocated large delicate and easily damaged crests that looked 'romantic' after being broken. Some crests of kawari kabuto contribute to the theme of the helmet - such a ears on a helmet of animal shape. It is a good question I have never seen raised before.

Ian Bottomley

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I tried to find some correlation between maetate & anything else, Ian, but realized that I didn't have enough data. So I'm hoping that others will chime in with bits & pieces to at least theorize an answer.

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I've always considered maedate/maetate to be one of the most underappreciated areas of Japanese armour and it seems that scholarship on the subject is few and far between. A few years ago, a book on maedate was released and it highlighted 100 maedate designs. I wonder how much relevant background information was contained within regarding the kinds of questions raised by Ken and Ian. Would be good to get it translated.

 

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Hi John,

 

I bought this book by chance, some years ago. After a short discussion with Markus about a translation, we decided to let it be. It simply contains too little useful information, related to the estimated costs.....

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Hi John,

 

I bought this book by chance, some years ago. After a short discussion with Markus about a translation, we decided to let it be. It simply contains too little useful information, related to the estimated costs.....

I suspected as much, Uwe. So often it seems that many of these books only state the obvious and don't really delve into the history and minutiae of objects.

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Ken,

 

It is already a while ago and I almost forgot about this “project”. If I remember well, it is like John said, as so often the case with Japanese books on armor (and related).

However, I can hunt up the old correspondence and look over it again, if interested?!

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I don't want to make work for you, Uwe, but, yes, I'm very interested. I think it would be of interest to other NMB members, too.

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Then there are those maedate of animals and mythical beasts that do not, I imagine, render well into linear design???  I once had an armour that had a gilt, stiff paper maedate of a praying mantis (down Mantis Man, down...)

 

BaZZa.

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Here are a few examples. The omodaka one may be heraldic. The kuwagata plus kirimon in gilded copper is ridiculous. It belongs to an armour by Nagamichi and is only about 4" across yet it takes to pieces. The third one had me puzzled for a while. I will let you guess.

Ian Bottomley 

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Here's one that always captures my imagination. Being a bonsai enthusiast it reminds me of a root cutter, but maybe tongs.

 

What is really very interesting with maedate is the combination of Shin ni gami (death spirit) with something else. It is really a fascinating topic that defies documentation. 

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Mark, yours is a 'Yattoko' or 'Kuginuki' (pincers), to demonstrate bravery, i.e. that you mean to pull out your own arrows by yourself.

 

Talking of rank for a moment.

 

A friend of mine wears tentsuki wakidate on either side of his helmet, but our leader says that an ashigaru or samurai standing in line or file should not be wearing such a high-ranking set of tentsuki as wakidate. If he wore a (smaller?) split pair as maedate on the tsunomoto in front of the helmet however, that might be permitted.

 

A couple of years ago after a hospital stay, when my wife told me I should never wear full armour ever again, I wore parts of an armour, with jimbaori and an old brown eboshi in place of a heavy kabuto to our events. I noticed that village elders would come up to me bowing to discuss the day's arrangements, and it seemed that they were naturally drawn to the eboshi as if I was somehow in charge. I mentioned it to our leaders, and was immediately advised to stop wearing eboshi.

 

Both our 会長Kaicho and 隊長Taicho now wear eboshi kabuto. Their 前立 maedate in the form of a Kamon is almost an afterthought.

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Here a tentsuki maedate. This one dates from the momoyama period. Sorry for the publicity, it’s the only picture I have on my Ipad.

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Ken, no, not really, but I have enjoyed reading posts above by Ian and others.

 

I guess you could say as a rule of thumb that the more splendid a Maedate is, the richer and the higher the status of the wearer. Simple and humble maedate would lend themselves to mass production, for troops in large numbers for example, and a gorgeous one may have been handmade and unusual. The Daimyo and various important military leaders would have wished to stand out from the plainer ashigaru, and a maedate, visible and taller than your actual height, would surely have been be part of that.

 

A collector told me that maedate from the Muromachi period tended to be 2D, i.e. flat, and they became 3-dimensional in the Edo period. Perhaps the gorgeous sashimono was lost for simple se-oi-bata flags, and that 3D function moved into the maedate?

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Piers,  Your comments on eboshi are interesting in that I can understand the wearing of a fabric eboshi would imply status, but almost all eboshi nari kabuto are simply made of two plates, one each side, and I would say rather cheap. There is one in Liverpool museum which as a single plate forming one side, the other made up from 24 bits of iron riveted together. Dr. Galeno had a red lacquered Ii family tatami gusoku with tentsuki as a maedate and the Royal Armouries Museum has a red lacquered zunari kabuto that also has one. What is different about the zunari is that the brow plate / mabezashi is gold lacquered and it has a gessan shikoro laced in white, green and purple.

Ian Bottomley

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About tentsuki, most of those Tachibana golden momonari had no tsunamoto. It must have been a question of rank.

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Further to Luc's and Piers' comments, it's my understanding that when it comes to the tentsuki worn by the Ii family, those that were worn as wakidate were for senior/higher-ranking members, whilst the lower ranking retainers would wear the tentsuki as maedate, such as the ones below:

 

rViyEn.jpg

 

I should also mention that the taller the tentsuki, the higher the rank.

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Regarding the use of tentsuki within the Ii clan; it was only members of the main family that was allowed to use golden coloured tentsuki. Others had to settle for silver.

 

Jan

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Malcolm,  You have fallen into the same trap I did when I bought it. I assumed it was a ken, which the bonji implies as well. It isn't. It is the 'slap stick' used by Zen masters to hit those meditating.

Ian

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Ian, although I have been hit with one many times, I never seen a Kyosaku/Keisaku with a cross guard. Not saying that it isn't one, from some obscure sect for example.

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=%E8%AD%A6%E7%AD%96%E3%81%A8%E3%81%AF&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjoqdTv6sjlAhWbL6YKHZRpBLYQiR56BAgLEAw&biw=1366&bih=625

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keisaku

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Good evening Ian,

 

Tokyo time currently 19.43 and Spongebob Squarepants in Japanese on the TV.

 

Echoing the inimitable Piers, and, having received a few “Wakenings from Manjusri” , from a variety of Soto Zen Roshi, and similar psychopaths over the years, the Kyosaku, I have come into contact with, or have come into contact with me, are usually a straight, slowly widening stick, without a cross guard.

 

It reminds me of a Ken, might we be dealing with something relating to Fudo no Myo - O in view of the Bonji.

 

Just a thought.

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Showed this to a Japanese antiques and militaria dealer today and his opinion was also a Keisaku/Kyosaku as Ian suggests, despite the crosspiece.

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Hi. Here is my personal favourite maedate. An Edo period sake gourd. If a maedate relects the personality of the wearer, this is my kind of man. Mark

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