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Peter Bleed

Re-Purposed Buki

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                The thread we have been having on osoraku-blades got me thinking about ways that Japanese (and I suppose other) craftspeople have made use of damaged, incomplete or otherwise compromised weapons, armor, and other related gear. Actually, I thought about this situation right after I hit the “send” button on a note to that thread and went over to see what was being provided on Ebay. There I saw a ‘kayakuire’  (call it a powder flask) that looked suspiciously like it was made of a pair of old lacquer sake cups with the bases removed and the rims glued together.

                That got me thinking about other re-purposed and re-used samurai gear and I thought of some other items that fit that description. Think of all those nice old kozuka that became fork handles. My personal feeling is that lots of the brass embellished tsuba of the early Edo period were Muromachi-age  plane-janes that got “tarted up” after peace broke out. If that happened in early Edo times, just look at what happened in the Meiji era. The line between menuki and tobacco pouch ornaments seems suspicious. I recall seeing inro made of armor pieces. And the heavily repouse’d iron fittings on Sendai tansu cabinets really look like old armor elements. I have seen a couple of mekugi-nuki that were made of old sword nakago, in fact I carry one myself.  I am also really interested in all those nice old matchlocks that got “modernized” with percussion cap locks or even bolt actions.

                What should we think about such items? Are they “fakes” and misrepresentations? Should be hate them or at least avoid them? Is ubu aways better? Or are these sorts of things normal residues of  sword use and artistry?

 

Peter

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Great question, Peter, & one I've wondered about. I've always assumed that repurposing of "bits & pieces" is the best use, not to mention a good method of maintaining cash flow, after the usual cessation of warfare-related monetary outlays.

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Peter, 

that is indeed a good question which I have answered my way. I bought a few pieces of authentic KATANA which had been cut up by the police as they were not registered, and I will transform them into traditional kitchen knives. As soon as I have something to show, I will do so here on NMB.   

I believe that re-purposing SAMURAI-related bits and pieces is justified in cases where nothing of value is destroyed or disintegrated/separated. If the new item is well crafted and tastefully combined, it will be cherished and preserved as objet d'art, I hope.

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Jean C wrote:

> I bought a few pieces of genuine KATANA which had been cut up by the police as they were not registered

 

REGISTERED??  Jean , in what country do you live where katana need to be registered???  And in what way do they need to registered?  Weapons?  Swords??

 

Best regards,

BaZZa.

aka Barry Thomas.

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Barry,

in Japan all swords have to be registered. If the police finds unregistered blades, they are cut in pieces no longer than 150 mm and given back to the owners. Some make knives from the parts, others sell them.

I just saw the news: Happy birthday and all the best! Stay healthy!

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I have the pointed end of a spear blade that was at some time for some reason chopped/cut in half. I keep it as a funky object, as an example of a cross-section, but refashioning it into something else could be a way forward.

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You mean to hammer it out and around into the shape of an ishidzuki, Chris? I like the idea of keeping it close to its origin.

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6 hours ago, ROKUJURO said:

Barry,

in Japan all swords have to be registered. If the police finds unregistered blades, they are cut in pieces no longer than 150 mm and given back to the owners. Some make knives from the parts, others sell them.

I just saw the news: Happy birthday and all the best! Stay healthy!

Ahhh, Jean, thanks for that AND the Happy Birthday wishes.  Forgive me, but somehow I read In a deep valley as somewhere in the USA...  Gomen.

BaZZa.

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I mean on the end opposite to the blade itself, as sort of a spiked end. I am not sure of Japanese polearms, but some European ones sport such a "dual-pointy end"

 

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Shocked at the mistreatment and exploitation of the workers. But gives a great insight into the "factories" making these items. We tend to think of everything as one man making art as a dedicated vocation, when it seems many were just small factories with basically slave labour. Thanks for the link Malcolm.

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4 hours ago, Bugyotsuji said:

......hammer it out and around into the shape of an ishidzuki

That would be a lot of work and in the end mean the complete destruction of the item. ISHIZUKI are usually made from simple iron, while the YARI tip is very probably made of high-end TAMAHAGANE.
I don't know how the item looks actually, but I think a well versed swordsmith should be able to turn it into a smaller (KAGO-YARI type?) weapon by adding/welding on a new NAKAGO. 

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