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Kabuto and Menpo


Tengu1957
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I will never collect armour, much as I love it. I don't have enough brain cells to learn a new field. But my goal is to oneday own ONE nice kabuto like this....oneday.
Lovely, thanks for sharing.

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Gary,  An interesting little puzzle. The zaboshi  are very much an indication that it is a helmet made in the province of Kaga. Orikasa Sensei spent a considerable length of time researching the archives in Kanezawa library and produced a list of all the armourers who worked for the Maeda family whose fief it was. He found that the Maeda, who were granted the province by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1583, only employed Haruta armourers until 1800 when the first Myochin was taken on. Sasama, in his Shin Katchushi Meikan lists 4 armourers who signed Iehisa, One of whom was a member of the Saotome group, two who were of the Haruta, the remaining one being a Myochin. The latter is listed as working in Yukinoshita in Sagami province around the Tenbun era, not Kaga,  but Sasama adds that there is no extant piece bearing the name and doubts his existance. One final point is that the kanji Ie- is not at all usual among Myochin smiths, by far the majority using Mune- . Having said that, I have a helmet by a Myochin Ietsugu who was a Soshu smith.  I haven't the list of Kaga armour makers to hand at the moment, they are on another computer. I will try and remember to look tomorrow.

Ian Bottomley

 

 

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Indeed, it has a strong Haruta appearance!

On the other hand, we know similar works also from the Kojima Myôchin line of armorers. Smiths like Munetaka, Munenao or Munehisa....

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when I think of Soshu zaboshi, I have the Odawara Katsuie (相州小田原明珎勝家) as a reference, see picture.  Gary's kabuto however is quite different.   The quality and execution seems a lot better on Gary's kabuto.  I can follow Ian if he thinks on the elaborate Kaga zaboshi.     Always learning..

katsuiye2.JPG

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What does everyone think about it potentially being Gimei? For me there are several red flags:
1. There is doubt that the smith ever existed.
2. There are no other examples for comparison.
3. The work does not appear to align with the working dates of the smith.

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Well Thomas,

 

there is actually a residual risk that it’s gimei....of course!

On the other hand, does it make sense to “fake” an, more or less, dubious smith who has left no other “famous” pieces?

In any case I wasn’t able to find another reference example. One of the few records, in which he is listed, the SKM, puts him roughly in the Momoyama period. But obviously without great confidence in terms of working place and affiliation.
So we have a nebulous smith with unclear pedigree and questionable creative period.

 

This presented specimen might meet the criteria of an Momoyama/early Edo kabuto and is “tidy” signed.

Now it’s up to us, how to judge this helmet....

 

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I can follow Thomas' thoughts here very well.   this was also my doubt.  

what do we have:

Sasama writes about such a smith, with no surviving works known.

the quality does not correspond with the early Soshu or Odawara works. (this kabuto here is better, smells edo)

what we also  have, and this is quite unknown, also the Ichiguchi Myochin made this kind of kabuto during the early edo period.

the genealogy of the Ichiguchi is far from complete, It may be an unrecorded smith.

If it is the one mentioned in the SMZ, I think we have to wait till more kabuto pop up.

this kabuto has similarities with the late Soshu smiths.  If it is one of them, it is certainly made after the troubled period of the battle of Odawara, wich was a turning point in the production of armor allover Japan.

I think we have to wait till more works from this smith appear, before we can be sure.

 

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Yes I think so ! To me there is a difference between seeing a gimei on a lesser work or trying to determine if a signature on a good work is shoshin. Time will tell on the good work so it's not necessary to rush to a decision. I see sayagaki on swords by Mr. Tanobe where he States that the group called it X because a consensus could not be reached on Y frequently

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Thank you very much , I am just trying to learn and hearing all comments were of a great help to me. I'm sure it would be more helpful to have the piece in hand when trying to determine who made it. I have to stick a scope down the Tehen yet to see if it is signed. Again thank you for sharing your knowledge. 

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