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GN174

Signature? inside Dou -

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Signature.thumb.jpg.94a3c23bef29375c6248558d190496ee.jpg2112376677_DouWriting.thumb.jpg.bad9547a2551861d0335e0b9b2ae3ebb.jpg

 

Any help on translation but also meaning would be gratefully appreciated

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Welcome Graham!  :)

 

Down the right it says 岩井源兵衛 

Spoiler

= "Iwai Genbei", the Iwai being a famous school/family of armourers.

They originated in Nara but were called to Edo to work for Tokugawa Ieyasu. Working in Edo, Musashi no Kuni, they stretch from the beginning right to the end of the Edo Period.

 

Down the left side starts with 三 and has been (maybe) deliberately erased. Is it still legible??? Perhaps the family selling this were ashamed to be doing so. Or maybe it's naturally rubbed there...?

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Can you share some pics of the whole dō please?!

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Thank you, will take a closer photo of the rubbed section and also post pictures of whole do

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You are right in that the left side does look like it has been deliberately scratched as no similar wear inside. I have tried to take a few more photos of this side, not sure they are any better than the first one I posted. If there a way in this wonderful age of technology to better reveal this writing, under a different light perhaps, or is what is done, done? What would normally be written there if the name of the armourer is the right hand side, would it be a date or name? I understand the armour is around 1590's if that helps. 

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One last question as you can tell me knowledge on the subject is limited, the more I read and I have now read quite a few books, the more complex the topic appears. Are all armours or pieces of armour generally signed, where would you look for signatures on other pieces generally. 

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Interesting Do all round, and I rather like the elaborate decoration. :thumbsup:

 

丸に平四ツ目 Maru ni Hira Yotsu Me 

宇多源氏・近江源氏の支流に多い。
丸に平四つ目(まるにひらよつめ)

 

 

目結紋の使用家

佐々木、椎屋、斎藤、亀井、京極、朽木、宗、本庄、能勢、吉野、高山、馬場など

目結紋の使用地域

青森、岩手、秋田、京都、長崎

https://irohakamon.com/kamon/meyui/marunihirayotsume.html

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In many cases you have to search around. Signatures can be cut into the iron, or painted in (red) lacquer like yours, but many pieces were unsigned. 

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in  the case of Iwai, this should be exceptional, if so most probably on the inside, the back of the kusazuri,  suneate, kote.   In that case, it will probably be the inventory numbers, red urushi on a dark  background.

Interesting dou!  Is it nerikawa (lacquered leather)?

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Is it nerikawa (lacquered leather)? - not sure how I know this, very new to this field. Seems to be cast iron. 

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I was told that the full armour set which I have was previously on display at Hikone castle about 40 years ago, any thoughts on how I find out would be appreciated as I guess they would have all the background.

 

Thank you all for your help to date it is much appreciated. 

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5 hours ago, GN174 said:

Is it nerikawa (lacquered leather)? - not sure how I know this, very new to this field. Seems to be cast iron. 

 

Graham, try the old magnet test...

 

Very interesting dou indeed! Is that a haramaki type opening I see in the back? If so, I don't think I've ever seen a solid plate haramaki dou before - and how would the dou be closed?

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A very interesting dô as said above!

Later adorned and hard to place in time. Even the "Genbei" signature doesn't get us any further for the moment....

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Left side supposedly says  三郎左衛門 Saburō Saemon (according to an auction site that was selling this)

I can't see anything other than the 三, and maybe the lower part of the final character 門.

 

The auction site said Saburō Saemon was the son of Genbei, and that this was a gassaku (collaboration).

 

An internet search showed that there was a set of armor by Genbei which was shown at the Hikone Castle Museum as part of an exhibit of the collection of Daimyo Ii Naoaki. No idea if it was this particular item or not. 

 

https://hikone-castle-museum.jp/cms/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/ab1b40f40d8aa3c6a1366da4a3587ae0.pdf

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There are some serious red flags here, it is quite clear that decorative plates and fittings have been added post period. This was originally sold as part of a "set", which was cobbled together from Edo and Showa period components. The Dou has been vandalised, this is unscrupulous behaviour which needs to be condemned. 

https://www.catawiki.com/es/l/47534071-yoroi-cuero-hierro-forjado-seda-japans-samurai-armor-kyogoku-takatsugu-gesigneerd-1590-japon-siglo-xvi

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That the dō was messed around with “lately” is indisputable! 
But despite of that it still remains interesting. If Steve is right with “Saburō Saemon”, the cuirass could be probably placed mid Edo. Or at least refurbished around that time...

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This subject matter is more complex than I had every imagined I hadn't realised that there are so many "fakes" or incorrectly described pieces, having scrolled down the face book link (thank you) it seems buying the genuine as describe article can be difficult. 

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Yes,

only the date is left.....

If forced I would say “安政元年十月”, but I’m not sure 🤔 

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I don't dispute the Kiri were added, but they look to have been placed where other kamon were, the area surrounding the Kiri looks scuffed like a larger item was once there. Maybe part of the "disguise" to hide the family that sold it off.

 

Still an interesting piece.

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10 hours ago, Justin Grant said:

I don't dispute the Kiri were added, but they look to have been placed where other kamon were, the area surrounding the Kiri looks scuffed like a larger item was once there. Maybe part of the "disguise" to hide the family that sold it off.

 

Still an interesting piece.

The lacquer damage is consistent with the holes being drilled after it was lacquered, generally the surface would be lacquered and then the fittings added (this would be true even if it was refurbished in period). That fact that no lacquer remains intact around any of the fittings, that some of the fittings punch though part of the inscription, that there is evidence of other post period modifications all indicate that there was likely never any fittings originally and that the current fittings were likely added post period.

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The Dou, all alterations aside is actually quite interesting, a relatively uncommon form, these Dou are essentially munition/Okashi grade items. The reason it is signed is because the Iwai were often tasked with and responsible for repairing and refurbishing Okashi armour in the Edo period, this is also why there are so many examples of mediocre armour bearing the Iwai inscriptions. Below is an example of similar style of Dou, and another that has an Iwai inscription that sold recently on yahoo. These examples are more indicative of what the Dou originally would have looked like.

1.jpg

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Iwai 1.jpg

Iwai 2.jpg

Iwai 3.jpg

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Has this been altered and modified so heavily so as to be nice looking but not really of any value?  I can absolutely see from the pictures above how the armour has then been lacquer, but do I understand it is the Kiri that are really out of place or very recent modifications? 

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Graham,


I wouldn’t say without any value. But it lost some, because of the “modifications”. As you suppose and was  already mentioned, all the little adornments on the surface are later additions in order to pimp it up.

If you look at the first example Thomas posted (the second is most likely nerikawa), you get an idea how the dō once looked like (except of the color of course). Kind of “Haramaki Hotoke Dō”, so to say....

 

BTW, the discolorations around the attachments could been also caused by a cleaning attempt. Note, that you can spot this  in the corners and edges as well as on the hinges and the holes for the aibiki cords....🤔

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