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Ainu blades etc


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I got out some Ainu knives for a presentation at a local museum and thought there might be some interest in them here. I am not sure these are "Japanese" blades but they ARE related. Indeed, I have formed three collections of Ainu objects, but I've given two of them away and formed this bunch only because they were there. Most of the "blades" are Japanese (or other "Asian') cutlery, but please take a look at the bear face bag that was fitted out with a "netsuke' that we collectors see as a very ordinary iron tsuba. Thank you for looking!

Peter

Ainu blades for HAM.jpg

Bear Bag .jpg

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Chris,

Thanks for your interest. Indeed, these are "primitives". Most are utilitarian Japanese blades - carpenters knives and things like that were fitted out by local carvers up in Hokkaido. There are basically three (3!) types of blades. 1) belt knives - called MAKIRI - that every guy carried I bet. They have trade knive blades and were certainly tools, not weapons. Then there were "Wood knives" which were like machete for use in forestry. Some of those look like they may have laminated blades but they do NOT look like either Nippon-to or Japanese folk tools. Then there were "Swords" - these included either locally produced hirazukuri short swords (no hamon but locally produced engravings etc} OR recycled Japanese sword blades --- all of which look like tired and abused old beat up Nippon-to -- mounted in locally produced , carved wooded, mounts. Clearly, Japan was awash in old sword blades and many of them seem to have traveled up to the "primitive" communities in the north. I have seen "Ezo" fittings - IN BOOKS!.They are rare!.  The pieces that are actually out there to be discovered are universally beat up old Japanese blades or no collectible value - except as "ethnographic art. It seems that folks up in Hokkaido - call'em Ainu - did make iron blades by the Edo period, but most of which there is to be discovered are late 19th to early 20th century tools build of Japanese hardware.

Again, thanks for looking!

Peter

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i seem to remember reading something some years back that was a discussion of the origin of sword smithing in Japan in connection with the Ainu. I can't quote a source, but I seem to recall that some early big names were theorized as being of Ainu descent. Anyone remember something like this?

Thanks for sharing, Peter

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Peter, very interesting collection indeed, thanks for showing it.  I'm instantly reminded of a battered, mumei hirazukuri blade I have that Mother wouldn't have in the house.  A mate close by has another blade of the same sort.  I'm motivated to get these together and post them here FWIW, but don't hold your breath.  We're still in lockdown here for a few more daze and I haven't had my second AZ shot yet.

 

BaZZa 'Gunnadoo' Thomas.

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Barry -(you will forgive me for recalling your old name),

I have fallen in with the bowie knife collectors here in Arkansas. They meet at the Historic Arkansas Museum and I figured it wouldn't hurt them a bit to see this stuff.  AND I also took the opportunity to punch "Ainu" into Flea Bay - - and guess what happened. I bought a little knife and a carved wooden sagemono. Stuff is still out there!

And I well understand that Victoria is taking the lockdown very seriously. My grandsons seem to be missing a lot of school. So take you time and show me what you got!

All the best

Peter

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