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Which Daimyo/family mon book is recommended


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Hello,I just received ''the elements of Japanese design by Dower,unfortunately it is not even close with the information I was hoping for.Can anyone recommend a book on Japanese family mon which has the names of the individual or family that the crest was used by,Elements of Japanese design has virtually no information on this.I would prefer a book in English but any other language such as Japanese or German would be great

regards

Andrew Freeston

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The problem you will encounter is that the major families used three or four principle mon - the combination of these helped people to recognize not just the family but the generations. Over 250 plus years many second sons, cousins, retainers and servants were granted use of mon, therefore unless a mon is very unique it is a fools errand to try and associate a single object with a single family from a single mon. Add to this the fact that once the Shogun fell, everyone was encouraged to adopt a mon so anyone could be a Tokugawa, a Toyotomi or an Uesugi if they wanted.

 

Mon books in Japan are thousands of pages long, listing thousands of families. If you are dealing with antiques and the object has several mon on it you need the Taisei Bukan, The Who's Who of Tokugawa Japan - it lists all the major Daimyo and Hatamoto along with their titles, income and mon. Keep in mind also that there were several editions of the book printed throughout the Edo period, so the families and mon do change over time...

 

-t

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Most late Edo mon are  a waste of time trying to associate with a certain family etc, and especially on koshirae.
They became basically decorative at some point and usually lead nowhere.

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Agreeing sadly and reluctantly with the above advice. I have several books on Mon, including three or four Bukan, all helping to some degree, but none of which is exclusively better, merely approaching from slightly different angles. Between them I strike it lucky every so often. You will need to do a bit of cross-checking too as the information is not always the same, and many Mon were different in some tiny but (to that family) vital detail

 

One Mon I got really stuck on and finally sent if off to the web owner of a huge family Kamon/Mon site in Japan. Alas, he could not help me out.

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Hi Andrew,

 

if you now not totally discouraged by the above statements, then try Hawley/Chappelear “Mon, The Japanese family crest” (a quite useful standard work)!

There are others available on the western market, but you have to start somewhere. The big Japanese books are mostly expensive and hard to navigate for a non native speaker….

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Hi,Thanks for your help and advice.I have looked into buying the book recommended - Hawley/Chappelear “Mon, The Japanese family crest” but have only found 2 sellers,the webpage for the author,dated 2007 in which the only way to buy it is by writing to him inclosing payment,no creditcards or paypal,this seems rather complex.I haven't had a chequebook since about 1995,the book is c$32.,and one seller on Abebooks who wants $125.Ebay didn't have it nor did Alibris or biblio.can you tell me if you know another seller.I found the book online(downloadable) but I much prefer a hardcopy of books as downloadable books seem a bit unfair to the author and I hate reading books with various e-book readers

regards

Andrew

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I recommend that book as well, Andrew (Mon, the Japanese Family Crest).  I had to buy a second copy when my daughter in law borrowed my copy and never brought it back.  It pops up every now and then on ebay or Abe or Amazon, so just be patient.  

 

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Another approach: If you have a particular location in Japan that you know an object or family came from, and if you're able to visit in person, then go to cemeteries (and their associated temples) and ask around. Nihongo fluency is probably required...

But like others said, if you don't have some provenance details to start with, matching a kamon with a name is very unlikely.

 

Pete

 

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Hello,thank you to all for your help and advice.I really appreciate it.I have been buying gunpowder and shot bags for years but have recently bought some Japanese items,so I have a couple of questions related to that.I have 2 books that have coverage of these items-Tanegashima vol 1 and the best I've found,it's all in Japanese,so I dont know its name so I've attached a photo of the cover,I'd like to know if there are any other books on Japanese powderflasks,ammunition bags etc I should look out for.My last question relates to powderflasks that have had a family crest painted or glued on by a current seller,because I saw a powderflask with 2 flags on which sold for about $40 on yahoo Japan and sadly the buyer is now trying to offload it on ebay for around $900,I don't have a problem with people selling items for profit although I do think this profit is disgusting,my problem is that he has added a small circular metal item with a Tokugawa crest to one side and doesn't say he has done this so it's really just a ripoff,but I would like to know if this is common with powderflasks or even in general.I have uploaded both the picture from Yahoo auctions and the picture in the ebay listing(it's currently listed) and as you can see it's the same item except for the fake family crest thats added to it,also is it acceptable to name a creep like this so others are aware to be careful or is it best to just ignore it,personally I would hope that someone would tell me

regards

Andrew

11MarchEbayJapanPowderflasks.jpg

buyeeoriginal.jpg

alteredSide.jpg

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Hi Andrew,

That book The Ogawa Collection was written by a museum curator friend of mine here. Probably the best there is on this subject. 
Re Japanese powder flasks in general.

A for coarse powder (large)

B for priming power (relatively smaller.

 

Generally they each follow a construction to best optimize their usage. There are some regional differences. We need to learn the basic construction patterns of each type first as these will cover around 90% of genuine flasks that come up.

 

There are exceptions, there are fakes, there are broken (and fixed) examples.

 

One photo of a flask does not provide enough information to make a decision on its origin. The flask you show has no fixtures that I can see, and I would like to see what is under the (temporary?) bamboo cap. It could have been a nice lacquer object at birth . The age split was unfortunate but someone has thought to disguise that (and strengthen it, stop it going further), with a crossed Taka no ha feathers Mon. The fan was already a Mon.
$900 (US?) does seem quite hopeful!!! 

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