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Kote and protection for the thumb. Tony ?

 
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Tsubame1
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:58 am    Post subject: Kote and protection for the thumb. Tony ? Reply with quote
Hi all.

I'm making a research about the introduction of
Kote in Japan. I've been surprised in finding that
T'ang China had no Kote while Japan in the Kofun
period had.

Of course, I'm missing something but the japanese
armor topic with its Tanko/Keiko is very intriguing.

What is the oldest know example (either depicted,
sculpted or real) of Kote ?

And, even more intriguing, when Kote begun so
elaborate to include a protection for the thumb ?

Tony, any suggested reading about this very matter ?

Thanks for your time and patience.

Carlo
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tang era "kote"?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tatsushu/4288204102/

I'm not sure, but it seems like something covering the back of the hand--proto-tekko?

Here's an example from the Korean National Museum of mainland armor style:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tatsushu/3489499910/in/set-72157617493268793/

I could swear I've seen them in pictures of various generals, but admit I cannot find them, yet. I'll keep looking.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi Josh.

Sorry for late reply.

Thanks for the pics, especially the one from
the National Museum. From another China history site
I've got similar replies in which seems that Kote
in China and Korea were at best used to protect the forearm, if nor absent at all. I'm specifucally searching for something that protect both the upper hand and the thumb, to try to link it to the purpose of the tsuba. Early japanese kote, contemporary to the one you posted, have a protection for the hand but not for the thumb (yet).

I've been addressed to check for Koguryo cataphract cavalry, to check if something closer might have been present.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
How much protection do you expect to see?

Also, in what way are you thinking it connects to a tsuba? I would think it would be more connected to polearms and spears, if there is an armor-weapon connection I would expect it to be here, rather than in swords (as much as we both like them).

Alternatively, it might have also been a "fashion" issue--have you considered that the thumb extension on the tekkou might have just been something that they though looked good?

-Josh
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Guess I'm on the wrong track.

Trying to find out why the hell chineses fought
from Han to Mid-T'ang without both Tsuba and hand armor (and continued to avoid use of hand armor) while Japan had both as soon as he begun to produce armor.

As per the fashion matter it might be as seems a later addition, but i always start to search for
a functional reason when weaponry is concerned.
I agree that most items evolved into fashionable additions in later times.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tsubame1 wrote:
Guess I'm on the wrong track.

Trying to find out why the hell chineses fought
from Han to Mid-T'ang without both Tsuba and hand armor (and continued to avoid use of hand armor) while Japan had both as soon as he begun to produce armor.

As per the fashion matter it might be as seems a later addition, but i always start to search for
a functional reason when weaponry is concerned.
I agree that most items evolved into fashionable additions in later times.


This is an observation. Armoured sleeves appearing when the hand-held shield was lacking?

Han, Tang, Greeks and Romans fought with large shields held by the left arm. The use of the shield provided the protection for the unarmored arm. The Chinese had large shoulder protections that could extend down to the elbow.

NOTE: The Romans started wearing their version of the 'kote', articulated plates protecting the right or both arms. The same types used by gladiators. This was in response to the Dacian's scythe-like falx swords that could go around the Roman shields.

Roman heavy cavalry would evolve to fight with long lances held by both hands. Shields would not be used so these horsemen wore mail sleeves or articulated arm protections. Probably copied from their Parthian and Sassanid enemies whose heavy cavalry had armoured sleeves, some with metal protection for the hand.

In the cultures mentioned above, swords often did not have 'tsuba'-like sword guards when fighting with hand-held shields. Infantry fought behind a 'shield wall', the sword arm thrusting through openings in the shield wall.

The blocking of an enemy sword blow was done with the shield, so maybe the idea of protection for the hand and thumb was not so apparent?

Early Mongols did not have armoured sleeves, but were equipped with shields for hand-to-hand combat. Later Mongol heavy cavalry using glaive or lances with both hands would wear armoured sleeves and articulated protections for hands and fingers.


Last edited by evalerio on Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:47 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Here is a 16th century armour that illustrates what Evalerio is describing. Way later than the period Carlo is talking about. John

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Carlo I wonder if at the time besides the infantry that used a shield in combination with the sword as evidenced by old paintings, as Evalerio mentioned, the ring pommeled sword with small or no hand guard was a secondary weapon for mounted archers much as the Japanese were early on. I think armoured gauntlets would be impractical. Foot soldiers would use pole weapons primarily and hand protection would be of lesser importance. Also in the Chinese styles of swordplay gauntlets would interfere with agility of the wielder, as I have been told. Subsequently as curved dao like swords developed, hand guards became larger. I remember seeing a picture of Chinese hand protection comprised of rings, I'll look for that pic. John
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Here is the pic Carlo. It seems to protect the wrist and still leaves the hand protected only by the sword guard. It mentions that the drawing comes from a painting on silk in the Beijing Palace Museum (Tibet?) and is by/of Zhang Yuechuang. Someone that can read Chinese may translate this better.


Here is the description a little easier to read, I hope.
环首弯刀,摘自〈搜山图〉局部,原画绢本设色(北京故 宫博物院藏)(张悦幢陆)
John
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Great feedbacks Emmanuel and John.

Here is my problem. It is believed that round guards and curved swords have been imported during the T'ang from the steppae. T'ang are famous for their curiosity toward anything was "exotic". Kinda of "fashion" rather than functional need as China didn't put aside the shield until later times.

However, the shield/hand armor matter is an interesting possibility. But in Japan curved swords were mainly intended for cavalry, in which you've little to no danger to have a sword slipping onto your fingers, especially if the hands are already protected. WarabiteTo, supposed to be mainly for cavalrymen with bow and no shield, have only a very small tsuba, not functional to stop a blade.

I wonder if the stirrup played a role too.During a "charge" a curved blade is less prone to remain blocked by bones into the body of your target using the point, still maintaining the advantages of a better slashing motion. Armoured arms protects from outside's strikes while a large tsuba avoid the danger to have your unarmoured palm slipping onto the blade enabling you to maximize the attack with point maintaining stability with the stirrupps.
Previously, no stittups = less stability. Enough for a spear in which you have room for some hand-slipping onto the pole to absorb the shock, not enough for a sword used point-first that doesn't give you such a possibility.

I'm going to save this discussion on my HD for further study, indeed good feedbacks.

BTW here the most ancient chinese close-to-round tsuba I've been able to find so far, T'ang period.
As you can see, it's a straight, double edged jian.
At this time Jian had already begun to be a self-defence and high-rank weapon, not a battlefield one. The steppae influx is evident in the curved handle. It's clearly an high-rank weapon not intended for combat. :





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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
shin no sen wrote:
Here is the pic Carlo. It seems to protect the wrist and still leaves the hand protected only by the sword guard. It mentions that the drawing comes from a painting on silk in the Beijing Palace Museum (Tibet?) and is by/of Zhang Yuechuang. Someone that can read Chinese may translate this better.


Here is the description a little easier to read, I hope.
环首弯刀,摘自〈搜山图〉局部,原画绢本设色(北京故 宫博物院藏)(张悦幢陆)
John


Both online at the same time Laughing

I'm going to ask a translation on a chinese-related weapons forum. Let you know whether and when I get a reply.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
You may enjoy these pics then Carlo. I have a few more, but, they will take some time. Two straight swords and one early curve sword with a cup shaped guard. John




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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks Jhon. The curved one is later then T'ang, possibly Ming, and two have a standard Jian little handguard. But the straight one with tsuba is interesting. Source ?
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Last edited by Tsubame1 on Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Iron and Steel Swords of China by Jiang Huangfu.

装在黯中的水龙 金(日本奈良正仓院藏) (刘刚绘)
Is this saying the sword in the red scabbard is actually Japanese of the Nara period?
明申早期错银双龙
八宝纹铁锤仿倭式腰刀
(怅义瑶藏)
This is the caption for the curved sword. It just says early period for it’s age and that it is a small waist sword. It mentions the structure of the blade.
John
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
shin no sen wrote:
Iron and Steel Swords of China by Jiang Huangfu.

装在黯中的水龙 金(日本奈良正仓院藏) (刘刚绘)
Is this saying the sword in the red scabbard is actually Japanese of the Nara period?
明申早期错银双龙


To me it seemes to say that's preserved into Nara Shōsōin reservoir, but I may be wrong.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tsubame1 wrote:
装在黯中的水龙 金(日本奈良正仓院藏) (刘刚绘)
Is this saying the sword in the red scabbard is actually Japanese of the Nara period?
明申早期错银双龙
To me it seemes to say that's preserved into Nara Shōsōin reservoir, but I may be wrong.
 It does say so. 仓 is modern Chinese for 倉、so 正倉院, and XX蔵is often used in books with photos of art objects, etc. saying where an object is located or who owns it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
shin no sen wrote:
Here is the pic Carlo. It seems to protect the wrist and still leaves the hand protected only by the sword guard. It mentions that the drawing comes from a painting on silk in the Beijing Palace Museum (Tibet?) and is by/of Zhang Yuechuang. Someone that can read Chinese may translate this better.


Here is the description a little easier to read, I hope.
环首弯刀,摘自〈搜山图〉局部,原画绢本设色(北京故 宫博物院藏)(张悦幢陆)
John


Translation from my chinese-language friend Yun:

quote...

环首弯刀,摘自〈搜山图〉局部,原画绢本设色(北京故宫博物院藏)
"Ring-pomelled curved saber, detail from Rounding up demons in the mountains, a painting on silk with color (collection of the Beijing Forbidden City Museum)"

Details on the painting are given here:
http://baike.baidu.com/view/1508564.html

It is a late Southern Song or early Yuan scroll painting depicting the spirit troops of the god Erlang hunting and exterminating demons.

Parts of the painting can be seen at
http://www.wenhuacn.com/meishu/minghua/03s...renwuhua32a.jpg
http://www.wenhuacn.com/meishu/minghua/03s...renwuhua32b.jpg
http://www.wenhuacn.com/meishu/minghua/03s...renwuhua32c.jpg
http://www.wenhuacn.com/meishu/minghua/03s...renwuhua32d.jpg

The full scroll: http://www.wenhuacn.com/meishu/minghua/03s.../renwuhua32.jpg


...unquote
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
So, maybe a mythological sword with no real examples made? John
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's possible that it depicts something real as
even the T'ang Jian depicted in my previous post has a similar ring, but if another bigger metal ring
would have been added I wonder if it shouldn't have survived too, at least in a few examples.

Or possibly we're supposing it's a metal ring while
in the artist's intention it would have been a
leather cord...

Maybe the image is a mix of reality and imagination.
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