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The use of shields and what form they took

 
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Prime
Peasant
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:15 pm    Post subject: The use of shields and what form they took Reply with quote
I'm reading Legends of the Samurai by Hiroaki Sato, and the translation of "The Duel" between Minamoto no Mitsuru and Taira no Yoshifumi from Konjaku Monogatari Shu mentions the use of shields. In reference to the two opposing armies:

"The two sides were about a hundred yards apart, each with shields lined up in front."

and

"He [Mitsuru] then detached himself from the shields, alone on horseback, and stood, with a fork-tipped arrow ready on his bow."

To me these imply stationary shields or barriers. Is this correct? What would such shields actually look like?
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Graculus
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Yes, they had large, not very mobile 'shields', similar to the pavisse used in medieval Europe by crossbowmen etc.

To see a picture, go here:


Graculus

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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Shields, or tate, were most often pavises at this time. I've heard of a few handheld versions, and I've seen people running with them to cover as they get close to a castle, but since you are usually shooting a bow or wielding a polearm of some kind, you need your hands free.

The form of the tate is usually a series of planks held together by iron bands, or something similar, with a prop in back.

Here's an example:


You can see another example in the corner, here:


FWIW, Japanese warriors did have hand-held shields. There is an iron shield in the National Museum in Tokyo, and there are many examples in haniwa figures. They disappear along with the ritsuryo conscript armies, replaced by the more mobile pony warriors, with their horse and bow, and only the pavises remain.

-Josh
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Prime
Peasant
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Many thanks. Those are some great pictures and they certainly help in visualizing the story.

Cheers!
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