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how to recognize certain era's look in fittings and the like

 
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katsuyuki
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:55 am    Post subject: how to recognize certain era's look in fittings and the like Reply with quote
Hello!

May I ask a question?

I am a living historian/re-enactor. I began researching the Sengoku era around 1999 and have become nearly obsessed with the era. I have spent the last 3 years creating an ashigaru impression with my own hands. To illustrate my commitment, a photo of my impressions' kit (at about 90% complete) is here....

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u178/tk0580/eryndor/ashigaru01.jpg

Now that I understand more about creating the armour; I am working on a provincial samurai kit, from the Sanada clan, around the time of the battle of Kawanakajima.

I am in search of a reproduction sword to augment my kit. While I can recreate the armour and have learned a lot about its nuances and construction, I know almost nothing about how the daisho has changed over the years.

My question is this: what marked the look of a daisho set from around the mid to late 1500's? How were the fittings different from modern "katanas" that are machined by the thousands today? I do know that they no longer used the under-slung tachi by this time; instead switching to the uchigatna and tanto (or wakizashi) being placed curve-up in the sash.

A non-sharpened iaido practice blade can be given new fittings so I can use it in a re-enactment. We only use blunted, non-sharpened weapons at re-enactments of coarse. It’s a matter of having the correct fittings that concerns me. It is such a waste to spend the years I dedicate into creating these costumes and armour for myself, only to loose the authenticity by using modern-looking accoutrements.

Anyway, if you have any photos of what a mounted mid to late 1500's daisho set should look like; I would be forever in your debt in helping me understand how I should dress the naked blade I will buy. Or if I can even find a reproduction that looks correct, so much the better! I just don’t know what I am looking at! lol

I thank you ever so kindly for any help you might provide.

Kindest regards,
-Jason Adams

Rogue Artist: Freelance Illustrator
www.Rogue-Artist.com

Living History/Re-enacting: American Civil War, 15th century Germany, 16th Century Japan, Ancient Greece and Rome
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi Jason, I am not sure you need a daisho. Most ashigaru tended to have one sword as a back-up weapon this being, a lot of the time, a wakizashi or chizugatana. An uchigatana wouldn't look out of place. However if it's a daisho you want, so be it. Online look for pre-Momoyama tousogu, sword fittings. For ashigaru simple plain iron fittings would be appropriate. Remember, these were not rich daimyo or such but simple part time warriors (depending on time-line). John
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A.L.Mundell
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Depending on where you live Jason, there ought to be a sword show somewhere close to you where you can view the real McCoy. This year in San Fransisco is the Northern California Japanese Sword Club Token Kai in August. I am sure they have an equivalent show near you. If you are going to purchase a real tamahagane iaito you may be able to pick up the real hardware for about the same price. Bargains can be had but so can the buyer so I suggest doing some research on tsuba and menuki. They will have all the supplies you need to do your own and probably a book on how. If you have never done it before I suggest you do a lot of study before you do or be prepared to go through a lot of tsuka ito braid.Wrapping tsuka-ito and cutting same(ray skin) is best left to someone who does it. Fitting a mekugi pin is also a skill if you don't want it to rattle. Since your obviously enamoured of this history period the benefits of going this way will be worth the rewards and risks. You might want to practice on your own blade until you get it right but get lots of business cards to talk to the Sword Gods. Good Luck! oh yea,your costume is great!

~A~
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katsuyuki
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thank you both for your kind responses.

Im actually in the process of upgrading my armour to a provincial samurai Smile No more lowly ashigaru for me LOL

The challenge of fitting new hardware to a blade is something I relish the thought of. Twisted Evil Though, Im sure I will groan and complain for weeks before I get it right! lol Luckily there is a Bushido Kai America dojo nearby and another dojo (that's kinda hard to find) that does karate and either iaijutsu or kendo or something like that. I will ask them if they can recommend someone to talk to about showing me the techniques of wrapping the ito(?), the braid.

One of my best friends' grandfather collects oriental weaponry (his collection of tsuba alone is astounding) and though I havent seen the gentleman in years, I keep telling myself I need to get over there and pick his brain.

I live in Northwest Ohio, the nearest metropolis is Toledo, Ohio. Lots of gun shows, but Ive never heard of a sword show Sad Hence, I can't thank sites like this one enough!

-Jason
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Have you checked out places like Aoi-Art or other dealers? They often mention the year or era (if known). You could use that to collect pictures of various items and when they are from.

Here are some pictures to look through. I usually take a placard picture with any museum shot to have the info on hand, so if you flip through the photos you may find it. Sorry for the quality on some of the photos--I've been meaning to clean this up for a couple of years now:

http://flickr.com/photos/tatsushu/284663830/in/set-72157600772093455/

http://flickr.com/photos/tatsushu/284664768/in/set-72157600772093455/

http://flickr.com/photos/tatsushu/284665246/in/set-72157600772093455/

Not much. I'll see if I have more lying around somewhere. I think most of my photos I still haven't uploaded (and I need to clean out what I have, as I mentioned).

-Josh
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katsuyuki
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
thank you Josh!

I have tried to troll around some of the dealers. Most of them have a blade from the correct era, but if its mounted its with later (like Edo era) fittings Sad

I appreciate the images youve sent!
-Jason
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Ignore the blades... go straight for the accessories. Look at the lists of tsuba, kashira, menuki, etc. without looking at the blades, per se. That should help you find more of what you're looking for.

Although, for what it's worth, my experience has been that pre-Edo equipment (that isn't in a museum or special collection) tends to be quite plain. Edo period equipment seems much more intricate, with more work done. This is probably due in great part to the position of the daisho as a part of the 'uniform' and as much an article of clothing and jewelry as functional implements.

-Josh
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I don't have a lot of pre-Momoyama fittings but the ko-Kinko and tosho tsuba here http://www.johnstuart.biz/new_page_11.htm
are good examples, as well as the ko-Goto menuki here
http://www.johnstuart.biz/new_page_9.htm
They are really simple wabi sabi type tousogu.
John
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
You've some nice items John.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks, Carlo. A lot not on site yet but I'm progressing. John
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katsuyuki
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
excellent thanks again!

Very nice collection John Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hey Shin No Sen Johnsan, great websight! a lot of love goin on! Very Happy I was talking to someone the other day about tassles on Imperial Army/Navy swords,they said a new reproduction is nearly as expensive as a real one? Are they hard to construct?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Hi ALM, I have seen repros for $50 that look exactly like originals that go $120 to $1000 for a general officers tassel. The only way to tell is to burn some thread. The repros have synthetic fibres and a distinctive smell. I haven't had repros to prove this though. John
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kendoka girl
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Very Happy That is a beautiful set of replica armor.
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katsuyuki
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The replica O-yoroi in Josh's museum photos, or another one? I had e-chatted last year with one of the fellows who worked on that O-yoroi. Very nice guy, does amazing repair/reconstruction work.

Ill try to figure out which bookmark of mine (among the hundreds) showcases his stuff.....

-Jason
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