Japanese

212 items found
basket0
A Very Fine Antique, Ancestral Chisa Katana Sword in Crew Gunto Mounts Signed Jumyo, Shinto. Swords By Jumyo Were Very Often Gifted to Noble Family Daimyo, As They Were Considered Very Auspicious

A Very Fine Antique, Ancestral Chisa Katana Sword in Crew Gunto Mounts Signed Jumyo, Shinto. Swords By Jumyo Were Very Often Gifted to Noble Family Daimyo, As They Were Considered Very Auspicious

A beautiful antique Shinto ancestral blade, over 350 years old, bearing a suguha hamon in delightful polish, with two mekugi-ana and it is signed Jumyo, mounted for use in WW2, by a Japanese officer, likely of noble birth {due to him bearing a Jumyo blade in his sword}, in full military pattern officer sword mounts that are in superb untouched condition.

The Jumyo (寿命) school has its origins from Yamato (Nara prefecture) and moved to Mino province (Gifu prefecture) in the Kamakura period (1185-1333). The tradition continued for centuries, right up until the end of the Edo period in 1868. The main line separated in the 17th century into the Ishikiri and Kondo lineages. In addition, there were also the Owari-Jumyo. This line resulted from a migration of Mino smiths to Owari following Ieyasu Tokugawa’s defeat of the Imagawa clan. The Shodai of the Owari-Jumyo, Tango no kami Fujiwara Jumyo, was also the first in the Ishikiri lineage. The Owari-Jumyo lasted five generations (1579-1804).

The name Jumyo has been thought as very auspicious for longevity and used for gift and many swordsmiths used the same name for generations. It was believed that those who possessed a Jumyo blade were blessed with good fortune and longevity. Jumyo swords had a deserved reputation as wazamono blades with very good cutting ability. Interestingly, a superstition arose that a cut from a Jumyo sword would never heal. Presumably this was a comment on both the cutting ability of this school’s swords and their perceived auspicious nature.

Its super blade was made around 370 years ago, and thus this sword would have seen service by up to 20 samurai within it's service lifetime. Then, by its very last owner it was mounted and taken to war by likely the eldest son, a pilot, from a family with samurai ancestry. The Japanese fighter plane often had a metal container within the cockpit that would hold the pilots katana. Although the pilot was never expected to need his sword while on a mission, he was expected to die with it if his plane should crash or explode, and if his plane was to crash land, and he survived, he would have a sword to maintain his life in potential enemy territory.

Every single item from The Lanes Armoury is accompanied by our unique Certificate of Authenticity. Part of our continued dedication to maintain the standards forged by us over the past 100 years of our family’s trading

Blade 21.5 inches tsuba to tip.
Overall 37.5 inches long in saya  read more

Code: 25331

5450.00 GBP

A Wonderful Shinto 'Shishi' Katana With All Original Edo Period Koshirae of Exemplary Museum Grade Fittings based on The Mythical Protectors of The Shinto Shrines, the Shishi Lion-Dogs

A Wonderful Shinto 'Shishi' Katana With All Original Edo Period Koshirae of Exemplary Museum Grade Fittings based on The Mythical Protectors of The Shinto Shrines, the Shishi Lion-Dogs

A typical example of a very fine katana of a seieibushi (elite samurai) traditionally the Highest rank of elite samurai. Circa 1670, with a most fine hon-zukuri blade form with suguha hamon, mumei; and a wonderful iron sumiiri kakugata tsuba with shishiaibori decoration of a shishi lion dog below a waterfall, with complimentary matching mino-goto fuchi, fabulous large shishi lion-dog menuki in shakudo with pure gold inlay highlights; set within its original beautiful Edo period saya of a combination of ribbed and lobster-scale urishi lacquer. The fuchi is Goto school of deep takebori of gold and shakudo catydids and insects, with a carved polished buffalo horn kashira. Tradition black tsuka Ito wrapped over the fabulous menuki on the samegawa {giant rayskin}

Shishi (or Jishi) is translated as "lion” but it can also refer to a deer or dog with magical properties and the power to repel evil spirits. A pair of shishi traditionally stand guard outside the gates of Japanese Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, although temples are more often guarded by two Nio Protectors. The Shishi (like the Nio) are traditionally depicted in pairs, one with mouth open and one with mouth shut. The opened/closed mouth relates to Ah (open mouth) and Un (closed mouth). “Ah" is the first sound in the Japanese alphabet, while "N" (pronounced "un") is the last. These two sounds symbolize beginning and end, birth and death, and all possible outcomes (from alpha to omega) in the cosmic dance of existence. The first letter in Sanskrit is "Ah" as well, but the last is "Ha." Nonetheless, the first and last sounds produced by the mouth are "Ah" and "M." The Sanskrit "m" and the Japanese "n" sound exactly the same when hummed with mouth closed. The spiritual Sanskrit terms AHAM and AUM thus encapsulate the first letter-sound (mouth open) and the final sound (mouth closed). Others say the open mouth is to scare off demons, and the closed mouth to shelter and keep in the good spirits. The circular object often shown beneath their feet is the Tama 玉, or sacred Buddhist jewel, a symbol of Buddhist wisdom that brings light to darkness and holds the power to grant wishes.
The Incredible Story of Japanese Lacquer on Samurai Swords Scabbards, called Saya

Japanese lacquer, or urushi, is a transformative and highly prized material that has been refined for over 7000 years.
Cherished for its infinite versatility, urushi is a distinctive art form that has spread across all facets of Japanese culture from the tea ceremony to the saya scabbards of samurai swords
Japanese artists created their own style and perfected the art of decorated lacquerware during the 8th century. Japanese lacquer skills reached its peak as early as the twelfth century, at the end of the Heian period (794-1185). This skill was passed on from father to son and from master to apprentice.

Some provinces of Japan were famous for their contribution to this art: the province of Edo (later Tokyo), for example, produced the most beautiful lacquered pieces from the 17th to the 18th centuries. Lords and shoguns privately employed lacquerers to produce ceremonial and decorative objects for their homes and palaces.
The varnish used in Japanese lacquer is made from the sap of the urushi tree, also known as the lacquer tree or the Japanese varnish tree (Rhus vernacifera), which mainly grows in Japan and China, as well as Southeast Asia. Japanese lacquer, 漆 urushi, is made from the sap of the lacquer tree. The tree must be tapped carefully, as in its raw form the liquid is poisonous to the touch, and even breathing in the fumes can be dangerous. But people in Japan have been working with this material for many millennia, so there has been time to refine the technique!
Flowing from incisions made in the bark, the sap, or raw lacquer is a viscous greyish-white juice. The harvesting of the resin can only be done in very small quantities.
Three to five years after being harvested, the resin is treated to make an extremely resistant, honey-textured lacquer. After filtering, homogenization and dehydration, the sap becomes transparent and can be tinted in black, red, yellow, green or brown.
Once applied on an object, lacquer is dried under very precise conditions: a temperature between 25 and 30°C and a humidity level between 75 and 80%. Its harvesting and highly technical processing make urushi an expensive raw material applied in exceptionally fine successive layers, on objects such as bowls or boxes.After heating and filtering, urushi can be applied directly to a solid, usually wooden, base. Pure urushi dries into a transparent film, while the more familiar black and red colours are created by adding minerals to the material. Each layer is left to dry and polished before the next layer is added. This process can be very time-consuming and labor-intensive, which contributes to the desirability, and high costs, of traditionally made lacquer goods. The skills and techniques of Japanese lacquer have been passed down through the generations for many centuries. For four hundred years, the master artisans of Zohiko’s Kyoto workshop have provided refined lacquer articles for the imperial household

Blade 28.5 inches long from tsuba to tip. Overall 40.5 inches long in saya.

Every single item from The Lanes Armoury is accompanied by our unique Certificate of Authenticity. Part of our continued dedication to maintain the standards forged by us over the past 100 years of our family’s trading  read more

Code: 25304

8975.00 GBP

A Most Beautiful O-Tanto Signed Kanenori Circa 1530

A Most Beautiful O-Tanto Signed Kanenori Circa 1530

With double hi Bo-hi on the omote and a single wide hi on the obverse side, and traces of a carved horimono of a Buddhist bonji, and an irregular gunome hamon. A simply beautiful and most rare form of original Edo period black lacquer saya, with twin side scooped panels decorated with crushed abilone shell. Pale green silk ito and jolly nice fittings including a very fine quality carved kashira decorated with engraved ponies. The tsuba ia square form with a very wide mimi rim in rope pattern. This is a delightful and large tanto of much beauty. Very nice kozuka decorated with gold, and featuring mount Fuji with fisherman on its coastline.

Every single item from The Lanes Armoury is accompanied by our unique Certificate of Authenticity. Part of our continued dedication to maintain the standards forged by us over the past 100 years of our family’s trading

24.5 inches length overall, blade length 13.5 inches long tsuba to tip  read more

Code: 22490

3250.00 GBP

A Very Fine Indeed Samurai Shinto Wakizashi with Original Edo Goto School Dragon Fittings of Shakudo and Gold & An Edo Tettsu Krishitan {Christian} Tsuba

A Very Fine Indeed Samurai Shinto Wakizashi with Original Edo Goto School Dragon Fittings of Shakudo and Gold & An Edo Tettsu Krishitan {Christian} Tsuba

With Goto school pure gold and shakudo fushi kashira decorated with dragons, on a hand punched nanako ground. A most interesting and beautiful quality o-sukashi Krishitan tsuba of a squared-off mokko form cross, decorated with flowing river water and inlaid gold dots representing stars. The Stars and The River as Christian Symbols, are images or symbolic representation with sacred significance. The meanings, origins and ancient traditions surrounding Christian symbols date back to early times when the majority of ordinary people were not able to read or write and printing was unknown. Many were 'borrowed' or drawn from early pre-Christian traditions. It may be that the design of the tsuba confronted the believer to the ambiguity born of a prolonged time of painful secrecy. Surrounded by the threat of violence, even a weapon could bear a hidden symbol of Christianity—the cross.

The Hidden Christians quieted their public expressions and practices of faith in the hope of survival from the great purge. They also suffered unspeakably if captured and failed to renounce their Christian belief.
It also has its optional kodzuka, the hilt decorated with a dragon, and the blade that is signed and with a hamon. Superb original Edo period lacquered saya with a stripe and counter stripe pattern design. Three hole nakago and superb polished Edo blade of a gently undulating notare hamon displaying super grain in the hada. Wakizashi have been in use as far back as the 15th or 16th century. The wakizashi was used as a backup or auxiliary sword; it was also used for close quarters fighting, and also to behead a defeated opponent and sometimes to commit ritual suicide. The wakizashi was one of several short swords available for use by samurai including the yoroi toshi, the chisa-katana and the tanto. The term wakizashi did not originally specify swords of any official blade length and was an abbreviation of "wakizashi no katana" ("sword thrust at one's side"); the term was applied to companion swords of all sizes. It was not until the Edo period in 1638 when the rulers of Japan tried to regulate the types of swords and the social groups which were allowed to wear them that the lengths of katana and wakizashi were officially set.

Kanzan Sato, in his book titled "The Japanese Sword", notes that the wakizashi may have become more popular than the tanto due to the wakizashi being more suited for indoor fighting. He mentions the custom of leaving the katana at the door of a castle or palace when entering while continuing to wear the wakizashi inside. Wakizashi were worn on the left side, secured to the obi waist sash. Although they appear to be likely a relative expensive luxury compared to other antique swords from other nations, they are in fact incredible value for money, for example a newly made bespoke samurai style sword blade from Japan will cost, today, in excess of £11,000, take up to two years to complete, will come with no fittings at all, and will be modern naturally with no historical context or connection to the ancient samurai past in any way at all. Our fabulous original swords can be many, many, hundreds of years old, stunningly mounted as fabulous quality works of art, and may have been owned and used by up to 30 samurai in their working lifetime. Plus, due to their status in Japanese society, look almost as good today as the did possibly up to 400 years ago, or even more. Every katana, tachi, or wakazashi buyer will receive A complimentary sword stand, plus a silk bag, white handling gloves and a white cleaning cloth. .  read more

Code: 23913

5500.00 GBP

A Stunning Japanese 0-Tanto Signed Echizen Kuni ju nin Kanenori Circa 1615

A Stunning Japanese 0-Tanto Signed Echizen Kuni ju nin Kanenori Circa 1615

A very large Japanese samurai dagger around 400 years old possibly Keicho era. Beautifully mounted in its all original Edo period fittings of very fine quality. The takebori tsuba is decorated with a most finely executed dragon with pure gold highlights, and bears a large cursive signature by its maker. The fushigashira are iron inlaid with pure silver wire decoration of tendrils and flowers. The menuki are absolutely delightful of pure gold decorated twin pairs of cockerals in differing poses. The wide and long blade is most imposing, with a very unusual carved hi groove configuration. The original Edo urushi ishime lacquer saya has a fine kozuka utility knife fitted in its pocket that has a gold spiny lobster in takebori on very finely defined nanako ground see below for the detail on the nanako work, the rear of the kozuka handle is raindrop engraved with gold overlay

This beautiful large samurai dagger was made in and around the time of the famous clan conflict at Osaka Castle. In 1614, the Toyotomi clan rebuilt Osaka Castle. At the same time, the head of the clan sponsored the rebuilding of Hoko-ji in Kyoto. These temple renovations included the casting of a great bronze bell, with inscriptions that read "May the state be peaceful and prosperous" (kokka anko), and "May noble lord and servants be rich and cheerful" (kunshin horaku). The shogunate interpreted "kokka anko" as shattering Ieyasu's the Shogun name to curse him, and also interpreted "kunshin horaku" to mean "Toyotomi's force will rise again," which meant treachery against the new Tokugawa shogunate. Tensions began to grow between the Tokugawa and the Toyotomi clans, and only increased when Toyotomi began to gather a force of ronin mercenary samurai who had lost their lord and enemies of the shogunate in Osaka. Ieyasu, despite having passed the title of Shogun to his son in 1605, nevertheless maintained significant influence.

Despite Katagiri Katsumoto's attempts to mediate the situation, Ieyasu found the ideal pretext to take a belligerent attitude against Yodo-dono and Hideyori. The situation worsened for September of that year, when the news reached Edo that in Osaka they were grouping a large quantity of ronin-you are missing without a lord-at the invitation of Hideyori.

Katsumoto proposed to Yodo-dono be sent to Edo as a hostage with the desire to avoid hostilities, to which she flatly refused. Suspect of trying to betray the Toyotomi clan, Yodo-dono finally banished Katsumoto and several other servants accused of treason from Osaka castle, and go to the service of the Tokugawa clan, consequently any possibility of reaching an agreement with the shogunate was dissolved.

This last movement of Yodo-dono, who acted as the guardian of Hideyori, led to the beginning of the siege of Osaka. The siege of Osaka ( Osaka no Eki, or, more commonly, Osaka no Jin) was a series of battles undertaken by the Tokugawa shogunate against the Toyotomi clan, towards the end of the Keicho era, and ending in that clan's destruction. Divided into two stages (winter campaign and summer campaign), and lasting from 1614 to 1615, the siege put an end to the last major armed opposition to the shogunate's establishment. The end of the conflict is sometimes called the Genna Armistice ( Genna Enbu), because the era name was changed from Keicho to Genna immediately following the siege.

Nanako Ji: "fish roe ground" A surface decoration produced by forming very small raised bosses by a sharply struck punch or burin called 'nanako tagane'. Shakudo is the metal most often used, but copper and gold are quite often employed. The harder metals, shibuichi, silver and iron are rarely decorated in this way. The size of the dots vary from 0.04" to 0.008" (25 to 125 and inch) and the regularity of the work is marvelous as the dots must be spaced entirely by touch. The dots are usually arranged in straight lines or in lines parallel to the edge of the piece being decorated, but sometimes in more elaborate patterns. Used on guards since the Momoyama period although the technique existed since much earlier periods. Usually done by specialist 'nanako-shi', but sometimes done by the maker of the guard himself. The articles of sword ornamentation made by the Goto artists were practically all on shakudo grounds with nanako finish; after the emergence of the machibori artisans in the mid-Edo period and the popularity of the newly inspired kozuka, shakudo grounds with nanako finish "became the rage". Nanako finish is probably an evolution and refinement of a very old style finish (which it vaguely resembles); "millet finish", 'awa ishime', which is found on some old armorer tsuba. However, awa ishime consisted of small, round dimples punched into the surface of the ground; on the other hand, nanako is formed by striking the ground with a cup-shaped punch to raise, and project upward from the surface, small semi-hemispheric nipples. Since we find nanako finish on old yamagane grounds, it was in use as early as the Kamakura period. It is note-worthy that a nanako finish on a shakudo ground has been used since the time of the first Goto 1440 - 151 in the mitokoromono, "set of three", for use on formal or ceremonial occasions. Later, shakudo nanako became the regular finish for use by the metal artisans. (deleted repeated sentences) In applying nanako, meticulous and scrupulous care must be used in positioning and striking the "cupping tool" in order to achieve fine, regular, carefully and closely spaced, identical results, row after row. Careless, imprecise and even coarse workmanship can be detected in the nanako of some older works and on "ready made" products, but work of later years, executed with infinite and scrupulous care, are beautiful beyond belief. However, even the finest of execution of nanako finish applied to brass (shinchu) or shibuichi fails to carry the distinct air of refinement and elegance of similar work on shakudo. The very elegance of nanako workmanship reflects not only the extraordinary skills of the Japanese in the execution of minute, detailed work, but also their tremendous patience and artistic inspiration. It is said that blindness of nanako workers at thirty years of age was usual because of the microscopic and meticulous work so carefully and patiently executed. On many old tsuba, pre-dating the period of the Goto, one encounters nanako laid in horizontal or vertical rows; on subsequent work nanako was applied along curved lines conforming to the shape of the tsuba.

22.5 inches long overall, 14 inches long blade tsuba to tip.  read more

Code: 22736

4250.00 GBP

A Very Attractive, Edo Era 17th to 18th Century Samurai's Tetsu Abumi Stirrup, Inlaid With Silver in a Geometric Pattern

A Very Attractive, Edo Era 17th to 18th Century Samurai's Tetsu Abumi Stirrup, Inlaid With Silver in a Geometric Pattern

This Japanese stirrup, is made in the traditional dove's breast (hato mune) shape with an open platform lined slightly curved forward so that the foot fits in without sliding backwards. In the front extremity the stirrup has a rectangular buckle with several horizontal slots which also serve as a handle.
The whole surface is in ancient russetted iron in the distinctive Higo school style, with a large onlaid decorative mount of a bird and various flora.

It is to be noted that these stirrups, due to their weight, were also used as weapons against the infantry adversaries. Abumi, Japanese stirrups, were used in Japan as early as the 5th century, and were a necessary component along with the Japanese saddle (kura) for the use of horses in warfare. Abumi became the type of stirrup used by the samurai class of feudal Japan Early abumi were flat-bottomed rings of metal-covered wood, similar to European stirrups. The earliest known examples were excavated from tombs. Cup-shaped stirrups (tsubo abumi) that enclosed the front half of the rider's foot eventually replaced the earlier design.

During the Nara period, the base of the stirrup which supported the rider's sole was elongated past the toe cup. This half-tongued style of stirrup (hanshita abumi) remained in use until the late Heian period (794 to 1185) when a new stirrup was developed. The fukuro abumi or musashi abumi had a base that extended the full length of the rider's foot and the right and left sides of the toe cup were removed. The open sides were designed to prevent the rider from catching a foot in the stirrup and being dragged.

The military version of this open-sided stirrup, called the shitanaga abumi, was in use by the middle Heian period. It was thinner, had a deeper toe pocket and an even longer and flatter foot shelf. It is not known why the Japanese developed this unique style of stirrup, but this stirrup stayed in use until European style-stirrups were introduced in the late 19th century. The abumi has a distinctive swan-like shape, curved up and backward at the front so as to bring the loop for the leather strap over the instep and achieve a correct balance. Most of the surviving specimens from this period are made entirely of iron, inlaid with designs of silver or other materials, and covered with lacquer. In some cases, there is an iron rod from the loop to the footplate near the heel to prevent the foot from slipping out. The footplates are occasionally perforated to let out water when crossing rivers, and these types are called suiba abumi. There are also abumi with holes in the front forming sockets for a lance or banner. Seieibushi (Elite Samurai)
Traditionally the highest rank among the samurai, these are highly skilled fully-fledged samurai. Most samurai at the level of Seieibushi take on apprentices or Aonisaibushi-samurai as their disciples.

Kodenbushi (Legendary Samurai)
A highly coveted rank, and often seen as the highest attainable position, with the sole exception of the rank of Shogun. These are samurai of tremendous capability, and are regarded as being of Shogun-level. Kodenbushi are hired to accomplish some of the most dangerous international missions. Samurai of Kodenbushi rank are extremely rare, and there are no more than four in any given country.

Daimyo (Lords)
This title translates to 'Big Name' and is given to the heads of the clan.

Shogun (Military Dictator)
The apex of the samurai, the Shogun is the most prestigious rank possible for a samurai. Shoguns are the leaders of their given district, or country, and are regarded as the most powerful samurai.  read more

Code: 25320

1395.00 GBP

An Exceptionally Handsome 500 Year Old Samurai Katana, Signed Bizen Osafune ju Kanemitsu, A  Museum Quality Piece of Early Samurai History

An Exceptionally Handsome 500 Year Old Samurai Katana, Signed Bizen Osafune ju Kanemitsu, A Museum Quality Piece of Early Samurai History

In a classic and highly sophisticated all black ensemble of koshirae, and a sword that has a breathtakingly impressive curvature. It has all its original Edo mounts, of patinated copper, decorated with takebori relief dragons, an early iron Koto o-sukashi tsuba, a stunning, original, Edo period uniformly narrow ribbed black urushi lacquer saya, in super bright and glossy original condition. Deeply curved blade showing an outstanding active and vibrant hamon in great polish. The tsukaito is over-lacquered silk, in black, over-wrapped on pure gold and shakudo menuki which in turn are on traditional samegawa giant rayskin.

The activity in the hamon is, simply, spectacularly beautiful, and shows the wide Hi horimono groove on one side and a double Bo Hi on the other side of the blade face.

The Incredible Story of Japanese Lacquer on Samurai Swords Scabbards, called Saya

Japanese lacquer, or urushi, is a transformative and highly prized material that has been refined for over 7000 years.

Cherished for its infinite versatility, urushi is a distinctive art form that has spread across all facets of Japanese culture from the tea ceremony to the saya scabbards of samurai swords

Japanese artists created their own style and perfected the art of decorated lacquerware during the 8th century. Japanese lacquer skills reached its peak as early as the twelfth century, at the end of the Heian period (794-1185). This skill was passed on from father to son and from master to apprentice.

Some provinces of Japan were famous for their contribution to this art: the province of Edo (later Tokyo), for example, produced the most beautiful lacquered pieces from the 17th to the 18th centuries. Lords and shoguns privately employed lacquerers to produce ceremonial and decorative objects for their homes and palaces.

The varnish used in Japanese lacquer is made from the sap of the urushi tree, also known as the lacquer tree or the Japanese varnish tree (Rhus vernacifera), which mainly grows in Japan and China, as well as Southeast Asia. Japanese lacquer, 漆 urushi, is made from the sap of the lacquer tree. The tree must be tapped carefully, as in its raw form the liquid is poisonous to the touch, and even breathing in the fumes can be dangerous. But people in Japan have been working with this material for many millennia, so there has been time to refine the technique!

Flowing from incisions made in the bark, the sap, or raw lacquer is a viscous greyish-white juice. The harvesting of the resin can only be done in very small quantities.
Three to five years after being harvested, the resin is treated to make an extremely resistant, honey-textured lacquer. After filtering, homogenization and dehydration, the sap becomes transparent and can be tinted in black, red, yellow, green or brown.

Once applied on an object, lacquer is dried under very precise conditions: a temperature between 25 and 30°C and a humidity level between 75 and 80%. Its harvesting and highly technical processing make urushi an expensive raw material applied in exceptionally fine successive layers, on objects such as bowls or boxes.After heating and filtering, urushi can be applied directly to a solid, usually wooden, base. Pure urushi dries into a transparent film, while the more familiar black and red colours are created by adding minerals to the material. Each layer is left to dry and polished before the next layer is added. This process can be very time-consuming and labor-intensive, which contributes to the desirability, and high costs, of traditionally made lacquer goods. The skills and techniques of Japanese lacquer have been passed down through the generations for many centuries. For four hundred years, the master artisans of Zohiko’s Kyoto workshop have provided refined lacquer articles for the imperial household . Overall 37.75 inches long, blade tsuba to tip 27 inches  read more

Code: 24324

9750.00 GBP

A Beautiful Suit of Edo Samurai Armour in Gold and Black Lacquer With Blue and Black Lacing, Multi Plate Helmet with Dragon Fly Fukegaeshi, With Ressai {Fierce Face} Menpo

A Beautiful Suit of Edo Samurai Armour in Gold and Black Lacquer With Blue and Black Lacing, Multi Plate Helmet with Dragon Fly Fukegaeshi, With Ressai {Fierce Face} Menpo

This is a wonderful piece of Japanese Samurai 'art' made for warfare, in a mixture of golds and black lacquer with blue and black with multi plate kabuto {helmet} with a dragonfly on the lacquer oneach front wing, and ressai {fierce face} mento face armour, which features a kuchi hige (mustache), shiwa (facial wrinkles). Extremely collectable art that is most desirable in its own right, often stunningly used for interior decoration as an individual work of samurai art in its own right. A very good urushi lacqured embossed iron mask of 'Me no Shita Men' (half face) type.

Gold and black lacquer do with blue lacing, kazuri with blue lacing, gold and blue laced shirokoro, kusazuri in gold lacquer and purple lacing, armoured sleeve kote.

This armour has remained untouched since it arrival in England likely over a hundred years ago, and probably for longer than that when it was in Japan, and only the two red cords have been replaced on the helmet and waist. We are leaving it exactly as is

Samurai used dragonfly motifs on their armour, clothing and weapons in hope of success in battle.

The urushi lacquer saya is in ishime stone finish pattern.

Japan was once known as the “Land of the Dragonfly”, as the Emperor Jimmu is said to have once climbed a mountain in Nara, and looking out over the land, claimed that his country was shaped like two Akitsu, the ancient name for the winged insects, mating.

Dragonflies appeared in great numbers in 1274 and again in 1281, when Kublai Khan sent his Mongol forces to conquer Japan. Both times the samurai repelled the attackers, with the aid of huge typhoons, later titled Kamikaze (the Divine Winds), that welled up, destroying the Mongol ships, saving Japan from invasion. For that reason, dragonflies were seen as bringers of divine victory.

Dragonflies never retreat, they will stop, but will always advance, which was seen as an ideal of the samurai. Further, although the modern Japanese word for dragonfly is Tombo, the old (Pre Meiji era) word for dragonfly was Katchimushi. “Katchi” means “To win”, hence dragonflies were seen as auspicious by the samurai.

Insects in general have been celebrated in Japanese culture for centuries. The Lady Who Loved Insects is a classic story of a caterpillar-collecting lady of the 12th century court; the Tamamushi, or Jewel Beetle Shrine, is a seventh century miniature temple, once shingled with 9,000 iridescent beetle forewings. In old Japanese literature, poems upon insects are to be found by thousands, Daisaburo Okumoto is director of the Fabre Insect Museum. An avid insect collector and a scholar of French literature, he has translated many of Fabre's works. He ascribes the popularity of insects in Japan to national character. It seems like Japanese eyes are like macro lenses and Western eyes are wide-angle, he says. A garden in Versailles, it's very wide and symmetrical. But Japanese gardens are continuous from the room and also very small. We feel calm when we look at small things. The medieval Japanese monk Yoshida Kenko put it this way: “If man were never to fade away like the dews of Adashino, never to vanish like the smoke over Toribeyama, how things would lose their power to move us!

In the 16th century, Japan began trading with Europe, during what would become known as the Nanban trade. This was the first time matchlock muskets were imported, and as they became mass-produced domestically, samurai needed lighter and more protective armour. As a result, a new style of armour called tosei-gusoku (gusoku), which means modern armour, appeared. After the Battle of Sekigahara and the victory of the Tokugawa, a united Japan was created and entered the so-called 'peaceful Edo period', however, then from henceforth, the shoguns promoted rivallry between his daimyo fuedal clan lords, in order for their military ambitions, attention and suspicions to be upon each other, rather than the shogun. So there were no wars, as such, for over 250 years, but, hundreds of internecine battles, thus samurai continued to combat as usual, using both plate and lamellar armour. This practice, of a version of divide and conquer, of internal factions, rather than external forces, was adopted by many despots ever since, including Sadam Hussein of Iraq, extremely efficiently, and for over 20 years in his case.

Ōyamazumi Shrine is known as a treasure house of Japanese armour. It houses 40% of Japanese armour that has been designated as a National treasure and an Important Cultural Property. Kasuga Grand Shrine is also known as a treasure house of valuable armour

Every single item from The Lanes Armoury is accompanied by our unique Certificate of Authenticity. Part of our continued dedication to maintain the standards forged by us over the past 100 years of our family’s trading, as Britain’s oldest established, and favourite, armoury and gallery  read more

Code: 25318

12950.00 GBP

A Beautiful Samurai Wakizashi Signed Kunimune, Han Dachi Mounted, All Original Edo Koshirae and Deep Brown Urushi Lacquer Saya With Nishiji Gold With Very Rare Gold Foiled Throat

A Beautiful Samurai Wakizashi Signed Kunimune, Han Dachi Mounted, All Original Edo Koshirae and Deep Brown Urushi Lacquer Saya With Nishiji Gold With Very Rare Gold Foiled Throat

A Fine blade, in beautiful old polish, hon-zukuri form with a delightful notare hamon, plain copper habaki, signed tang, Hojoji Kunimune, Fabulous gold striped and shakudo takebori relief tiger menuki. Osukashi tsuba of triple leaves with scalloped edge

The samurai were roughly the equivalent of feudal knights. Employed by the shogun or daimyo, they were members of hereditary warrior class that followed a strict "code" that defined their clothes, armour and behaviour on the battlefield. But unlike most medieval knights, samurai warriors could read and they were well versed in Japanese art, literature and poetry.
Samurai endured for almost 700 years, from 1185 to 1867. Samurai families were considered the elite. They made up only about six percent of the population and included daimyo and the loyal soldiers who fought under them. Samurai means one who serves."
The Sengoku period Sengoku Jidai, "Warring States period") is a period in Japanese history of near-constant civil war, social upheaval, and intrigue from 1467 to 1615.

The Sengoku period was initiated by the Onin War in 1467 which collapsed the feudal system of Japan under the Ashikaga Shogunate. Various samurai warlords and clans fought for control over Japan in the power vacuum, while the Ikkō-ikki emerged to fight against samurai rule. The arrival of Europeans in 1543 introduced the arquebus into Japanese warfare, and Japan ended its status as a tributary state of China in 1549. Oda Nobunaga dissolved the Ashikaga Shogunate in 1573 and launched a war of political unification by force, including the Ishiyama Hongan-ji War, until his death in the Honnō-ji Incident in 1582. Nobunaga's successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi completed his campaign to unify Japan and consolidated his rule with numerous influential reforms. Hideyoshi launched the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592, but their eventual failure damaged his prestige before his death in 1598. Tokugawa Ieyasu displaced Hideyoshi's young son and successor Toyotomi Hideyori at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 and re-established the feudal system under the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Sengoku period ended when Toyotomi loyalists were defeated at the siege of Osaka in 1615.

The Sengoku period was named by Japanese historians after the similar but otherwise unrelated Warring States period of China.

Cherished for its infinite versatility, urushi lacquer is a distinctive art form that has spread across all facets of Japanese culture from the tea ceremony to the saya scabbards of samurai swords

Japanese artists created their own style and perfected the art of decorated lacquerware during the 8th century. Japanese lacquer skills reached its peak as early as the twelfth century, at the end of the Heian period (794-1185). This skill was passed on from father to son and from master to apprentice.

The varnish used in Japanese lacquer is made from the sap of the urushi tree, also known as the lacquer tree or the Japanese varnish tree (Rhus vernacifera), which mainly grows in Japan and China, as well as Southeast Asia. Japanese lacquer, 漆 urushi, is made from the sap of the lacquer tree. The tree must be tapped carefully, as in its raw form the liquid is poisonous to the touch, and even breathing in the fumes can be dangerous. But people in Japan have been working with this material for many millennia, so there has been time to refine the technique!  read more

Code: 25303

4950.00 GBP

An Exceptionally Beautiful & Fine, Koto Period, Armour and Helmet Piercing Samurai Yoroi-Doshi Tanto, With All Original Edo Koshirae Fittings Shakudo, Iron Tettsu, Silver, and Gold

An Exceptionally Beautiful & Fine, Koto Period, Armour and Helmet Piercing Samurai Yoroi-Doshi Tanto, With All Original Edo Koshirae Fittings Shakudo, Iron Tettsu, Silver, and Gold

Circa 1580. With two hi horimono on one side and a ken blade horimono suken (素剣) on the opposite side {omote} the side of the sword away from the body as it is worn. The opposite side is called the ura or back.

Beautiful notare hamon, strong and wide kasane thickness of the blade for the required strength to penetrate iron armour and helmet skull. Superb fuchi kashira higo school in low relief takebori of gold inlay on iron. Urushi black lacquer saya, with carved buffalo horn koiguchi, the lacquer is lightly carved with a decor of clouds throughout, with speckles of abilone shell to simulate stars behind the clouds. shakudo and silvered menuki of bean pods. Iron kogatana with iron kozuka inlaid with gold stars and seashells with stylized clouds, iron tettsu tsuba with inlay of gold tendrils and silver aoi leaf, and a pair of crenellated form seppa.Very fine shakudo habaki

The yoroi-doshi "armour piercer" or "mail piercer" were one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (nihonto) that were worn by the samurai class as a weapon in feudal Japan. The yoroi-doshi is an extra thick tanto, dagger , which appeared in the Sengoku period (late Muromachi). The yoroi-doshi was made for piercing armour and for stabbing while grappling in close quarters. The weapon ranged in size from 20 cm to 24 cm, but some examples could be under 15 cm, with a "tapering mihaba, iori-mune, thick kasane at the bottom, and thin kasane at the top and occasionally moroha-zukuri construction". The motogasane (blade thickness) at the hamachi (the notch at the beginning of the cutting edge) can be a third to up to a half-inch thick, which is characteristic of the yoroi-doshi. The extra thickness at the spine of the blade distinguishes the yoroi-doshi from a standard tanto blade.

Yoroi-doshi were worn inside the belt on the back or on the right side with the hilt toward the front and the edge upward. Due to being worn on the right, the blade would have been drawn using the left hand, giving rise to the alternate name of metezashi or "horse-hand (i.e. rein-hand, i.e. left-hand) blade".

23 cm blade tsuba to tip  read more

Code: 25302

4985.00 GBP