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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2005 7:51 pm    Post subject: Basket, skean, target, dart....         Reply with quote

Here's a gem from Arms & Armour Vol. 1 #1, 2004:

This is Sir Neill O'Neill as painted by John Michael Wright, 1680.

Notice the basket hilt, enormous, plain target, Irish skean with carved hilt, metal-trimmed scabbard and baldric, and dart with thong. You can just make out an attendant in the background. He carries five or six darts and wears a skean.

The armour is Japanese. Yes, that's correct--Japanese. The article is about diplomatic gifts of armour from Japan to Europe and Britain.



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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2005 8:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh My God Sean! Suppress this information immediately! Eek! Next thing you know, we'll be overrun with nimrods wearing tartans and carrying Katana's because "I saw it in a picture somewhere..." WTF?!

(Believe it or not, I've seen such abominations, but at least they didn't have any documentation to "back them up" as it were. Perhaps I'm overreacting, though...) Moving right along after the rant...

Very cool painting! It's amazing the amount of diffusion certain items had... not that they were ever copied or necessarily popularized, but nifty how some stuff got around. And even better that there is actual pictoral evidence of it! Now to convince certain folks that just because ONE item made it's way across the Eurasian Continent... Confused

Now the REST of the painting is just wonderful though! That enormous Target is VERY nifty! Thanks! Big Grin

Thanks!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2005 8:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmmmmmmm: How about a Basket hilted Katana to make Gordon's teeth grind to dust.

Katana and kilt ? Must be based on those "Highlander" movies where Sean Connery appears as a Spaniard using a Katana. ( Well the first movie was fun, the rest pretty awfull: Lots of swords cutting concrete pillars and dragging of sword points on pavements to make cool sparks. Big Grin )

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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Wed 09 Mar, 2005 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Hmmmmmmmm: How about a Basket hilted Katana to make Gordon's teeth grind to dust.


I think I'll bury my face in a pillow and cry myself to sleep now. Thanks for that visual, Jean, I needed that! Eek!

Sadly I actually saw the Naked Barbarian in Plaid packing a Katana-ish thing LONG before the Highlander series came out... I was agog. I've gotten past being outraged to mere amusement as I get towards my dotage. But when I REALLY get into my years, I'm gonna smack 'em with my cane!

Cheers! Happy

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2005 3:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmm. A claidheamh to? Big Grin
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Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2005 6:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From Dr. David H. Caldwell's great book, "Scottish Weapons & Fortifications 1100-1800". , Mac


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'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2005 6:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a bit of conversation we had on this subject, back on the old Sword Forum ! Mac

September 07, 2001

Thomas McDonald wrote:

I've been reading about the 2 sets of Japanese armour that was presented to James VI and I , by Captain Saris , from the Shogun (Emporer) of Japan, in 1614.
In 1680 the artist John Michael Wright painted the portrait of Sir Neill O'Neill ( ? 1658-1690 ) in Irish dress...in the foreground a pile of Japanese armour?

As this artist was known for his detail , and since the armour painted was not one of the only two known to exist at the time, in Britian ( and still in the Tower Collection), where did it come from? And why was it in the portrait of a 17th cen. Irishman?

Ian Brackley wrote:

The 17th century saw a craze for "Chinoiserie" (probably spelled that wrong) Which was a originaly a French term meaning brick-a-brac or a cluttering of nick-knacks. The Dutch East India Company was enjoying unprecedented success in those days (it was at its zenith at time of the portrait) and as such was influencing European tastes with the shiploads of Eastern luxury items it brought in, most notably silk and Chinese porceline. The Dutch where also the only Europeans the Tokagawa Shogunate permitted to stay in Japan (albeit they where confined to a tiny island in Nagasaki harbour). The Portugese had soured relations with Japan with their omni-present Jesuits making converts from the lower and dissafected Japanese classes thus disturbing the social order (that how the Japanese saw it anyhow).
So the culprits for the armour's presence in the portrait are the Dutch merchants who probably aquired the pieces as curios that could be hawked quite easily on the European market. Whether or not the artist, the Irish Lord or any of the "middle-men" in the Eastern curios trade (possibly it changed through a few hands between Dublin and Amsterdam) knew or cared that it was Japanese (and ergo rarer then all the Chinese and South Seas goodies floating about) is another matter.
Its presence in the painting is no doubt the subject whishing to communicate not only his cultural pride (via traditional dress) but also his fashionable tastes for Eastern curios.
If someone more knowledgeable in Japanese panalopy could provide a time frame for the particular armour it might give more clues as to its origins and time of transport between East and West.

John M. Roberts wrote:

According to Ian Bottomley and A.P. Hopson in "Arms and Armor of the Samurai" (Crescent Books, 1988), concerning this portrait: "The artist has introduced an imported Japanese armour - the style is typical of those produced by the Iwai for presentation and should be compared with those shown on pages 136 and 139 (those James I armors: JMR) The servant carries the helmet bowl, the neck guard having been fitted around the waist in the manner of a European culet."
This suggests that the armor was shipped disassembled and the recipient did not know how to mount it correctly and assumed that the neck guard went on the body armor. As I understand it, armor sent to a reigning sovereign was accompanied by a skilled servant who would know how to mount it properly. Perhaps the pictured armor was of a type sent to lesser nobles. I saw that painting many years ago and it puzzled me for years. Likewise, a Dutch still life I saw in the Royal Portrait Gallery in London in the 70s that included, among the fruit and flowers, a wakizashi.

'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Mar, 2005 6:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great stuff, Mac, and a helpful supplement to the article. All this leads me to be even more impressed with the Irish arms depicted here. These are the clearest illustrations I can find of these forms.

Thanks!

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Roy K.





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PostPosted: Fri 11 Mar, 2005 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is forbidden knowledge and must be suppressed! Do you really want to see some fellow prancing around RenFair in a kabuto and kilt? I have seen a few anomalies myself, one was an Elizabethan portrait of some noble wearing a saif, the other was a listing in the catalogue of the Dresden tour of some years back. The description was, as I recall, of "a short sword in the Japanese style, ca. 1600". At least that's the way I remember it. Gack!
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