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  • Satsuma

    Once you have seen a long Hosozutsu or short gun made in Satsuma, you will never forget the shape.

    Things to look for are extreme simplicity and lack of decoration. The wood will usually be lacquered to protect from worms. Dark brown is most common but you do find black and a sort of Negoro red or pink. The serpentine has an internal spring and looks like nothing substantial, a crooked little finger, although it sometimes has zogan inlay on it. The butt has a distinctive rounded tapered leaf shape to it. Often there will be a large screw head with a cross on it, symbolizing the Shimazu Mon, and the trigger is often a drop-down curved western shape, in iron, usually with no guard. The pan lid is a flimsy affair.

    (Jan and I have both been waiting for one to come along, but unfortunately these in recent years have been largely bought up by a certain collector who is building a museum in Kyushu.)
    Piers D - Japan / UK

  • #2
    The matchlock from Satsuma is truely unique and holds a special place in every tepponista’s heart.
    As you so correctly state Piers, this style of matchlock is almost impossible to locate, with a particular collector in Japan, absorbing every decent copy into his huuuge collection.
    I was finally able to locate one in the US, which is somewhat out of reach from the above-mentioned collector in Japan 🙂
    I also know that Ian Bottomley managed to buy one at an auction in the UK. Apart from those, the picking is slim.
    One drawback with the Satsuma-style matchlock is the state of preservation found on many of the extant matchlocks from the region. Due to the humid climate of the south, the metal is often corroded and the stocks heavily damaged by insects etc.
    I include a picture with some typical features seen on Satsuma matchlocks.
    The one on top is mine and the bottom one belonging to the Teppo Museum in Kunitomo. Apart from some minor differences, they are very simular, to the point that I almost think that they might have originated from the same workshop.

    Jan
    Jan - Sweden

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    • Teppotai
      Teppotai commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the illustration, Jan. We can see that trigger, and the pan guard, etc. Yours has that (more) typical spiral decoration at the base of the little serpentine. I need to add honey to the list of Satsuma colours!

      I have heard a rumour of one maybe for sale recently which I need to track down. The owner has no high praise for it, meaning that it will be in the typical miserable state that you describe, I can already guess. I hope he is just being modest.
      Last edited by Teppotai; Yesterday, 12:12 AM.

  • #3
    You must act on that rumour 🙂
    Here’s a closeup of the classic screw head and you can also see the trigger.
    This specific matchlock must have belonged to a well-off Shimazu-retainer as there are several areas that still shows traces of gilding.

    Jan
    Jan - Sweden

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