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Tama-inabe (ladle for pouring lead)

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  • Tama-inabe (ladle for pouring lead)

    Perhaps not the most sexy of items associated with the samurai, but nevertheless, without one, you would be forced to use your teppo as a battle-club...

    I have two types in my collection. Both bestowed upon me by a very generous individual.

    They both display features not readily found on standard-looking Tama-inabe out there.
    From picture 1 is quite easy to see the difference in size. I imagine that the top one, was used for casting larger matchlock-balls. This one lacks a wooden handle but instead got a twisted shaft. Perhaps as decoration or as a way to disperse heat from the ladle itself. It got a massive spout at the end of the ladle.

    The smaller ladle looks fairly common at first, but move in for a closer look, and the secrets will be revealed. Instead of a traditional spout, this one got a small hole to manage the flow of lead going into the mold, here demonstrated by adding a 4-monme Tama-igata to pic no 2. At least for me, this is the first one I´ve seen so far, with such a feature.
    The wooden handle, which got a fantastic patina, reveals the next "secret". At the center of the handle is found a square-like sign which is branded into the wood. This is the mark for Nagoya-jo or Nagoya Castle. As I was cleaning this ladle from flaked rust an other dirt, the same sign appeared engraved on the shaft. So obviously the maker of this ladle wanted to be sure it stayed at the castle.
    Just for some historical context, I include a picture of the old Nagoya Castle, before it was flattened by US Bomber Command in 1945.
    For me, such an artifact ticks off all the boxes. It´s matchlock related. We can connect it to one of the most famous old castles in Japan. And as it is most likely made during the Edo period, it´s related to the House of Tokugawa. Enough to float my boat

    I hope there are some other interesting Tama-inabe out there, that will end up on this thread.

    Jan



    Picture no 1 Picture no 2 Picture no 3 Picture no 4 Picture 5
    Jan - Sweden

  • #2
    Stepped straight out of history. Can't beat that, Jan!

    The Hachi 八 eight mark is still the mark of Nagoya City today, although in a circle. Maru ni hachi 丸に八. I have had a quick look to find out why 8 was used for Owari (Nagoya Castle) and came across three or four reasons. There maybe more, but it would be fun to try and track down the most likely. Here are four from one blog: https://blog.goo.ne.jp/sakura707_200...88a205c6985c3d
    ・尾張八郡(尾張藩政下に置かれていた愛知・春日井・葉栗・丹羽・中島・海東・海西・知多の八郡)の八に由 来する。(There were eight 'gun' counties ruled over by the Owari Han.
    ・尾張の片仮名表記である「オハリ」の「ハ」に由来する。When you wrote Owari in (old) Katakana, the middle letter was taken from オハリ
    ・尾張藩士・安部八兵衛が常用していた提灯の八の字に由来する。Lanterns of the Lord of the Owari Han, Yasube(Abe?) Hachibei sported the 八mark on them.
    ・清和源氏の流れを汲む尾張藩が、先祖・八幡太郎義家の定紋である「向い鳩」を型どり、丸に八の字の紋を作 ったことに由来する。A simplified version of the two facing doves of Yahata Taro Yoshiie...?
    Last edited by Teppotai; 11-24-2018, 11:41 AM.
    Piers D - Japan / UK

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    • #3
      Interesting! I was just wonder if that kanji was the one for ”eight”. As nothing is done in Japan without a reason, the ”eight” must have an origin. As the Lord of Owari used this mark on his lanterns, I guess this might prove the best hunting ground for finding answers...
      Thanks for the added info, Piers!

      Jan
      Jan - Sweden

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      • #4
        Where are the Ladies??

        Seriously great items Jan, keep em coming.

        Pip Pip Cheerio

        Malcolm

        Comment


        • #5
          The ladies are always near, Malcolm

          Jan
          Jan - Sweden

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          • #6
            How right you are Jan!!!

            I empathise with Piers' sentiment on a previous topic, regarding the feelings of loss upon the collapse of previous Fora.

            Heartfelt and freely given information can seemingly be lost so swiftly in this emerging cyberspace.

            Albeit small, let's co-operate to make this present Forum, a unique method of communication and something to be proud of.

            A few voices may appear small and insignificant, but, as a single match, once struck, may provide the source to illuminate a thousand candles, the light of truth and originality, again freely given, can inspire a new generation of seekers and expand the borders of our mutual understanding.


            Pip Pip Cheerio

            Malcolm

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            • #7
              Well spoken, Mr Pip Pip!

              Jan
              Jan - Sweden

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              • #8
                Indeed!
                Uwe Sacklowski / Germany

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                • #9
                  Someone once explained that the warriors wives or family would sit around the fire the night before a battle, and make lead ball for the muskets, and prepare Hayago with measures of blackpowder. Perhaps if your husband was to fire a 4 Monme gun, for example, you the wife might be the keeper of his 4 Monme Tama-igata mould, as in Jan's illustration above.
                  Piers D - Japan / UK

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                  • #10
                    I’m sure casting matchlock-balls must have been a job that could have been done ”at home” in front of the hearth.
                    The ladle illustrated above with the Nagoya Castle-stamp, was probably part of the castles armoury and used in a more industrial capacity. Some of the ladles I’ve seen has clearly an home-made feel to them, which probably places them at the former ”at home” catagory.
                    Perhaps a few other examples could be presented in this thread for comparison?

                    Jan
                    Jan - Sweden

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                    • #11
                      This is part of a picture I pulled off the old interweb. It’s interesting to see that this specific ladle also got a twisted construction.
                      According to the text that comes with the picture, one of the molds were inscribed with a date (June 1860). So casting matchlock-balls def continued all the way through to the Bakumatsu period.

                      Jan
                      Jan - Sweden

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                      • #12
                        Here is another, together with an small ingot of lead (82Pb), and a series of lead ball in different sizes.
                        1FCDEBF3-6951-4ADE-96E7-D3B5DC523839.jpeg
                        Last edited by Teppotai; 12-06-2018, 07:36 AM.
                        Piers D - Japan / UK

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                        • #13
                          I like the fact they made the effort to include a small decorative ridge on the handle.
                          Hmmm, feel that I desperately need a lump of Edo period lead

                          Jan
                          Jan - Sweden

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                          • #14
                            No-one has ever before found a word of praise for my ladle, Jan!

                            In fact I could not find anything good to say about it, apart from the fact that it looks like a good honest working tool. Never paid much attention to the ridges in the handle!

                            Photo of 2,000 year-old Roman lead ingots stamped with "Imp Vespasiani Aug"
                            http://aureamediocritas-tonyd.blogsp...f-mendips.html
                            Last edited by Teppotai; 12-06-2018, 10:17 AM.
                            Piers D - Japan / UK

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                            • #15
                              I also like the size Most of the ones I’ve seen got a long handle. This one is more stubby in its apperance.
                              Love these old utilitarian artifacts. Without one, your expensive Kunitomo or ”blingy” Sakai matchlock was nothing more than a piece of metal.
                              Talking about lead, where did the Japanese get theirs from? I guess it was imported...

                              Jan
                              Last edited by Teppotai; 12-07-2018, 01:34 AM.
                              Jan - Sweden

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