Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A small Quiz!

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • A small Quiz!

    With the summer slowly coming to an end, I think it’s time for a quiz to start the new school semester.
    On this picture, you see three objects. It’s a Kakemono (hanging scroll), a Tanto and a Cha-ire (tea caddy).

    These three objects has quite an interesting connection. Do you know it?
    There will be a follow-up question 🙂

    Jan
    Jan - Sweden

  • #2
    Almost 20 views and no one dares to take a stab at it
    I was afraid that this might have been to easy.
    Not yet ready to give you any clues


    Jan
    Jan - Sweden

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Jan

      Here goes nothing ; Has it to do with seppuku ? I probably know the answer already .....

      Jon

      Comment


      • #4
        Hmmm... that’s a tough one Jan.
        Piers D - Japan / UK

        Comment


        • #5
          I start to realise that

          Jon; a good guess. But the answer is pretty much the opposite from seppuku.

          Hint: the driving force behind most brave deeds done by a samurai...

          I’ll let you sweat it for awhile longer

          Jan
          Jan - Sweden

          Comment


          • #6
            Are they all used in tea ceremony?
            Piers D - Japan / UK

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, to some extent yes. Both the Cha-ire and the Kakemono will be found within the realm of Cha-no-Yu (tea ceremony). And several of the famous tea masters were forced to commit seppuku, so I guess a blade could be found in this context...
              I have depicted one of my tanto in the picture. You could replace it with a katana or a waki.
              In this case the tanto represent the field of Nihinto. One of the essential part of this holy trinity of sorts.

              Jan
              Jan - Sweden

              Comment


              • #8
                It looks to me like the holy trinity of Zen. Sumi-e, and Shodo for the kakemono; Cha-no- Yu for the tea caddy and Iai do for the nihonto.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Massimo; that was a good and well thoughtout theory, but...

                  Ok, I guess it’s time to reveal the truth.
                  Earlier I wrote: ”the driving force of all samurai”. What was it that every warrior dreamt about?
                  The answer is recognition of his valor/importance as a loyal retainer, followed by a reward for said reason of recognition.
                  Back in the day (pre Edo period) land and title was the way with which a lord would rewarded his retainers.
                  But as the early modern era in Japan brought mighty men like Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu to the fore, soon all wars were over and all lands had been distributed. So how to keep samurai happy without lands to hand out?
                  Here’s where this three objects come into play. What you see, was the three most important objects that a high-ranking samurai was hoping to be bestowed upon him by his superior.
                  To get a sword made by a famous smith, a Chinese ink scroll from the Kamakura period or a tea caddy with an illustrate history behind it, was an absolute neccesity. If a lord could not showcase this complete triad, he was def considered a failure.
                  The tradition of giving away these three objects as a rewards just grew in importance during the reign if the Tokugawa’s.
                  In a world were all lands were distributed, the promotion of these three objects as important pieces, desired by all, was actually a quite clever ploy by the authorities. Before, a piece of land had to be conquered and then redistributed in order to keep the retainers happy. During the Edo period, a dusty old tea caddy, produced the same result.

                  With the above in mind, which of these three objects were most desired as a reward?

                  Jan

                  Jan - Sweden

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I thought about loyalty but did not take the next step, grrrr...

                    Of course other things were given as gifts such as Inro/Netsuké combos, but ultimately the sword (including Tanto) must have been most desired.
                    Piers D - Japan / UK

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Of course rewards came in many forms. Armors, gold/silver and the odd matchlock pops up in old records amongst many different items.
                      But these three were officially recognized as the ultimate sign of reward.
                      And then we come to my follow-up question...
                      On third place, Nihonto.
                      Taking the silver, Kakemono
                      And the winner is, Cha-ire
                      Sorry to disapoint all fans of Nihonto out there

                      The Cha-ire (tea caddy) held a quite unique place in the hearts of high-ranking warriors.
                      To be bestowed a famous Cha-ire by the Shogun was the ultimate sign of greatness. A confirmation of this was that such a reward was strickly personal. When the recipient of such an honor died, the Cha-ire had to be returned to the shogunate so it could be passed on to someone else.
                      That a tea caddy and a hanging scroll came before the iconic sword, came as surprise to me. What could be the reason behind this? My humble theory has to do with the notion of the pen and the sword. A samurai was expected to always keep his martial skills at a high level. At the same time, he had to be able to perform flawless in the tea house as well as behind pen and paper.
                      During the Edo period, with wars and bloody battlefields in the distant past, cultural skills became all the more important for the modern warrior. Hence the focus on cultural properties.

                      Jan
                      Jan - Sweden

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Jan

                        Very interesting indeed. Could the Cha-ire be symbolic not only for power and status but also lucrative business contracts with the powers that be? i.e.: money?

                        Jon

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Money was problematic for the samurai. On the one hand, they needed it, on the other the despised merchants.
                          If a samurai had plenty of money, he could afford to lay his hands on a famous Cha-ire, which of course meant status and a good reputation. This simple fact added weight to an object basically made from clay.
                          I did some futher digging and found the reason why a Cha-ire was held in such a high regard. Both swords and scrolls was somewhat easy to fake. But as the process involved in making a piece of pottery is impossible to completely control, a well-known and well documented Cha-ire was impossible to copy.

                          Jan
                          Jan - Sweden

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I also found a really funny and quite telling saying used by the Edo period samurai:
                            ”A merchant and a folding screen has one thing in common; in order to stand, they both must be crooked”...
                            Ouch!

                            Jan
                            Jan - Sweden

                            Comment


                            • Jon
                              Jon commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Very enlightening look into the minds and hearts of the Edo period samurai.

                              Jon

                            • Jan Pettersson
                              Jan Pettersson commented
                              Editing a comment
                              So many things took place all around the samurai during the Edo period. When no more wars were to be fought, other ”ways” became even more important to master like waka poetry and tea ceremony. So these areas of the Japanese culture can be rewarding to study beside armours, swords and matchlocks, in order to come a bit closer to understand the Edo period samurai.

                          • #15
                            I would never have come close to the solution, but learned a lot from this. Thanks Jan!
                            David Mueller - Germany

                            Comment

                            Working...
                            X