Nanban kogai and kozuka set (futakoromono) | Mandarin Mansion

Nanban kogai and kozuka set (futakoromono)

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.


Introduction

Japanese sword parts that exhibit foreign influence are today commonly classified as nanban, "Southern barbarian" style. This is a catch-all classification that came to being only in the early 20th century. This is an over-simplification, because the genre can be split into many sub-categories, some made in Japan, others made outside of Japan.

Within the genre, you find mostly sword guards. In fact, it is extremely rare to find anything in the "southern barbarian" style that is not a sword guard. In this article I present the only matching set of "nanban" kogai (笄) and kogatana (小刀) known to me in the world. The kogai is a hairpin / ear scoop while the kogatana (小刀), often named just by its handle kozuka (小把) is a small utility knife. Both were carried in the scabbard of a Japanese sword. Together, such a matched pair is called futakoromono.


Kogatana

Overall length: 22.6 cm / 8.9 inch
Blade length: 12.4 cm / 4.9 inch
Thickness: forte 3.5 mm, middle 2.5 mm
Blade width: forte 12.5 mm, middle 10 mm
Weight without scabbard: 45 grams


Kogai

Overall length: 21.8 cm / 8.6 inch
Blade length: 13 cm / 5.1 inch
Thickness: forte 3.5 mm, middle 2 mm
Blade width: forte 11.5 mm, middle 6 mm
Weight without scabbard: 25 grams



Origin: Japan, probably Nagasaki or surrounding area
Materials: Steel, gold
Dating: Probably 18th century


Description

An extremely rare matched set of "Kanton style" kogai and kogatana. This style was inspired by so-called "Kanton-tsuba", Chinese sword guards from the royal workshops in Beijing that were traded through the port of Kanton, to Japan and enjoyed popularity there. It didn't take long before both maritime traders and Japanese makers themselves started to copy these designs on work of their own.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono. Compared to their inspiration, a Chinese imported guard.
The set compared to a Chinese sword guard of the type that served as an inspiration for this type of decoration in Japan. This Chinese guard also made it to Japan, you can see that a hole was cut through the design to accommodate the handle of a kozuka.

The elaborately pierced and chiseled handles on this set features decoration including a dragon carp, sacred jewels and water caltrop among tendrils with areas of undercutting. The sacred jewels on each piece are cut loose so they can move freely in their compartments.

The kogatana is highly unusual in that the knife and openwork handle are one piece. Normally, the handle is a separate piece and the tang of the knife slides into it. Edges of each handle are beaded, just like the edges of many Canton tsuba, which in turn take after purely Chinese designs imported into Japan from the 17th century onwards. The designs are articulated on the front and back, only the front sides are damascened in gold.


Comparable examples

Per my current knowledge, this is the only such set in existence. I have been unable to find comparable sets in publications or museum collections.


Conclusion

An important set of matched set of "nanban" style kogai and kogatana. Possibly the only such set in the world.

SOLD



Interested? Questions?
Contact peter@mandarinmansion.com

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.

A unique set of nanban style kogai and kozuka, jointly called futakoromono.



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