Title: Tsuru Kame Matsu Take
This item is an antique Kougai (笄), which was used to arrange or fix the hairstyle of Samurai. The Kougai is usually stored in the Kougai Hitsu. The Kozuka (小柄) is often stored at the other side of the scabbard. About the Kozuka, please read the explication below (What is Kozuka?).
This Kougai’s design is a combination of auspicious motifs. You would find a bird (probably a crane), turtle, pine tree, and bamboo. A proverb says cranes and turtles live a long life; therefore, cranes and turtles have been considered the symbol of longevity since a long time ago. Also, as cranes make compatible couples, its pattern represents happy marriage. In addition, it is said people wished for eternal prosperity by using the turtle design.
About the pine tree pattern, as this plant keeps its green color throughout the years by withstanding severe heat and cold, people thought this plant pattern represents eternal youth. Furthermore, its color is called the Tokiwa-Iro (常盤色, evergreen trees’ dark green color with brown), and pine trees have another name “Tokiwa-Gi (常盤木).” Tokiwa means immutability, so the Tokiwa-Iro is a color that praises green with a wish for longevity and prosperity. The pine tree design gives us an elegant and noble impression; it might be another reason that people love this motif.
Bamboos grow neatly towards the sky, and it is vital so that this motif represents nobility and strength. Besides, the bamboo breaks straight, but its content is hollow; people thought it shows innocence. According to a legend, the Houhou (鳳凰, Fenghuang) eats bamboo fruits; therefore, bamboo has been considered a sacred plant. The pine tree and bamboo are components of the Shou Chiku Bai (松竹梅, combination of pine trees, bamboo, and Japanese apricot blossom). Both have been a familiar classical pattern with Japanese people since ancient times.
This Kougai’s design is a combination of good luck motifs. We hope you will enjoy its design with each meaning.
*As this item is an antique, please check each photo and ensure its condition.
What is Kozuka?
Kozuka is the small knife stored in Kozuka Hitsu (groove of the sheath of the Japanese sword). Many Tsubas (handguard) have two holes to put Kozuka and Kougai (equipment for appearance) next to Nakagoana (a hole of the Tsuba to put sword), so that Samurai didn’t need to draw his sword out of the scabbard when he wanted to use Kozuka or Kougai. Initially, Samurai used it for cutting wood or attacking enemies in an emergency. It is said that Kozuka was used as a craft knife rather than a weapon.
The decorative designs of Kozuka were more emphasized than its practical use in the Edo period when Samurai society enjoyed one of the most peaceful times. And there were many ornamental Kozuka and Kougai created by Japanese metalworkers.
Why is it that the sword mounting was important for Samurai?
The sword mountings of the Japanese sword have many kinds of decorations such as handguards (Tsuba), sword hilt (Menuki), pommel (Fuchi Kashira). The Japanese sword worked as a weapon and as an object to show who he was. For example, it shows their personalities and beliefs. You could say that it is like decorations for smartphones today. We recommend you zoom in on the pictures of the sword fittings. When you do so, you can see the skill of Japanese metal engraving techniques. They are mainly made of iron and copper with inlays of gold, silver, and bronze. When it comes to handguard (Tsuba), each one has a different outline and weight. These sword fittings that have lived with Japanese swords of the same age might be worth as much as the Japanese swords. They are inconspicuous parts of the Japanese sword. Nevertheless, if you are knowledgeable or particular about it, you will become a connoisseur of the Samurai.
Samurai Museum is located in Tokyo, Japan, exhibiting antique artifacts related to the Samurai history. Samurai Museum Shop is the place for those who are interested in Japanese culture and craftsmanship. We deal with antique Samurai swords/armor, traditional crafts made in Japan and so on.
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We normally ship via EMS (Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. It usually takes at least 5-14 days to deliver the package after you place an order. Time of delivery is estimated as accurately as possible by the carrier but does not take into account any delays beyond our control such as by inclement weather, post office holiday seasons.
We offer Free International Shipping as long as we can ship your order by either EMS. If you prefer other shipping carriers, please contact us.
We will inform you of the order’s tracking number via email. Please make sure you fill out your valid email address correctly.
*Please keep in mind that due to the spread of COVID-19, there might be possible delays in delivery. If you like to make sure if EMS shipping is available to your country, please contact us.
【How to make sure the condition】
Please keep in mind that what you are going to purchase is an antique item. We uploaded high resolution photos for you to check its condition thoroughly. If you like to see more photos with different angles, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to send them to you so that you can make informed decision.
It is essential for us to know that you are happy with your choice of Kougai and we are prepared to use the best of our ability to serve you.
Would you like see some more Kozuka for sale? Please check the link below. We hope you can find your favorite Kozuka.