Title: Inaho Zu
The Inaho (稲穂, ears of rice) is the motif of this Menuki. It seems the Noshi (熨斗) is put on a bunch of rice ears. The Noshi is a strip of decorative folded paper attached to gift wrapping as a lucky symbol. The golden string that ties Noshi is the Mizuhiki (水引). According to a theory, the origin of the Noshi was thin-sliced abalone that is sandwiched between papers. And it was attached to gifts. A bundle of multiple Noshis is called the Tabane Noshi (束ね熨斗). The Noshi is an auspicious item, and the Tabane Noshi is a bunch of this good luck motif. Therefore, it is said that the Tabane Noshi pattern means receiving many blessings and sharing happiness with other people. Also, as each Noshi has an elongated shape, this motif represents longevity.
Since ancient times, rice has been worshiped as an essential food and considered a symbol of wealth. In addition, it has been treated like a treasure. Some people believe gods dwell in rice. Therefore, the Inaho pattern has often been designed as a crest of the Inari (稲荷) shrine, which enshrines the Inari god, who is regarded as the god of grain and agriculture. The former owner of this sword might have worshipped the Inari god. Also, this plant motif is seen in family crests. It is one of the familiar designs for Japanese people. We could guess that this Menuki’s design might have been chosen in the hope of a plentiful harvest and a prosperous life.
*As this item is an antique, please check each photo and ensure its condition.
What is Menuki?
Menuki is a kind of metal fitting of the Japanese sword, which was initially put into the handle’s hole. It covers Mekugi (nail) so that the blade of a sword will be fixed. Originally, Menuki was used to hold Mekugi, but they became separated over time. And then, Menuki had developed its practicality and beauty for the decoration of the Japanese sword.
Menuki became more decorative than in early modern times. Since it had been attached under the Tsukamaki (the handle of the Japanese sword wrapped by thread), Menuki played an essential role in making it easier to grip the sword’s handle.
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.
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*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 Menuki and we are prepared to use the best of our ability to serve you.
Would you like see some more Menuki for sale? Please check the link below. We hope you can find your favorite Menuki.