Title: Playing Dogs
Menuki made of Shakudou
Shakudou contains copper and a little amount of gold, so that it makes glossy purplish-black color. This Menuki is the combination of dogs playing together. Each of them has a different color or pattern of their furs. There is a dog which is decorated with gold. After dogs grew up, some of them became great hunting dogs or guard dogs. The owner of this Menuki might have hoped to become a brave warrior by putting small dog motifs that would be brave.
Dogs have been familiar with our daily life since ancient times. In the past, there were only middle-sized dogs in Japan, which means no small dogs existed. But in 732, a little dog was presented as a gift from the Continent to Japan. The then emperor loved it very much. After this dog passed away, the emperor ordered to make an ornament of it, and this display object became the talisman against evils. Later, it combined with the lion’s image. Have you ever seen Komainu? Komainu is a statue that is usually placed in shrines. They look like a mixture of dog and lion. According to a theory, the small dog above and lion were the originals of Komainu.
Dog pattern represents a safe delivery and the wish for children to grow up healthy. Therefore dogs patterns are often found in Kimono (traditional Japanese costume) for ladies and children. However, it was not only women or children who appreciated the dog pattern. There was a Shogun (the top of Samurai who ruled entire Japan) who is famous even today for loving animals: Tsunayoshi Tokugawa, the 5th Shogun in the Edo period. He promulgated a law to protect animals’ lives. It is said he had more than one hundred dogs. He was called “Inu Shogun,” which means Shogun of dogs in Japanese.
*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. We will use DHL instead for those who ordered from Canada or Australia as EMS temporarily stops shipping to these countries due to COVID-19. We offer Free International Shipping as long as we can ship your order by either EMS or DHL (Australia, Canada only). 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 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.