Helpful hints for handling Katchū

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Piers Dowding
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Helpful hints for handling Katchū

Post by Piers Dowding »

Sometimes it is good to know in advance the basic rules for handling pieces of armour/armor, such as how to pack/unpack a boxed set.

Some things become second nature, out of respect for the materials and integrity of a piece, or just by way of good manners. Usually these are learnt directly from a Sensei, but out in the marketplace unnecessary damage can be caused by ignorance.

A recent thread mentioned a loose tsunomoto, so instead of commenting there I thought a dedicated thread might be good. I hope our members will correct or add to this thread as the inspiration kicks in.

So, to get the ball rolling,
1. When you remove a Maédaté it could be tight and you may be tempted to rock it left and right as you pull upwards. This is a no-no as it can gradually loosen the tsunomoto itself. No rocking action! (Gently but firmly pull straight upwards.)
Last edited by Piers Dowding on Mon Oct 04, 2021 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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John Wee Tom
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Re: Helpful hints for handling Katchū

Post by John Wee Tom »

Great idea for this thread, Piers!
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Piers Dowding
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Re: Helpful hints for handling Katchū

Post by Piers Dowding »

Well, this thread has not yet taken off, so please allow me to add something in the meantime.

2. When placing a cuirass into a Yoroi-bitsu, it is tempting to drop it straight in, upright. As we know, though, they were traditionally lowered in upside down, with the Watakami (Wadakami, Watagami, etc.) facing down and taking the weight. The Kusazuri (Gesan) are folded back over to hang inwards. (You can leave them hanging outside the box, and then finally bring them over to cover the central pile.) Various smaller pieces such as the Sangu are lowered into the central hollow space. If the Kabuto has no separate box, then this will be placed on top of the smaller parts pile, and the Maedate folded into a cloth (bag) and placed somewhere (under/inside the Kabuto for example if flat or small enough) where it will not get damaged. Many original sets of Katchu were kept in individual numbered/named string-tied bags, one saying 'Sune-ate', or 'Hai-date' and another 'Sode', for example.

A famous Katchushi told me that bubble wrap is a no-no. It tends to trap moisture and encourage rust. He showed me some large sheets of white semi-translucent paper that are perfect for wrapping individual parts. He also frowned upon any kind of artificial insect or moth repellent. Place some small red To-garashi peppers in the corners of the box, he said. Insects do not like those.
Last edited by Piers Dowding on Mon Oct 04, 2021 10:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Jan Pettersson
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Re: Helpful hints for handling Katchū

Post by Jan Pettersson »

I got some stunning sake cups with black urushi and maki-e decorations. The old guy that sold them to me, included a bunch of washi papers. He told me to individually wrap each cup in this paper as washi paper was by far the best way to store old urushi artifacts. However, he didn’t mention the pepper 🙂

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Re: Helpful hints for handling Katchū

Post by Piers Dowding »

Jan, I do not think that urushi is affected by insects. :)
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Re: Helpful hints for handling Katchū

Post by Jan Pettersson »

The Urushi-Beetle? 😂😂😂

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Peter Frischknecht
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Re: Helpful hints for handling Katchū

Post by Peter Frischknecht »

As for #2
In case of a ni-mai dō, you can separate the dō's front and back by removing the cotter and the put the dō's front into its back which leaves some more freedom for placing the other parts.

As for the bubble wrap:
I can well see the reasoning for wrapping individual parts into this special type of translucent paper. (Especially if you life in a country with high relative humidity like Japan.)
However, if you want to send an armor overseas, bubble wrapping the individual parts is a must.
You also might want to place a extra layers of large size bubble wrap on the floor of the armor box to act as shock absorber in case the box gets dropped.
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Piers Dowding
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Re: Helpful hints for handling Katchū

Post by Piers Dowding »

All very good points, particularly for international shipping. (Although six weeks in a hot container might be a consideration!) The guy was talking about long-term storage within a Japanese traditional environment.

Thank you Peter.
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