Need help dating/researching pieces

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Kevin Wilder
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Need help dating/researching pieces

Post by Kevin Wilder »

Hi all,

I'm trying to find some dates/reputable source of some pieces that I've seen online.

Context: I am starting out as a fighter in the International medieval combat federation (IMCF), and I'm interested in fighting in katchu to pay respect to my heritage as I'm half Japanese. Im able to make my own armor but the IMCF has an authenticity committee that approves armor pieces to be used in fights and they require that all armor need to be historically accurate to 14th - 17th centuries with credible sources such as publications, museum pieces, authentic dated artwork, and scholarly articles.

I've been able to find sources for almost all the armor pieces I've found so far except for a couple of kotes and a suneate.

I have done a reverse image search on these and all it leads to is quora where folks post them using them as examples or pintrist with absolutely no context or information. I emailed the business that has the watermark and all they have told me is that it's from the Edo period and nothing else.
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I am looking at kotes with the most coverage/protection so my elbows don't get smashed so if you've seen other ones that has a credible sourse and are just as covering I'd appreciate a link to the source.

Any and all help is appreciated, thank you for reading.
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Uwe Sacklowski
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Re: Need help dating/researching pieces

Post by Uwe Sacklowski »

Hello Kevin,

you already ask this, admittedly exceptional question, at the NMB. I will try to answer it tomorrow….too late today, sry…
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Piers Dowding
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Re: Need help dating/researching pieces

Post by Piers Dowding »

While I admire and understand your intentions, personally I would be sad to see these used in actual fighting as they are rare and almost pristine examples of their kind.

I have for two decades worn genuine antique Japanese armour for blackpowder displays, but always avoiding contact with anything if at all possible. Even so, there is inevitable gradual attrition. Silk thread/cords for example self destruct after a couple of hundred years.

You will need to be able to repair constantly. Today there is no longer available that safety net of invisible armor repair, with very few artisans now able to complete such work with the understanding and full respect due. Rare as hens’ teeth. It will be expensive and time-consuming even if/when you can find one.
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John Wee Tom (Wed Feb 28, 2024 1:19 pm)
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Piers Dowding
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Re: Need help dating/researching pieces

Post by Piers Dowding »

PS Many pieces of Japanese armour are impossible to date precisely. Occasionally you’ll be very lucky to find a date. Otherwise you can study and become aware of changing trends and fashions and say in most cases for example “mid Edo” at best. Even museums usually avoid any closer or more precise attribution.
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Uwe Sacklowski (Wed Feb 28, 2024 6:41 am) • John Wee Tom (Wed Feb 28, 2024 1:19 pm)
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Luc Taelman
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Re: Need help dating/researching pieces

Post by Luc Taelman »

I agree with Piers. Sometimes it looks early edo, then you find a date and it is late edo. Or the other way around. I should say rather late edo, but no guarantee.
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John Wee Tom (Wed Feb 28, 2024 1:19 pm)
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Uwe Sacklowski
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Re: Need help dating/researching pieces

Post by Uwe Sacklowski »

Hello Kevin,

the pictured kote above are most likely late Edo period pieces, probably made of leather (nerikawa). As already mentioned, dating kote more precisely as Muromachi, Momoyama or Edo is in most cases very difficult. You can get closer if you have a mei (inscription of the craftsman who made the sleeves). Dated kote are very rare, so mostly you have to rely on referenced specimens or the mei itself. There are a lot of types made over a long timespan.

Here some are listed:

Shino-gote
Tsutsu-gote
Sashinuki-gote
Tominaga-sashinuki-gote
Fukube-gote (Oda-gote)
Kusari-gote (Etchû-gote)
Bishamon-gote
Tsugi-gote
Ubu-gote
Namazu-gote (Yoshitsune-gote)

...etc.

Do I got you right, you want to build your own kote based on an original model with the main focus on protection of the ellbows?!
Then please bear in mind, the denser the armor and the more plates you have, the greater the restrictions on mobility....
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Piers Dowding
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Re: Need help dating/researching pieces

Post by Piers Dowding »

Ah, apologies, I complete misunderstood your original message, Kevin. Uwe got it right! You wish to make your own.
All is forgiven!
(Some of the lame joints on late Edo armour as in your kote above may have been influenced by or drawn inspiration from medieval European armor.)
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