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Old 2nd August 2010, 05:48 AM   #1
A. G. Maisey
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Default The Sendai Keris

Hasekura Tsunenaga was a Japanese samurai and diplomat who was born in 1571 and died in 1622.

He undertook diplomatic missions to the Americas, Europe, and the Philippine Islands.

He returned from his mission the the Philippines in 1620, and amongst the things he brought with him was a keris from the Indies, that is, Indonesia.

That keris can now be found in the Sendai City Museum in Japan.

Here is a picture of the keris brought to Japan in 1620 by Hasekura Tsunenaga.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 12:54 PM   #2
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That's interesting. Too bad we don't have some better images.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 01:38 PM   #3
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Here two interesting links, which are an absolute must:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Date_Masamune - about the famous daimyo of Sendai, one of the Japans christian daimyos, who sent this ambassy;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasekura_Tsunenaga

About Sendai Keris: it isn't clear, where exactly it was obtained. There are also a hypothesis, it was given to Tsunenaga in Spain (by Spanish king) or in Rome (by pope). Philppines is just another hypothesis.

Clear is, that such a weapon must be given by a very high rang person as a status symbol.

The most interesting thing, besides the keris himself (a magnificient keris with perfect details and early stile kinatah, also a figural hilt) is the sheath, where on atasan a symbol, which seems to be a christian one, is depicted, together with alas-alasan motifs on the gandar.

Somewhat better pictures are to be find in Jensen's Krisdisk.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 02:51 PM   #4
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Maybe this photo will help.

ADDED: Actually, nw that i look more closely, this is the same photo which Alan cropped just to show the keris....but at least it is a bit larger.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 04:15 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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It is interesting to note that this same mission apparantly acquired one of the earliest provenanced examples of the kastane (in the familiar sinha hilt with makaras) of which I am aware. This early example kastane is also on display in the Sendai Museum, perhaps part of the same exhibit, with this material in "The Unique Kastane Sword in Japan" by Dr. P.H.D.H. DeSilva in an article from Nov. 15,1998 listed as in the "Sunday Observer". It notes that Tsunenaga was a vassal of the Daimyo of Sendai and left on the Keicho Mission in 1613, returning in 1620, noting visits to Mexico, Madrid and Rome.

As noted, details of provenance of this, as with the keris, seem a bit vague, and acquiring these suggest visits to these places but apparantly remain unclear.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 11:16 PM   #6
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to be continued
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