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Old 14th July 2009, 05:19 PM   #1
Mytribalworld
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Default ainu knife?

Hi,

Just bougth this knife , I think its ainu?

blade seems to be broken.

Arjan.
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Old 15th July 2009, 08:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandaukudi
Hi,

Just bougth this knife , I think its ainu?

blade seems to be broken.

Arjan.
Hi Arjan,

Nice piece!
Where would we be without Google...

check this link and take the online ainu tour http://images.google.nl/imgres?imgur...%3D84%26um%3D1

the knifes are in room 3.....

Arjan.
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Old 15th July 2009, 08:28 PM   #3
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Hi Arjan,

Yesssssssssssss, Ainu it is !!!

Sorry, but this illiterate soul never heard of ainu.
And I am afraid I am not the only one on the forum

However, the mix between rough material such as antler and the japanese / samurai style explains why I once had a pipe container that was roughly made of antler, with the carving of a rough but otherwise traditional crane bird. Probably that one was ainu too

The tip of the blade might have been broken of long time ago.
Looks old.

Ps. the carving is really nice, better than those on the website you found.

Ps. 2 : Any Ainu experts around on the forum, for an educated opinion ?
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Old 15th July 2009, 09:02 PM   #4
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I have taken once a couple of pictures of Aynu knifes and sword during the temporary exhibition held in Bamberg (it was dedicated to one old German private collection of Asian Art). It was told also that they normally have Japanese blades, but no blade was visible. Maybe it will help…
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Old 15th July 2009, 10:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tatyana Dianova
I have taken once a couple of pictures of Aynu knifes and sword during the temporary exhibition held in Bamberg (it was dedicated to one old German private collection of Asian Art). It was told also that they normally have Japanese blades, but no blade was visible. Maybe it will help…
Many thanks Tatyana,

I spend some time googling and found a photo of an Ainu exebition wher they displayed a knife what has a lot in common with my example.

couldn't copy the pic so see the link http://www.flickr.com/photos/kuckiba...in/set-157035/
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Last edited by mandaukudi; 15th July 2009 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 16th July 2009, 12:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
I spend some time googling and found a photo of an Ainu exebition wher they displayed a knife what has a lot in common with my example.
Here it is pasted into paint etc..:
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Old 16th July 2009, 01:52 AM   #7
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Well you hit the jackpot Arjan! I think the Ainu items are fascinating and seem to be among the most esoteric of ethnographic weapons. I have researched a little on them, and while hoping that one of our occasional visitors Dr. Peter Bleed will visit, I'll add what I can. He is very keen on these from what I understand, and has come in on a few discussions.

Your knife appears to be the Ainu form of knife, 'makiri', which comes in certain variations including forms distinctively used as carving tools. There are some which have a long iron blade with a wood block at the end, and are used for carving 'inaw' which are shaved sticks representing birds and used in prayer rituals.
The 'broken' end on this example is interesting and I wonder how it corresponds to the scabbard.

The Ainu seem to have been little known until the beginning of the last century, when representatives of these tribes were brought to the Louisiana Purchase Centennial in St. Louis in 1904. According to Fitzhigh and Dubreuil ("Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People", 1999) there were Ainu craftsmen on hand fashioning many of thier crafts, and many items were collected from this event.
As far as is known, the first description of the 'emush', the Ainu sword, was in "Sword and Same" (1700) by Arai Hakesuki. These swords are primarily ceremonial and imbued with spiritual powers, and most material culture of the Ainu, particularly weapons and implements are revered in this way. It is most interesting that the sash (emushat) which carries the sword and often these knives, is considered the most powerfully imbued item of all.

The Ainu are native to Hokkaido, the island north of Japan, and surrounding islands of the Kuriles. They are among the most fascinating anthropological groups associated with possible connections to early man in prehistoric contact with North America, and are believed to have carried on trade with American Indians of Alaska and the American Northwest in certain degrees, whether direct or via intermediary contact.

Tatyana, I have always heard much the same thing, that the swords were often obtained in thier trade with Japan. I am yet unclear on how accurate that is, and whether other sources would have provided blades for the swords. The blades for the knives were from trade contacts, and as far as I know they did not forge thier own blades.

While absolutely no expert on these Ainu items, I have long found them fascinating, and just gathered a few notes on hand.

Asomotif, these Ainu items have come up on so few occasions over many years, and invariably have come up with bizarre identifications, some almost laughable in imagination. In many cases I have seem them termed 'Korean', which is at least a reasonable attempt as these items are quite esoteric as well.

Extremely nice and most unique find Arjan!!!

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 16th July 2009, 02:41 AM   #8
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Default Ainu??

Forgive my slow response. Getting places that require a pass word are always a challenge to me.
I certainly agree that this knife is very nice and quite attractive. IMHO, however, it is NOT "Ainu." It may be inspired by Ainu pieces. And it sort of looks like Ainu material culture, but I am as sure as I can be that it is a LATE EDO piece - maybe a flower arranger's knife - made by a Japanese Netsuke carver for use by a Japanese. Late Edo period Japanese loved exotic ornaments - witness the Namban craze etc etc. Blades like this are hardly common, but I have seen a couple and they "feel" Japanese not Ainu. They are much more refined than real Ainu blades. Furthermore, they lack basic elements of Ainu craftsmenship - eg. 'bracket designs" and fish scale. The also often involved ivory (this one looks like antler, I agree) whihc would NOT be right for Ainu.
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Old 16th July 2009, 04:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbleed
Forgive my slow response. Getting places that require a pass word are always a challenge to me.
I certainly agree that this knife is very nice and quite attractive. IMHO, however, it is NOT "Ainu." It may be inspired by Ainu pieces. And it sort of looks like Ainu material culture, but I am as sure as I can be that it is a LATE EDO piece - maybe a flower arranger's knife - made by a Japanese Netsuke carver for use by a Japanese. Late Edo period Japanese loved exotic ornaments - witness the Namban craze etc etc. Blades like this are hardly common, but I have seen a couple and they "feel" Japanese not Ainu. They are much more refined than real Ainu blades. Furthermore, they lack basic elements of Ainu craftsmenship - eg. 'bracket designs" and fish scale. The also often involved ivory (this one looks like antler, I agree) whihc would NOT be right for Ainu.
Peter
Many,many thanks Jim, Peter and Willem I didn't know very much about Ainu but after some hours googling and with your responses I begin to like Ainu stuff and culture more and more.

I must agree Peter that my first impression of the knife was that it had some Ainu features but had the look of a Japanese knife indeed.

maybe a flower arranger's knife
The blade what looks like it broken off should maybe be shortened to prevent that the point should cut the flowers/tree ,I suppose ?

I agree that Ainu carving looks different , however this has also that woven pattern.The rest looks more Japanese indeed.
What stays however is that the knife below wich has the same handle as my example ( on the pics Willem listed )is on display in an Ainu museum on Hokkaido. ( Nibutani Ainu cultural museum ,Hokkaido)
I don't know in how much Japanese material culture has entered the Ainu, or was it the Ainu culture that has inspired the first Japanese?
I heared that this fact was one of the reasons why Ainu people where discriminated. The Japanese don't like to hear that they are actually later settlers than the Ainu.

Arjan.
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Old 16th July 2009, 05:10 AM   #10
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Well, it's nor the first time we have discussed these knives on this forum so i guess some of us have heard of these blades.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...highlight=ainu
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Old 16th July 2009, 05:46 AM   #11
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Thank you so much Peter for your valuable insight on these fascinating weapons. It really is difficult to guage the often subtle nuances of these Ainu pieces, or at least for those of us not used to seeing them that often. It is great that you always offer good explanations to illustrate what makes the item not Ainu.....and its great to learn.
As always, I'm really glad you came in on this, and look forward to the interesting items you bring up.
All the best,
Jim
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