I have a very large descriptive text in the Singing Bowls section of my website. This is the Link. http://www.bonsaiinformation.com/largebowl.htm and this information related mainly to the Tokugawa Shogunate because I have a large Temple bowl given by the Shogun Iyeasu in 1600 to the Horyuji Temple .
I first became interested in the Samurai culture through my teaching of Fencing . I was a fencing teacher as my sport for over 25 years and studied all forms of martial art since age 7. First with Jujitsu, then Judo, Karate and Tae Kwon Do. However, I was very interested in both Chinese Martial Arts and the various disciplines of Kung Fu and Sword play. I put to good use my knowledge of fighting in that I was a fight director for Scottish opera, Scottish Ballet, English National Opera , Opera North , BBC and many films and television productions.
I have studied Samurai culture for many years and I hope that my descriptions will be of interest to you
Akimitsu The Samurai Archer 60.8x185cm 23.9x72.8 £295
Japanese bows date back to prehistoric times — the Jōmon Period. The long, unique asymmetrical bow style with the grip below the centre emerged under the Yayoi culture (300 BC – 300 AD) Bows became the symbol of authority and power. The legendary first emperor of Japan, Emperor Jimmu, is always depicted carrying a bow.
The use of the bow had been on foot until around the 4th century when elite soldiers took to fighting on horseback with bows and swords. In the 10th century, samurai would have archery duels on horseback. They would ride at each other and try to shoot at least three arrows. These duels did not necessarily have to end in death, as long as honor was satisfied. One of the most famous and celebrated incidents of Japanese mounted archery occurred during the Genpei War (1180–1185), an epic struggle for power between the Heike and Genji clans that was to have a major impact on Japanese culture, society, and politics.
At the Battle of Yashima, the Heike, having been defeated in battle, fled to Yashima and took to their boats. They were fiercely pursued by the Genji on horseback, but the Genji were halted by the sea.
As the Heike waited for the winds to be right, they presented a fan hung from a mast as a target for any Genji archer to shoot at in a gesture of chivalrous rivalry between enemies.
One of the Genji samurai, Nasu Yoichi, accepted the challenge. He rode his horse into the sea and shot the fan cleanly through. Nasu won much fame and his feat is still celebrated to this day.
During the Kamakura Period (1192–1334), mounted archery was used as a military training exercise to keep samurai prepared for war. Those archers who did poorly might find themselves commanded to commit seppuku, or ritualistic suicide.
There are two famous schools of mounted archery that perform yabusame. One is the Ogasawara school. The founder, Ogasawara Nagakiyo, was instructed by the shogun Minamoto Yoritomo (1147–1199) to start a school for archery. Yoritomo wanted his warriors to be highly skilled and disciplined. Archery was seen as a good way for instilling the necessary principles for a samurai warrior.
Zen became a major element in both foot and mounted archery as it also became popular among the samurai in every aspect of their life during the Kamakura Period.
Yabusame as a martial art helped a samurai learn concentration, discipline, and refinement. Zen taught breathing techniques to stabilize the mind and body, giving clarity and focus. To be able to calmly draw one's bow, aim, and shoot in the heat of battle, and then repeat, was the mark of a true samurai who had mastered his training and his fear.
The other archery school was begun earlier by Minamoto Yoshiari in the 9th century at the command of Emperor Uda. This school became known as the Takeda school of archery. The Takeda style has been featured in classic samurai films such as Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" (1954) and "Kagemusha" (1980). The famed actor of many samurai films, Toshirō Mifune, was a noted student of the Takeda school.
Unrei, Akamatsu 雲嶺 赤松 (1892 - 1958)
Yumi (弓) is the Japanese term for bows, and includes the longer daikyū (大弓) and the shorter hankyū (半弓) used in the practice of kyūdō, or Japanese archery.
This gloriously coloured portrait scroll is of the famous Samurai Oda
Nobunaga (織田 信長)
Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長) Oda Nobunaga (June 23, 1534 – June 21, 1582) was the initiator of the unification of Japan under the rule of the Shogun in the late Sixteenth Century, a rule that ended only with the opening of Japan to the Western world in 1868. He was also a major daimyo during the Sengoku period of Japanese history. His opus was continued, completed and finalised by his successors Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was the second son of Oda Nobuhide, a deputy shugo (military governor) with land holdings in Owari Province. Nobunaga lived a life of continuous military conquest, eventually conquering a third of Japanese daimyo before his death in 1582. His successor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a loyal Oda supporter, would eventually become the first man to conquer all of Japan and the first ruler of all Japan since the Ōnin War.
Nobunaga, Hideyoshi and Ieyasu
HIDEYOSHI TOYOTOMI 1536 - 1598
This is a wonderful
portrait of Toyotomi.
• June 21, 1582 – Oda Nobunaga forced to commit seppuku by Akechi Mitsuhide at Honnon-ji.
• Late June 1582 – Hideyoshi quickly finishes conquest of Takamatsu Castle before news of Nobunaga’s death can get out.
Toyotomi is the Family name
Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the general who first united all of Japan. His wife,, Yodo-dono, was the niece of Oda Nobunaga.
Hideyoshi died in 1598, the regents he had appointed to rule in Hideyori's place began jockeying amongst themselves for power. Tokugawa Iyeasu seized control in 1600, after his victory over the others at the Battle of Sekigahara. In the year 1600 Iyeasu Tokugawa gave a temple bowl to the oldest wooden structure in Japan, the Horyukji Temple in Nara. which is now part of my own collection of Japanese treasures.
Hideyoshi Toyotomi as boy Painted by Shokan 1920 £135 with Box
Famous SAMURAI lord HIDEYOSHI TOYOTOMI and his vassal MASAKATSU HACHISUKA.This scene depicts their first contact. At the time, HIDEYOSHI was only a poor boy and MASAKATSU was a brigand
Hachisuka Masakatsu (蜂須賀正勝?), also Hachisuka Koroku (1526 – July 8,
1586) was a daimyo and retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the
Azuchi-Momoyama period of Japanese history. He was the son of Hachisuka
Very little is known for certain about Hideyoshi before 1570,
when he begins to appear in surviving documents and letters. His
autobiography starts in 1577 but in it Hideyoshi spoke very little about
his past. By tradition, he was born in what is now Nakamura-ku, Nagoya
SHINRAN, Jodoshin-shu the founder of Shinto Buddhism by Shunsui 1920 A short scroll beautifully painted by the Buddhist Scroll artists Shunsui. Remounted onto new silks with a box. £165 52.5x23
Another relation through marriage was the Samurai Kiyomasa Kato
Kiyomasa was born in Owari Province to Katō Kiyotada. Kiyotada's wife, Ito, was a cousin of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's mother. Kiyotada died while his son (then known as Toranosuke) was still young. Soon after, Toranosuke entered service with Hideyoshi, and in 1576, at age 14, was granted a revenue of 170 koku. He fought in Hideyoshi's army at the Battle of Yamazaki, and later, at the Battle of Shizugatake. Owing to his distinguished conduct in that battle, he became known as one of the Seven Spears of Shizugatake. Hideyoshi rewarded Kiyomasa with an increased revenue of 3000 koku.
When Hideyoshi became the kampaku in the summer of 1585, Kiyomasa received the court title of Kazue no Kami (主計頭) and junior 5th court rank, lower grade (ju go-i no ge 従五位下). In 1586, after Higo Province was confiscated from Sassa Narimasa, he was granted 250,000 koku of land in Higo (roughly half of the province), and given Kumamoto Castle as his provincial residence.
In 1592, he joined in the invasion of Korea.Kiyomasa was one of the
three senior commanders during the Seven-Year War (1592-1598) against
the Korean dynasty of Joseon. Together with Konishi Yukinaga, he
captured Seoul, Busan, and many other crucial cities. Kiyomasa was an
excellent architect of castles and fortification. During the Imjin war,
he built several Japanese style castles in Korea to better defend the
conquered lands. Ulsan castle was one of these fortresses that Kiyomasa
built, and it proved its worth when Korean-Chinese allied forces
attacked it with far superior force, yet the out-numbered Japanese
successfully defended the castle until the Japanese reinforcements
arrived, which forced the sino-korean allies to retreat.
The Kato scroll dates from 1920 and has been restored with its original wooden scroll ends. The Kato scroll comes with a box. £195
Japanese Shrine of Emperor
Recently completely restored with new silks and mounts to this beautiful painting from the 1920's
With a wooden box made for this Scroll
Painted by Scroll artist Chikuha this painting is 118 cm (about 46 inches) by 40 cm £170
KABUTO ( SAMURAI helmet ).
However while the scroll mounting is not too bad, I would like to remount this scroll with new silks and will do that during November. I will make a matching size box at the same time. The price will be £195. As is the price is £125
SAMURAI hero MASASHIGE KUSUNOKI £125 Silk Screened and partially hand painted
The great Tea Master Sen no Rikyu
During the reign of Toyotomi Hideyoshi the Tea Ceremony became popular in Japan. Sen no Rikyu(千利休,1522-1591) is the person who established the Japanese Tea Ceremony. He was the one that made the art of making tea into a national art form.. Rikyu synthesized a unique way of life, combining the everyday aspects of living with the highest spiritual and philosophical tenets. This has been passed down to the present as the “Way of Tea.” Hideyoshi was entranced with the ceremony and gave Rikyu an estate. But that did not prevent Hideyoshi from ordering Sen no Rikyu, the great master of the Japanese tea ceremony to commit ritual suicide ("seppuku") in 1591.Rikyu was born in Sakai in 1522. His father, Tanaka Yōhei (田中与 兵衛 / 田中 與兵衞) was a wealthy warehouse owner in the fish wholesale business, and his mother was Tomomi Tayuki (宝心 妙樹). His childhood name, as the eldest son, was Yoshiro (later Rikyu). Sakai is located on the edge of Osaka Bay at the mouth of the Yamato River, which connected the Yamato region (now Nara Prefecture) to the sea. Sakai thus became a link between foreign trade and inland trade, and merchant citizens ran the city. In those days it was said that the richest cities were Umi Sakai, Riku Imai (tr. "along the sea, Sakai, inlands Imai").
The famous Zen Buddhist priest Ikkyu (一休宗純 Ikkyū Sōjun) (1394-1481) chose to live in Sakai because of its free atmosphere. Ikkyu was an eccentric, iconoclastic Japanese Zen Buddhist priest and poet. He was also one of the creators of the formal Japanese tea ceremony. Because of the close relationship between the tea ceremony and Zen Buddhism, and because of the prosperity of its citizens, Sakai became one of the main centers for the tea ceremony in Japan.
In 1538, at an early age, Yoshiro began his study of tea. His first teacher was Kitamuki Dochin (北向道陳) who taught tea in the traditional style suited to the shoin (a drawing room in the traditional Japanese architecture) reception room. In 1540 Rikyu started to learn from Takeno Jo-o (武野紹鴎), who is associated with the development of the wabi aesthetic in tea ceremony, a new style featuring a small, thatched tea house. Kitamuki Dochin (北向道陳) and Takeno Jo-o（武野紹鴎）were both famous tea masters and wealthy merchants in Sakai. Takeno Jo-o developed Wabi-cha, which had been begun by Murata Shuko (村田珠光)、and initiated Rikyu in the new tradition.
Rikyu, like Shuko and Jo-o, also underwent Zen training at Daitoku-ji, a temple in northwest Kyoto that had a long tradition of the tea ceremony. Thereafter, he changed his name to Sen Soueki, taking the family name of Sen from his grandfather's name, Sen-ami.
It was then that Rikyu composed the poem that dates from that time: "Though many people drink tea, if you do not know the Way of Tea, tea will drink you up." The meaning is that without any spiritual training, you think you are drinking tea, but actually tea drinks you up.
Rikyu synthesized a unique way of life, combining the everyday aspects of living with the highest spiritual and philosophical tenets. This has been passed down to the present as the “Way of Tea.”
At the end of sixteenth century the tea ceremony was prevalent, centering on Sakai. The important merchants of Sakai were collecting prestigious tea implements and enjoying new styles of the tea ceremony. At that time Oda Nobunaga banished the Murimachi shogunate of Ashikaga Yoshimasa from Kyoto. This was the era in which Oda Nobunaga’s political and military power was unifying the nation. Nobunaga recognized the popularity of the tea ceremony, and he also began to study and participate in the tea ceremony. It is thought that around 1573 Rikyu was invited to be the Master of Tea Ceremony for Nobunaga. Nobunaga allowed his followers to do the tea ceremony, and it became a rite of the Samurai (warriors). Nobunaga’s political strategy was named ochanoyu goseido (the tea ceremony policy). Nobunaga also emphasized the collection of special tea implements; if his followers rendered distinguished services they received these valuable items as rewards. Receiving such a gift was considered as honorable as being named a feudal lord.
In 1578 Rikyu’s wife, Houshin Myoujyu, died; he later married a second wife, Shushin. The Incident at Honnōji (本能寺の変Honnōji-no-hen), on June 21, 1582, resulted in the forced suicide of Oda Nobunaga at the hands of his samurai general Akechi Mitsuhide. This occurred in Honnoji, a temple in Kyoto, ending Nobunaga's quest to consolidate centralized power in Japan under his authority. After the death of Nobunaga, Rikyu became the head tea master of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the de facto successor of Nobunaga. Hideyoshi continued Nobunaga's policy and unified Japan after several years of civil war.
Ostensibly in charge of tea, Rikyu wielded great influence over Hideyoshi in other matters as well. When Hideyoshi hosted a tea at the Imperial Palace in 1585, Rikyu received the Buddhist title of koji from the Emperor Ogimachi, thus establishing his prominence among the practitioners of tea in Japan. We can understand Rikyu’s position from a letter written by Otomo Sorin, who was a powerful feudal lord at that time. Sorin wrote, “Hideyoshi’s private secretary at the window was Rikyu and Hideyoshi’s official secretary at the window was the general Hidenaga (Hideyoshi’s step brother).” This means that Rikyu occupied the position closest to Hideyoshi and controlled who had access to him, while Hideyoshi’s brother-in-law only acted in an official capacity. From this we can appreciate the magnitude of the political power held by Rikyu in Hideyoshi’s administration.
Around this period Rikyu moved his residence from Sakai to Kyoto, lived on the premises in front of Daitoku-ji temple and set up a tea room named Fushinan, which became the base for his tea ceremony activities and for the schools he established.
In 1585 a special tea ceremony was held to celebrate the inauguration of Toyotomi Hideyoshi as Kanpaku (the regent or the chief adviser to the Emperor). Hideyoshi performed the tea ceremony for Emperor Ogimachi, with Rikyu as his on-stage assistant. On this occasion Rikyu was given the special Buddhist name “Rikyu kojigou” by Emperor Ogimachi and, in both name and reality, Rikyu became the supreme tea master.
In 1587 when Hideyoshi attacked Shimazu, the feudal lord in Kyushu (southern part of Japan), Rikyu accompanied him. He held several tea ceremonies in Kyushu and worked to establish a cultural and political exchange with the wealthy and powerful business people of Kyushu, such as Kamiya Sotan and Shimai Soshitsu.
Then a lavish palace called the Jurakudai or Jurakutei (聚楽第) was constructed in Kyoto by the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Construction began in 1586, when Hideyoshi had taken the post of Kanpaku, and required 19 months for completion. The location is in present-day Kamigyō, on the site where the Imperial palace had stood during the Heian period. Rikyu was also given a residence nearby. Hideyoshi hosted a large tea ceremony party at the precinct of Kitano Tenman-gū (北野天満宮), a Shinto shrine in Kyoto.
During this time, Chanoyu (tea ceremony) came into contact with Christianity. Many missionaries came to Sakai and Kyoto, where they befriended Rikyu and the other teachers of tea. Among the seven principle students of Rikyu were three devout Christians: Furuta Oribe, Takayama Ukon, and Gamou Ujisato.
It was during his later years that Rikyu began to use very tiny, rustic tearooms, such as the two-tatami (Japanese mat) tearoom named Taian, which can be seen today at Myokian temple in Yamazaki, a suburb of Kyoto. This tea room has been declared a national treasure. He also developed many implements for tea ceremony, including flower containers, tea scoops, and lid rests made of bamboo, and also used everyday objects for the tea ceremony, often in novel ways. In addition, he pioneered the use of Raku tea bowls and had a preference for simple, rustic items made in Japan, rather than the expensive Chinese-made items that were fashionable at the time.
Although Rikyu had once been one of Hideyoshi's closest confidants, for reasons which remain unknown, Hideyoshi ordered him to commit ritual suicide, which he did at his Jurakudai residence in Kyoto on February 28, 1591, at the age of seventy. Rikyu's grave is located at Jukoin temple in the Daitokuji compound in Kyoto; his posthumous Buddhist name is Fushin'an Rikyu Soeki Koji.
Memorials for Rikyu are observed annually by many schools of Japanese tea ceremony. The Urasenke School’s memorial takes place each year on March 28.
Notes on Toyotomi Hedeyoshi are also below
The most significant figure in Japanese history, as far as the Japanese are concerned, is Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598). Even his lifetime he was considered one of the greatest of the Japanese, and he was made a Shinto deity shortly after his death and given the title, Hokoku, or "Wealth of the Nation." He began in the most obscure circumstances—the homeless son of a peasant— and rose to become the complete master of Japan by 1590. Hideyoshi had no last name when he began to serve Oda Nobunaga; by the end of his life, he had assumed the family name, Toyotomi, or "Abundant Provider."
Oda Nobunaga had attempted to unify Japan through sheer brute force; Toyotomi furthered this endeavor by concentrating on the arts of peace and administration. Oda had done, you might say, all the dirty work and it was left to Toyotomi to forge a new administrative organization to guarantee unification. His goal was to establish a national structure which allowed various regional feudatories to remain independent and yet still cooperate among one another. He did not wish to establish a centralized government under his control, even though, by 1590, he was the undisputed master of Japan. The government that he built was founded on the old feudal system of personal loyalties rather than administrative centrality. While he pacified the country, he did not fundamentally change the Japanese way of national life.
Most of the measures that Hideyoshi employed would become the basis of Tokugawa rule only a decade later and were instrumental in the long period of domestic quiet that characterized the Tokugawa period (1603-1868). Foremost among these was Hideyoshi's laws barring social mobility. He was concerned about people like himself and his former lord, Oda Nobunaga, who had risen from obscurity through the force of ambition and ruthless single-mindedness. Hideyoshi made class a permanent status for individuals and their offspring; in particular, he made the samurai ("servants"), who were the professional soldiers of Japan, into a separate class and forbade anyone from the non-samurai class to carry weapons or armor.
Hideyoshi's greatest ambition, however, was a Japanese empire extending over the whole of Asia. Throughout the medieval period, the centrality of Japan became more and more an intrinsic aspect of the Japanese national identity. Nobunaga had harbored dreams of a Japanese conquest of China and Hideyoshi attempted to bring those dreams into reality. Shortly after he had unified the feudatories of Japan, he began planning his conquest of China. In 1592 and 1597, he invaded Korea and seized much territory in order to prepare a jumping-off point for the conquest of China through Korea. When he died in 1598, however, all his plans died with him. It was not until the twentieth century that the dream of a Japanese empire would again stir the Japanese to attack Korea and then China.
Hideyoshi's imperial ambitions led him to neglect domestic politics throughout the 1590's. The peace he had brought to Japan had held together only out of personal loyalties to Hideyoshi. These loyalties ran deep, for Hideyoshi had amassed tremendous wealth and lavished it on the imperial court and on various lords throughout the country (hence his posthumous title, "Wealth of the Nation"). When he died, however, the loyalties that people felt for him died as well. He was enshrined in his own temple, called Toyokuni ("Wealth of the Nation") sitting above the Great Buddha he had built in Kyoto. His shrine became a prominent Shinto site, but the affection form him and his era could not hold the country together. The various feudal lords again fell into contention with one another and Hideyoshi's son lost out in the scramble for regional power. The final unification of Japan would fall to the third great hero of Japanese history, Tokugawa Ieyasu.1542-1616
An immortal in the form of a warrior. . A remarkable painting that we had to preserve for the future enjoyment of us all. With his big white beard I always think that this is aa Japanese version of Santa Clause. The embroidered antique Kimono Silk covered box has pine needles and stylised winter mountains. A lovely work of art in itself.£185.