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Subject:identify mon on old japanese box
Posted By: manuD Wed, Feb 14, 2018 IP:

Could you identify the mon on the left, the one on the right seems to be the Paulownia of the Toyotomi clan.

I also wonder what was usually stored in this box, about 54cm wide, and if it is of any value

Subject:Re: identify mon on old japanese box
Posted By: sue Thu, Feb 15, 2018

This chest is a hasami bako. That is a sissors box. It's original use back in the Edo peroid was for the transportation of a samurai's goods.
Samurai originally carried their belongings sandwiched into a piece of split bamboo ie 'sissored'.Later on when boxes such as your came into being for this transportation use they also got called hasami.
The brass handles of your box will swing upwards to take a pole through the upper slots .
These boxes have been around for hundreds of years and their use spread to other classes.....merchants etc.
They would be used to store valuables , mainly silk clothing.
In more 'modern' times the hasami bako was probably less mobile. More likely moving back and forth from Kura to house . Rather than around the countryside.
I don't know the second crest, the one you have identified does seem to be paulownia. Whilst crests were used for certain families , the regularity with which you see some of these crests makes me assume that they were used far more widely than for just one family.

Subject:Re: identify mon on old japanese box
Posted By: manuD Thu, Feb 15, 2018

Thank you very much for this detailed and very interesting comment. Now I have a better understanding of the purpose of this box. All that remains now is to identify the crest with the three birds. So far I havent found anything on internet.
best regards

Posted By: beadiste Sat, Feb 17, 2018

At first I thought the little birds could be plovers (chidori), a popular meme in Japanese art.

But, considering the bamboo leaves (plovers would be accompanied by waves), perhaps the little birds are sparrows (suzume), another legendary bird.

Subject:Date clan
Posted By: beadiste Sat, Feb 17, 2018

Suzume are used in over three dozen mon, including that of the Date clan when combined with bamboo.

A list of many sparrow and bamboo mon is at this link:

Subject:Re: Date clan
Posted By: manuD Sun, Feb 18, 2018

thank you all very much for these comments.

Am I correct to assume that the combination of the two mons identifies one specific family/clan, and what kind of clan, would that be (noble or ordinary family)?

This is to have an idea of the age and value of the box.


Subject:Re: identify mon on old japanese box
Posted By: Mike Malone Sun, Feb 18, 2018

I think this is the one but someone else will need to translate it for you.

Subject:Re: identify mon on old japanese box
Posted By: Gakusei Sat, Feb 17, 2018

In W.M. Hawleys book "MON - The Japanese family crest" (1976) I have found this crest on page 46: "Bamboo & Sparrow". He listed sixteen royal Kuge families e.g. Bôjô, Honami, Ikegami, etc. who used this MON.
The first Paulownia MON depicted on page 7 is IMHO identical with the MON on the chest. It was used for example by the Daimyo Ashimori in Bitchu or by different Matsudaira clans (3-5-3 Paulownia). The Toyotomi MON shows a 5-7-5 Paulownia (seven "flowers" in the middle and five "flowers" on each flank).

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