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The Japanese Yano Ne
Part 9 of 10

(73-75) Shin no kokku (real lance-shape).

These largest and most elaborately chiselled yano ne are nearly all of Toyotomi and Tokugawa times, after the long peace began and combat ceased. Then iron armour, the real defence, was no longer made or needed, and the coat of mail became a light affair of lacquer, silk cord, and brocade, a matter of luxury and show. The Taiko was a parvenu, self-made, risen from the half-educated masses of the people, without traditions or classic tastes, and the purely severe forms and sober decorations of the Ashikagas were lost upon him and his successors. Their tastes were for the richly gorgeous, the ornate and lavish splendour. Everything was for show and ornament, and Umetada lavished on his arrow-heads and sword-blades cutting and chiselling that the Ashikagas would have frowned upon.

(76)Shin no hokku (real lance-shape, wild boar's eye cutting). (77) Mata (divided). (78) Shin no hokku (real lance-shape, boar's eye cutting) (79) Mata (divided). (80) Shin no sabao (mackerel's tail).

There is an acute difference of opinion, a strong contention between two of the American collectors of yano ne, as to whether the arrow-heads should be left to rust, or kept in as brilliant polish as sword-blades. The beautiful pairs of Akihisa yano ne in the Walters and Mansfield collections are as keen-edged, as perfectly polished, as any sword-blades, and these are the models for one faction. The other faction decry the touch of oil or pumice, and insist that patina is as desirable as on bronze objects. The large yano ne naturally rusted in disuse and neglect after the Restoration, and foreigners were slow to discover them and recognize value and merit as great as in any sword-blades. Ten years ago one might buy yano ne at three, five, and ten yen, and a pair of brilliant Akihisa yano ne for thirty yen. There are none to be had now if one should offer three hundred yen.

Yano Ne.
(Howard Mansfield Collection.)

Yano Ne.
(Howard Mansfield Collection.)

Yano Ne.
(Howard Mansfield Collection.)

Swordsmith, Sukihara of Bizen.
(C. Stuart Smith Collection.)

(81) Matu (divided). (82, 83) Shin no hokku (real lance-shape, boar's eye cutting). (84) Gio-no-uma-ne (prayer arrow).[1]