Umetada Yanone

Umetada Myoju was both a swordsmith and yanone maker, of outstanding ability, who lived at the time which delineated the transition from "Old Swords" (Koto) and "New Swords" (Shinto). That period was around 1560 AD. He influenced many schools of swordsmiths and had many followers.

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The Yanone in question is of a style called "Karimata". There have been many suppositions regarding the use for which this bifurcated style was designed. What Jack said (see below) is quite correct. However, I have seen old paintings, designs on tsuba, etc. where mounted archers are shown using the karimatas against enemy troops, both Japanese and Mongolian. (See example by Tokujo Goto.) One can imagine the kind of wound such an arrowpoint would inflict on both man and horse! Bifurcated points were also used in Mongolia and China, but the quality of workmanship never came close to what the Japanese could do.

The pieces depicted were never meant to be used, but would have been either for presentation to a highly placed person, or to a temple. Such works were a 'tour de force' to demonstrate the highest level of artistry and craftsmanship of the maker - and thus be a fitting gift. They are extremely rare pieces, since Umetada did not make very many of them. The fact that the karimata is in pristine condition makes it that much rarer. I photographed them some years ago when a fine collection was in my keep for a short time.

Regards,
George


 
Editor's Note:
What I said was that forked arrowheads were designed for cutting rope or fabric and were widely used against encampments and against ship's rigging in the west as well as the Orient.

Jack



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