Sinitsyn A. Y. Japanese Yamato-Gura Saddles in the Collection by the Crown-Prince Nicholas Romanov in MAE RAS (Kunstkamera)

Alexander Y. Sinitsyn
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Saint Petersburg, Russia


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ABSTRACT. MAE RAS (Kunstkamera) possesses two sets of Japanese yamato-gura saddles belonging to the collection by Crown-Prince Nicholas Romanov, which he acquired in Japan in 1891. Both of these saddles are masterpieces of the Edo period traditional applied arts and crafts and are representative illustrations of one of the facets of the warrior class culture of the Tokugawa Japan. Japanese combat saddles meeting the refined tastes of the military elite were distinguished by gorgeous ornamentation, expensive materials applied, and a variety of sophisticated decorative techniques, motifs and symbols. Such items could also act as a high status memorial gift. For this reason, traditional Japanese saddles are viewed as significant exhibits in the world’s private and museum collections, MAE RAS among them. However, MAE documents provide very approximate descriptions of these items and do not consider the distinguishing features of their design and decoration. This article aims to provide an adequate description of these two sets of saddles in the context of the traditional Japanese terminological apparatus; consider the main elements of their construction; characterize the materials, decorative techniques and ornamental motifs involved; and to comment on the inscriptions on the saddles (including Japanese names of the artisans and dates of production) and heraldic symbols.


KEYWORDS: Japanese yamato-gura saddles, collection by Crown-Prince Nicholas Romanov, MAE RAS, Kunstkamera, attribution


УДК 069.5:39(=521)
DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2020-4(10)-106-118



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