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  • karl.j.jacobs@jci.com
    Fujiwara-dono wrote: If you are thinking of making modern style brocade obi to signify your Master or Knight by colour or your squirehood by the same, I would
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 8, 2000
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      Fujiwara-dono wrote:
      If you are thinking of making modern style brocade obi to signify
      your Master or Knight by colour or your squirehood by the same, I
      would discourage you from doing so. The Japanese system of ranks as
      signified by belt colour is a modern thing and I would not like to
      see it encouraged among Japanese personae in our Society.

      I reply:
      Yes, I'm aware that the kyu-dan ranking system and use of belt colors
      for ranks is very modern. I seem to remember hearing that it was
      developed by Jigoro Kano. My thought of the colored obi stemmed
      not from that, but from the typical SCA customs of white belt for
      knights, white sash for Masters of Arms, red belt for squires, yellow
      belt for protoges and green belt for apprentices. Using colored obi
      seemed a way to adapt something from the conventions of our Current
      Middle Ages instead of trying to find some analogy from the Historical
      Middle Ages. I do not remember the white sashes from Shogun.

      Hmm, what about white brocade jimbaori? I know they were worn with
      armor, but how about with civilian clothing?

      Thank you for the information on the brocades and gauze! Were colors
      always regulated, or was that something more from the Heian and
      Tokugawa eras? Were colors regulated only for brocades or for solid
      colored, unpatterned fabrics?


      Throndardottir-dono wrote:
      Incidentally, how is Nordskogen? St. Paul is one of the cities where I
      currently have a job offer.

      It's a very large and active barony. Lots of folks there who are doing
      fencing. High proportion of peers in the population. Some regular
      equestrian practices, from what I've been told. Unfortunately, I have
      not spent much time there recently, so I can't be of more help than
      that. I could put you in touch with folks there, if you'd like.

      Throndardottir-dono wrote:
      Err. As I recall, the militant monastics generally dressed as monastics
      and descended on Heiankyou on a regular basis waving their naginata unto
      Nobonaga or some such burned their mountain and basically slaughtered
      them. You are probably much better off being a young bushi who is
      interested
      in studying zen and other subjects found without actually entering orders.
      Baron Edward probably has a lot to say about these subjects.

      I reply:
      Yes, there should be a special place in Yomi for Nobunaga. Perhaps
      he's still wandering in the Realm of the Hungry Ghosts?.

      Monastic garb is fine with me. I'd like to have an outfit or two of nice
      brocade finery, but I'd be quite happy with the simple late-period garb
      of the bushi. The naginata has always been a favorite weapon of
      mine, and I'd be quite comfortable with a persona that uses it extensively.

      While Zen is very appropriate for many bushi, I find myself very interested
      in Tendai and Shingon lineages. I have an interest in Tibetan Buddhism
      as well, so it's no wonder that the esoteric Vajrayana lineages in Japan
      are the ones that hold my interest, especially as they are also the ones
      that gave rise to Shugendo ? another area of interest to me.


      Throndardottir-dono wrote:
      Actually, there are quite a few period illustrations of these costumes.

      I reply:
      Hmm? I have had little luck in finding such illustrations, but I must
      admit that my own research skills are currently far underdeveloped.
      Do you have suggestions of specific texts to seek out?


      Throndardottir-dono wrote:
      (snip) However, you
      should probably understand that tabi are definitely refined and are not
      in evidence on the battle field as a general matter. Battle paintings
      clearly show that the vast majority of those engaged in combat did not
      wear tabi.

      I reply:
      True. Most of the illustrations that I've seen show bushi wearing the
      straw sandals (waraji?) or the bear fur boots. Geta just seem
      awkward in general, much less on the battlefield!


      Throndardottir-dono wrote:
      I agree. There does not appear to be any period precident for belt
      ranks. There is lots of period precident for rank specific colour
      usage especially in the imperial court and in various Buddhist
      monasteries. For example, high ranking buddhist monks wear very
      large kessa in colours such as purple and green which indicate
      their lofty rank.

      I reply:
      Hmm? Do tell! Where do you suggest I look for this information?


      Throndardottir-dono wrote:
      The ancient imperial court established a system of coloured robes
      and distinctive caps. If you look in a variety of references, you
      will discover that a particular shade of brown might be the province
      of the kampaku and another colour might be the province of the
      prime minister. These colours might be best displayed as over robes.
      Low ranking ministers would generally wear black over robes.

      I reply:
      Again, can you suggest sources for me to seek out? I'm sorry to
      be such a bother about asking for these, but I'm just beginning to
      learn about research in anything more than a haphazard fashion.
      Thank you for your patience with me.


      Kou no Toshikage
    • Kass McGann
      Kou-dono, ... colors ... yellow ... Historical ... My comment to you regarding the brocade obi was intended to discourage you from using brocade obi that look
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 8, 2000
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        Kou-dono,

        > Yes, I'm aware that the kyu-dan ranking system and use of belt
        colors
        > for ranks is very modern. I seem to remember hearing that it was
        > developed by Jigoro Kano. My thought of the colored obi stemmed
        > not from that, but from the typical SCA customs of white belt for
        > knights, white sash for Masters of Arms, red belt for squires,
        yellow
        > belt for protoges and green belt for apprentices. Using colored obi
        > seemed a way to adapt something from the conventions of our Current
        > Middle Ages instead of trying to find some analogy from the
        Historical
        > Middle Ages. I do not remember the white sashes from Shogun.

        My comment to you regarding the brocade obi was intended to
        discourage you from using brocade obi that look modern (too wide/too
        ornate). Obi in period were simply things that kept your clothes
        closed, and were often not very ornate at all. They were something
        that was to be hidden, not something to signify rank or station.
        That is why I suggested the kumihimo cord. Hiraizumi-dono has some
        historical reference to some kind of belt that denotes rank, but I
        don't remember exactly what it is. Perhaps he will respond to this
        when he returns. I am but a woman after all...

        Regarding the sashes, perhaps it was not Shogun. It was some movie
        someone was trying to use as a reference, though. As good as
        Japanese movies tend to be (compared to American
        historical "attempts"), always remember that they are NOT
        documentaries. They take liberties. Be aware of this.

        > Hmm, what about white brocade jimbaori? I know they were worn with
        > armor, but how about with civilian clothing?

        If you can find a period illustration of one worn without armour, you
        have a case!

        > Thank you for the information on the brocades and gauze! Were
        colors
        > always regulated, or was that something more from the Heian and
        > Tokugawa eras? Were colors regulated only for brocades or for solid
        > colored, unpatterned fabrics?

        The idea of regulating colour according to rank came over with the
        Chinese envoys practically at the beginning of Japanese recorded
        history. It persists in some form even to this day. You see, there
        is a reason the new princess didn't wear a red karaginu with her
        bridal outfit... She's not noble! But as far as wide-spread use, I
        know that the rank restrictions changed but remained intact
        throughout intervening years until the Meiji Restoration (1868) at
        least. So colour has always played a big role in who you are and who
        you are "allowed" to be in Japan... This goes far beyond "royal
        purple" and "white after Labour Day"...

        Aoi
      • Barbara Nostrand
        Noble Cousins! As I recall, the colours of the imperial court ossified sometime during the Heian period at the latest. The colours, kabane, cap ranks, &c.
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 11, 2000
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          Noble Cousins!

          As I recall, the colours of the imperial court ossified sometime during
          the Heian period at the latest. The colours, kabane, cap ranks, &c.
          slosh around a bit during the time period recorded by the Nihongi, but
          later on, the imperial court stuff was thoroughly frozen as the real
          political action mainly moved elsewhere.

          Incidentally, you will note that in general, the bushi (even the
          daimyo and what naught) are often shown wearing simple black robes.
          This originally comes from their inferior status re. the imperial
          court. The high ranking bushi did (however) emulate the kuge to
          some extent. GAK. I wish that I had my library here. I could start
          thumbing through pictures. That part of the library never came out
          of storage this year. SIGH One great reference which both Baron
          Edward and I have (actually he has more issues than I have) is
          the rekishi besatsu series that came out ca 1988-1989. It was
          really great. It was full of photographs from museums and what not.
          Sadly, it is very much out of print, so no you can't get copies of it.

          Your Humble Servant
          Solveig Throdnardottir
          Amateur Scholar

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        • Barbara Nostrand
          Noble Cousins! My bradley email address stopped working sometime in the last several hours. I do not know whether it will be turned back on again. You should
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 15, 2000
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            Noble Cousins!

            My bradley email address stopped working sometime in the last several
            hours. I do not know whether it will be turned back on again. You
            should in general send mail to me at mailto:nostrand@...
            Thank you very much for indulging this piece of email.

            Your Humble Servant
            Solveig Throndardottir
            Amateur Scholar
            --
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            | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM |
            | de Moivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
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