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Gunbai - War fan

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All Items: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Swords and Related: Pre 1900: item # 880142


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Giuseppe Piva
Via San Damiano, 2
20122 Milano - Italy
+39 348 4123426

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Gunbai - War fan
XIX Century
Lacquered wood
50,5 x 22 cm

A very good war fan entirely finished in nashiji maki-e and decorated with a moon, bonjis and kanjis. Inside the 30 small suns, which symbolize the entire month (in Japanese “moon” and “month” is the same word and "day" and "sun" are writeen in the same way) five chinese characters reveal the qualities of a warrior:
仁 (Jin): Love
義 (Gi): Justice
礼 (Rei): Courtesy
智 (Chi): Wisdom
The fifth kanji - 心 (Kokoro) is Spirit, meaning that one should always act with the spirit of the mentioned virtues..
On the reverse the kanji ? (Mae, “Front”) is in the center, while the kirimon decorates the upper right corner.

The gunbai (short for gunbai uchiwa) is a type of war fan which is solid, not folding, used during theSengoku Jidai (1450-1600 ca.) by generals to communicate commands to their troops. During the Edo Period (1615-1867) they were sometime used as an accessory for an armor of high rank samurai. A very similar gunbai is published in the catalogue of the former Arashiyama Museum, Kyoto.


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