Treasure of Daimyo Tachibana

The collection of the Tachibana family, the successive lords of the Yanagawa domain, tells us the story of the daimyo family’s life with accuracy and plausibility.

Hotoke-marudo armour covered with nutbrown leather (16th century, Momoyama period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Hotoke-marudo armour covered with nutbrown leather

This armor was owned by the first Lord Tachibana Muneshige. The combination of colors, such as the nutbrown leather of the cuirass, the red-lacquered tassets hanging beneath the cuirass and silver foil of the thigh guards, reflects the splendor of the Warring States period.

Matchlock named ‘Suminawa’ (16th-17th century, Momoyama period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Matchlock named "Suminawa"

This matchlock gun was given to Muneshige from the lord of the Fukuoka domain. The name of the gun comes from the carpenter’s inking string, known as a Suminawa, used to draw a straight line. It is thought to have been named after the movement of the bullet of this matchlock.

Sage-ju with design of Shojo sprite and shells (17th-18th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Sage-ju with design of Shojo sprite and shells

The liquor bottle is created in the shape of Shojo holding a bottle in his right hand and a cup (now lost) in his left hand. Shojo is a sea spirit with a fondness for alcohol. The food container also has designs suggestive of the sea.

Tobacco tray with maki-e design of Yoro Waterfall (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Tobacco tray with maki-e design of Yoro Waterfall

The motif of the tray represent the story of a legendary waterfall which a poor boy found and offered the water to his ailing father. Upon drinking it, his father was revived. 

Incense burner stand with maki-e design of Fujitomoe crest (18th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Incense burner stand with maki-e design of Fujitomoe crest

This stand was owned by a wife of the 7th lord. She was a daughter of the Kuroda family, the lords of the  Fukuoka domain. The stand is decorated with peonies and arabesque patterns, and shows a swirl shaped wisteria as a central motif which is the crest of the Kuroda family. 

Writing paper box with maki-e design of Aoi crests and arabesque (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Writing paper box with maki-e design of Aoi crests

This is a piece of the bridal trousseau owned by Princess Sumi. Sumi was a daughter of the Tayasu-Tokugawa family — one of the three privileged branches of the Shogun family — and became the wife of the 12th lord of the Yanagawa domain.

Inkstone box with maki-e design of Aoi crests and arabesque (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Inkstone box with maki-e design of Aoi crests

The box is decorated with gold and silver maki-e designs of Aoi (hollyhock) and arabesque patterns over the gold lacquer finish of nashiji (pear-skin ground). The Aoi represents the crest of the Tayasu-Tokugawa family.

Tortoiseshell hairpin with wisteria trellis and butterfly ornament (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Tortoiseshell hairpin with peony and bird ornament

Tortoiseshell hairpins, especially, were supposed to have been preferred by women of samurai families.

Obi sash with design of bamboo, peonies and butterflies (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Obi sash with design of bamboo, peonies and butterflies

This sash has a gold embroidery pattern of bamboo on the black velvet, on which butterflies fluttering around the flowering peonies are expressed in applique and embroidery. The rich color variation makes this piece more gorgeous.

Toddler kimono with waterscape design (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Ubugi (baby dress) with design of pines and a waterside

Waterscape is depicted in white on the light blue figured satin by dyeing technique; while the pine trees, boat, eboshi (court noble’s cap) and spear are created using gold embroidery and surihitta (stencil imitation tie-dying).

Uchikake with design of a palace, court carriage and garden gates (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Uchikake with design of place quarters and a court carriage

Uchikake is a formal outer garment for women in the upper samurai class. It was worn over a short-sleeved kimono without tying it at the waist with a sash. Motifs expressed on the kimono  were thought to imply some specific traditional literature, poem or a scene of Noh play.

Uchikake with design of lightning and rice sheaves (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Uchikake with design of lightning and rice sheaves

High-ranking samurai women changed their wardrobes seasonally and chose their kimonos with proper designs for the season. Figured satin uchikake was worn as a formal attire from 9th of September to the end of March yearly.

Kosode with design of a court carriage and rain gear (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Kosode with design of a court carriage and rain gear

The motifs of the kimono imply a story of: Major General Fukakusa fell in love with Ono no Komachi, who was known as a rare beauty; she promised to accept his love if he could spend a hundred nights on a carriage step; but on the 99th night, he froze to death on the step.

Uchigatana-style mounting with fuemaki design scabbard (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Uchigatana-style mounting with fuemaki design scabbard

 The black lacquered scabbard shows a ribbed pattern called ‘fuemaki’.
In the Edo period (1600-1868), samurai commonly wore swords in uchigatana style by thrusting them through their belt with the cutting-edge up.

Set of sword fittings with Gionmamori crest design (17th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Set of sword fittings with Gion-mamori crest

This is a set of sword fittings made of copper and gold alloy. It has a unified design of the Tachibana family crest. 

Hoso-dachi sword mounting with maki-e design of Gyoyo crest (17th-19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Hoso-dachi sword mounting with maki-e design of Gyoyo crests

Hoso-dachi means a slender sword. This type of sword was utilized for ceremonies but not for functional purposes.
The scabbard is decorated with a gold maki-e design of Gyoyo crest over the nashiji (pear skin pattern) finish surface.

Sword guard with design of dragons and cloud (17th century, Edo period) by Goto MitsuharuTachibana Museum

Sword guard with design of dragons and cloud

This sword guard is carved out of copper-gold alloy in the shape of a flowering quince. The surface has a fish-egg pattern, on which dragons with clouds are depicted in high-relief carving and application of gold. It bears an inscription of Goto Mitsuharu.

Sword guard with openwork design of fan shapes and wild geese (17th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Sword guard with openwork design of fan shapes and wild gees

Fan-shaped openwork is executed in four directions, leaving a design of two flying wild geese on the upper and lower parts. Each fan has a slightly different pattern. This various arrangement makes this sword guard a sophisticated piece.

Kozuka with hare design (18th-19th century, Edo period) by Horie OkinariTachibana Museum

Kozuka hilt with hare design

Kozuka is a hilt of a small knife which is kept in the pocket on one side of the sword scabbard.
Hares or rabbits were a popular motif for arms and armors in the past because they symbolize prosperity and long-lasting good luck in battle.

Fuchigashira with dragonfly design (19th century, Edo period) by Sonobe YoshitsuguTachibana Museum

Fuchigashira with dragonfly design

Fuchigashira is a set of sword fittings attaching to the two ends of the hilt for reinforcement; the ring-shaped collar on the head, and the cap-shaped pommel on the end. These two sets of fuchigashira were created by a master craftsman, Sonobe Yoshitsugu (1775-1842).

Dinnerware set with wisteria design, blue and white (probably 1910, Meiji period) by KoranshaTachibana Museum

Dinnerware with wisteria design, blue and white

This dinnerware was ordered to make along with the completion of the Tachibana family's residence in 1910. Each piece has the Tachibana family crest, wisteria design and Koransha’s brand mark in underglaze blue.

Dragon and Tiger (around 1600) by attributed to ShōkeiTachibana Museum

Dragon and Tiger

The Chinese classic tells that dragons create clouds, while tigers call winds; when they go together, their power increases and the synergistic effect is produced.
Because of this, their energetic images were favored by elite samurai. 

Tachibana Museum by UnknownTachibana Museum

〜Permanent Exhibition〜

The Successive Arms and Armor of Daimyo TACHIBANA

Gilded peach-shaped helmet (16th century, Momoyama period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Gilded peach-shaped helmets_21E11
00:00

Gilded peach-shaped helmet【Audio guide 2】

These helmets are thought to have been prepared for the cavalry responsible for guarding the first Lord Muneshige on the battlefield. They were designed under the influence of a Western model. Each of the helmets had a tube on the back in which the black and white battle  flag was inserted.

Tatami armor with cherry blossom design (17th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Armor with cherry blossom design_20E08
00:00

Tatami armor with cherry blossoms design【Audio guide 3】

This suit of armor was owned by the 3rd lord who lived in a peaceful period in the late 17th century. The cuirass is composed of iron plates linked together by chains and sewn onto the fabric backing to make the armor foldable. Each of the hexagonal plates has an  openwork design of cherry blossoms. The bell-shaped helmet also shows a unique appearance.

Armor of two-piece cuirass embossed with a dragon (18th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Nimai-dō armor of two-piece cuirass embossed with a dragon

This suit of armor was owned by the 4th lord. The cuirass was constructed with two plates that are arranged vertically and fastened at either side of the body. All the metal parts were elaborately made with an alloy of copper and gold which produces beautiful purplish black sheen.

Military surcoat with Gion-mamori crest (18th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Military surcoat with crest

Armor with embossed design of a dragon (1754) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Ryobikiawase-dō armor with embossed design of a dragon

This suit of armor was owned by the 7th lord. The cuirass was constructed with five plates that are bound together vertically. It was worn wrapped around the body and fastened on either side. 

Mogami-do armor with light green lacing (1860) by Myochin KunisadaTachibana Museum

Armor with light green lacing_20E09
00:00

Mogami-dō armor with light green lacing【Audio guide 4】

This suit of armor was owned by Akitomo, the 12th and last lord of the Yanagawa domain. It was created with scrupulously refined techniques by Myōchin Kunisada who was an armorer patronized by the Yanagawa domain. The horn-like ornament attached to the helmet was designed  after the motif of the Tachibana family crest.

Palanquin with maki-e design of the Gionmamori crests (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

The Wedding Trousseaus of Daimyo Families

A large number of luxurious wedding furniture was prepared for the wedding of a feudal lord’s daughter in the Edo period. Each piece was embellished with maki-e design representing the bride’s family crest.

Hasamibako chest with maki-e design of the Aoi crest (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Hasamibako with the Aoi crest_20E14
00:00

Hasamibako chest with Aoi crest【Audio Guide P5】

This lacquered chest is a piece of bridal trousseau of Princess Sumi, the wife of the 12th lord. She was a a daughter of the Tayasu-Tokugawa family — one of the three privileged branches of the Shogun family. The three hollyhock leaves in a circle represents the  Tokugawa family crest.

Nagamochi chest with maki-e design of the Aoi crest (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Nagamochi chest with the Aoi crest

Nagamochi is a large portable chest for storing kimonos. It was carried by bearers using a long pole which could be passed through the metal handles on both sides of the chest. This lacquered chest is a piece of the bridal trousseau of Princess Sumi, the wife of the 12th lord.

Palanquin with maki-e design of the Gionmamori crests (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Planquin_20E15
00:00

Palanquin with crest design of Gionmamori【Audio Guide P6】

This palanquin was exclusively intended for women of high social rank, possibly carried by four bearers; two at the front and two at the back. It is sprinkled with gold powder, depicting two styles of the Tachibana family crest and a plum blossom  scroll on the black  lacquered surface.

Yūsoku-bina dolls (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Exquisite Dolls of the Tachibana Family

Dolls in the collection of the Tachibana family are characterized by the small size. Each of the tiny pieces is exquisitely crafted with impressive technique.

Yūsoku-bina dolls (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Yusoku-bina doll_19E95
00:00

Yūsoku-bina doll【Audio Guide P7】

A set of Hina dolls is displayed during the Doll Festival to celebrate the health and happiness of girls in Japan. Yūsoku-bina is one of the Hina dolls which appeared in Kyoto in the 18th century. They represent court nobles clad in exact replica of Imperial Court costume.

Miniature hina doll accessories (19th century, Edo period) by Edo NanasawayaTachibana Museum

Miniature hina doll accessories_20E13
00:00

Miniature Hina doll accessories【Audio Guide P8】

These astonishing miniature accessories replicate a bridal trousseau of a feudal lord family in the Edo period. They were made by Nanasawa-ya, a doll shop in Edo, now Tokyo. The shop was renowned for its skillful craftsmanship that faithfully reproduced miniatures  of the original.

Miniature accoutrements for Hina dolls, set of shell-matching game (19th century, Edo period) by Edo NanasawayaTachibana Museum

Pair of boxes for shell matching game

In the Edo period (1600-1868), high-class families prepared lacquered boxes filled with beautifully decorated clamshells for their daughter as a bride’s household article. Because the idea that only a mated pair of shells could match is linked to the image of conjugal harmony. 

Miniature accoutrements for Hina dolls, Hyakunin Isshu card game set (19th century, Edo period) by Edo NanasawayaTachibana Museum

Hyakunin Isshu, Miniature accoutrement for Hina doll

 These miniature cards replicate Japanese playing cards, ‘Hyakunin Isshu (One hundred waka poems by one hundred poets)’. The poem is accurately written on each card.

Keshi-bina dolls (19th century, Edo period) by Edo NanasawayaTachibana Museum

Keshi-bina doll_19E97
00:00

Keshi-bina doll【Audio Guide P9】

Keshi-bina is one of Hina dolls born in Edo, now Tokyo. ‘Keshi’ means ‘poppyseed’. There is a theory that tiny dolls became popular once the luxury goods were banned by sumptuary laws. This set of keshi-bina dolls was made by Nanasawa-ya, a famous doll shop in Edo.

Kamo dolls (19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Kamo doll_19E98
00:00

Kamo doll【Audio Guide P10】

It is believed that the Kamo doll originated when an odd-job man of Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto started making dolls using fabric tucked into a piece of wood. The characteristics of the dolls are their tiny size and warm smiles. Among them, smaller-sized dolls are  roly-poly dolls with tiny weight in the round bottom. The smallest is only 5 mm in height.

Gosho doll (18th-19th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Gosho doll_19E99
00:00

Gosho doll【Audio Guide P11】

Gosho doll is one of the representative dolls of Japanese doll culture. Starting in the 18th century, the chubby infant doll with white glossy skin played a role as a court gift to feudal lords who had visited the Imperial Palace in Kyoto.

Saga doll (18th century, Edo period) by UnknownTachibana Museum

Saga doll

Saga dolls were created preceding Gosho dolls. Among them, it is said that specifically the naked Saga dolls influenced the creation of Gosho dolls. So, they look almost the same, but the naked Saga dolls are distinguished by its slim body.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps