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Old 12-01-2009, 04:45 PM   #1
Larry Cuvin
 
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Proper Display of Weapons

Hi everybody. I was planning on making a wall mount to display a katana, a bokken and a jo this coming Christmas break and I just wanted to ask if there is a proper way of displaying weapons. Most of the sites I visited mainly wrote about the long and short swords and did not mention anything about bokken and jo. My thinking is to have the sword on top with the blade up and the handle on the left (I read that right side handle is too agressive), then my bokken (same orientation as the katana), then the jo at the bottom. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Larry

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Old 12-01-2009, 04:54 PM   #2
ChrisMoses
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Re: Proper Display of Weapons

Quote:
Larry Cuvin wrote: View Post
Hi everybody. I was planning on making a wall mount to display a katana, a bokken and a jo this coming Christmas break and I just wanted to ask if there is a proper way of displaying weapons. Most of the sites I visited mainly wrote about the long and short swords and did not mention anything about bokken and jo. My thinking is to have the sword on top with the blade up and the handle on the left (I read that right side handle is too agressive), then my bokken (same orientation as the katana), then the jo at the bottom. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Larry
Works for me.

Chris Moses
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Old 12-01-2009, 04:57 PM   #3
David Maidment
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Re: Proper Display of Weapons

I can't speak for the 'proper' way to do things, but how you just described is exactly how I have my weapons displayed at my living room 'kamiza'. Looks pretty good to me.

"Never escalate a battle unless forced to do so by your enemy" - Zordon
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Old 12-01-2009, 05:01 PM   #4
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Proper Display of Weapons

The bokken hits the same on the handle or on the back as it does on the "edge". So...

I would display it however you like. I keep my real swords blade down, Richard VanDonk told me that you should do this to make sure the oil stays on the edge and not on the back of the blade. Made sense to me, so I do it that way. I'm sure in different schools and different parts of Japan there are different ways to do things. Just like here in the US some people keep their frying pans under the stove, some keep them on top of the stove and some put them on pot racks. Different strokes.

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Old 12-01-2009, 08:04 PM   #5
lbb
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Re: Proper Display of Weapons

Along the lines of what Chris says, there's display and there's storage. When they're not in use, my jo and bokken are stored in the manner that I deem best for them -- which is flat on the floor. Jo in particular tend to warp when they're stored on a rack that doesn't support them along the length of the weapon. If it's only for display, that probably doesn't matter much, but I wouldn't store a job that I was using this way.
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Old 12-01-2009, 08:17 PM   #6
Keith Larman
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Re: Proper Display of Weapons

Quote:
The bokken hits the same on the handle or on the back as it does on the "edge". So...

I would display it however you like. I keep my real swords blade down, Richard VanDonk told me that you should do this to make sure the oil stays on the edge and not on the back of the blade. Made sense to me, so I do it that way. I'm sure in different schools and different parts of Japan there are different ways to do things. Just like here in the US some people keep their frying pans under the stove, some keep them on top of the stove and some put them on pot racks. Different strokes.
I don't know of any conventions regarding jo and swords. However, I do know swords...

Sorry to disagree, but on an oiled blade if the oil "runs" anywhere you've put *way* too much oil on it. It should be the slightest sheen only with the lightest mineral oil possible. This is a serious issue as overoiling is a common problem and it damages a lot of blades and saya. Storing it edge down with too much oil means the oil will seep into the edge area inside the saya. This area will swell as the oil is absorbed by the wood causing swelling. This will eventually cause the saya to split and/or scratch and scuff up the edge as the swollen oil soaked woods is a grit magnet. This is really bad advice for real blades.

They stored them for centuries edge up for a reason. The back of most Japanese swords are burnished -- ie.., the steel is smoothed over and "compacted" to a mirror shine with a hardened burnishing rod. This "closes off" the grain of the steel making it less susceptible to rust but also less likely to show scuffs from wood. So storing them edge up protects the most fragile part of the blade -- namely the edge and very point. Saya are also carved such that the blade runs along the mune when going in and out but also when resting. This is not a regional thing. There is a correct way to put a sword on a stand. And an incorrect way. Edge down is simply incorrect for a katana.

If you are displaying a tachi the rules are different. But unless you're studying some ancient koryu where your bokken stand in for your tachi... Not relevant here.

Also, keep in mind that sword "furniture" (fittings) have thematic elements that are designed to have an up/down as well as a front/back. The display orientation is with it shown as it would be worn in the belt -- edge up for a katana. The "outside" of the sword (the omote) is the side with the kurigata. So edge up, tsuka to the left is conventional for display of a sword on a kake.

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Old 12-01-2009, 08:20 PM   #7
Keith Larman
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Re: Proper Display of Weapons

Oh, I should also say... Mary has a good point on the care and feeding of wood weapons. However, since the original question is about displaying something on a stand "correctly" there *is* a long-standing and quite well documented "correct" way to display a katana. And many get it absolutely wrong. And it stands out like a sore thumb to anyone who knows better.

By the way, katana on top. Wakizashi in middle. Tanto on bottom or on a ledge on the bottom, all edge up tsuka on the left.

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Old 12-01-2009, 09:27 PM   #8
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Proper Display of Weapons

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
I don't know of any conventions regarding jo and swords. However, I do know swords...

Sorry to disagree, but on an oiled blade if the oil "runs" anywhere you've put *way* too much oil on it. It should be the slightest sheen only with the lightest mineral oil possible. This is a serious issue as overoiling is a common problem and it damages a lot of blades and saya. Storing it edge down with too much oil means the oil will seep into the edge area inside the saya. This area will swell as the oil is absorbed by the wood causing swelling. This will eventually cause the saya to split and/or scratch and scuff up the edge as the swollen oil soaked woods is a grit magnet. This is really bad advice for real blades.

They stored them for centuries edge up for a reason. The back of most Japanese swords are burnished -- ie.., the steel is smoothed over and "compacted" to a mirror shine with a hardened burnishing rod. This "closes off" the grain of the steel making it less susceptible to rust but also less likely to show scuffs from wood. So storing them edge up protects the most fragile part of the blade -- namely the edge and very point. Saya are also carved such that the blade runs along the mune when going in and out but also when resting. This is not a regional thing. There is a correct way to put a sword on a stand. And an incorrect way. Edge down is simply incorrect for a katana.

If you are displaying a tachi the rules are different. But unless you're studying some ancient koryu where your bokken stand in for your tachi... Not relevant here.

Also, keep in mind that sword "furniture" (fittings) have thematic elements that are designed to have an up/down as well as a front/back. The display orientation is with it shown as it would be worn in the belt -- edge up for a katana. The "outside" of the sword (the omote) is the side with the kurigata. So edge up, tsuka to the left is conventional for display of a sword on a kake.
Good to know, I guess I'll change the way I do it.

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Old 12-02-2009, 09:58 AM   #9
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Re: Proper Display of Weapons

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
By the way, katana on top. Wakizashi in middle. Tanto on bottom or on a ledge on the bottom, all edge up tsuka on the left.
This is as I was taught as well. I have never really seen anyone store a katana blade down in person (maybe movies). I also heard once something about blade up means gift, blade down means you bought it yourself.... but I don't know if that is rubbish or not. I would stick with Keith on this one. I have always stored mine blade up because it seems like I was protecting the blade and the saya at the same time.

Good luck!

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~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:40 AM   #10
Larry Cuvin
 
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Re: Proper Display of Weapons

For all the responses and expert opinions, domo arigato.

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