Japanese Mail Research Project
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Japanese Mail Research Project
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Posted on Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:40 pm
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In the thread Japanese chain garments as armor or kusari gusoku. the idea of examening a few rings from japanese mail armour was born.

I'd like to invite everyone to join this project and help to get as much information and ideas as possible.

The following list is a start:
Quote:
1. What kind of methods are useful for such a research?
1.1 SEM (Catweazle may have the possibility to examine a few rings)
1.2 X-ray

2. Literature (bibliographical references are as good as a link to a pdf-file)
2.1 literature about metallurgical examinations of other rings
2.2 literature about medieval iron ore mines in Japan and Europe
2.3 literature about the production of mail in Japan and Europe

3. Research Objects
3.1 Japanese mail (which will hopefully still be contributed by American Samurai)
3.2 European mail
3.3 Ore examples from iron mines (Dinwar - it was your idea and I hope you will help)


I'm quite sure that this list is not complete, so feel free to add other items. If you do so, please quote the list and add your idea.

Joined: February 24, 2010
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Re: Japanese Mail Research Project
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Posted on Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:13 pm
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Catweazle wrote:
In the thread Japanese chain garments as armor or kusari gusoku. the idea of examening a few rings from japanese mail armour was born.

I'd like to invite everyone to join this project and help to get as much information and ideas as possible.

The following list is a start:
Quote:
1. What kind of methods are useful for such a research?
1.1 SEM (Catweazle may have the possibility to examine a few rings)
1.2 X-ray

2. Literature (bibliographical references are as good as a link to a pdf-file)
2.1 literature about metallurgical examinations of other rings
2.2 literature about medieval iron ore mines in Japan and Europe
2.3 literature about the production of mail in Japan and Europe

3. Research Objects
3.1 Japanese mail (which will hopefully still be contributed by American Samurai)
3.2 European mail
3.3 Ore examples from iron mines (Dinwar - it was your idea and I hope you will help)


I'm quite sure that this list is not complete, so feel free to add other items. If you do so, please quote the list and add your idea.
I would add that the fabric used in the construction of Japanese mail has a lot of information as it can be carbon dated.

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Posted on Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:36 pm
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i like this idea..

do these tests do anything to potentially ruin or devalue a piece of kusari? filing off metal from a ring, or burning a piece of fabric to carbon date? i really don't know how these processes work.

what are the costs? what does carbon dating cost? what does that metal analysis that was discussed in the articles forum thread cost?

kim


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Posted on Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:50 pm
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Good questions Kim the cost could be a sizeable chunk.

A suggestion: you may want to try get a grant or see if a museum would be interested in participating in something like this. It may add validity to the research, for some skeptics, and they may even pay for the research.

Just a thought


Once you stop learning, you stop living, so...
Ask questions.
Try new things.
Share what you know.

MailleCode V2.0 T5.3 R4.4 E0.0 Feur MFe.sBr Wg Cwb G.7-5.1 I3.1-11 N20.5 Pj Dcdjt Xa1w2 S08

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Posted on Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:12 pm
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I may be able to get some information on Japanese maille today. Going to visit my university's library and flip through some armor books they have. There's one specifically on Japanese armor, so I may find something. I'll let you know if I find anything interesting later.


Learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness.[Ayn Rand]
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.[Ayn Rand]

Joined: March 27, 2008
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Location: Ruhrgebiet / Germany

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Posted on Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:22 pm
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sakredchao wrote:
do these tests do anything to potentially ruin or devalue a piece of kusari? filing off metal from a ring, or burning a piece of fabric to carbon date?
X-ray won't do any harm to the rings.
About SEM:
Dinwar wrote:
SEM backscatter would tell you some of the composition, and is nondestructive (so long as the metal is exposed, anyway). If you have a few links you can vape isotopic composition of the steel should tell you some, if you have comparison samples (European maille, Japanese maille, metal from various times and places--I'm sure this data exists, I just don't know where). That'll tell you chemical composition. Hardness is another issue, though--I'm not sure we'd be able to identify how work-hardened this stuff was.

For carbon dating you'll need a sample, but I don't know how big it has to be.
MusicMan wrote:
A suggestion: you may want to try get a grant or see if a museum would be interested in participating in something like this. It may add validity to the research, for some skeptics, and they may even pay for the research.
That's a very good idea - not just an ordinary thought Wink

Costs:
I don't know the prices for carbon dating or x-ray.
At the moment I can only tell you, that, if we manage to get a good concept for the research, I can convince a few persons at my former university that it is very interesting for them and they'll join the project.

Joined: March 27, 2008
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Location: Ruhrgebiet / Germany

Re: Japanese Mail Research Project
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Posted on Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:30 pm
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'Updated list' wrote:
1. What kind of methods are useful for such a research?
1.1 SEM (Catweazle may have the possibility to examine a few rings)
1.2 X-ray
1.3 carbon-dating

2. Literature (bibliographical references are as good as a link to a pdf-file)
2.1 literature about metallurgical examinations of other rings
2.2 literature about medieval iron ore mines in Japan and Europe
2.3 literature about the production of mail in Japan and Europe

3. Research Objects
3.1 Japanese mail (which will hopefully still be contributed by American Samurai)
3.2 European mail
3.3 Ore examples from iron mines (Dinwar - it was your idea and I hope you will help)
3.4 fabric of japanese armour (contributed by American Samurai)

4. Professional Partners and Sponsors
4.1 Museums
4.2 Universities
4.3 (Steel)-Companies

Joined: February 24, 2010
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Posted on Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:53 pm
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Catweazle wrote:
sakredchao wrote:
do these tests do anything to potentially ruin or devalue a piece of kusari? filing off metal from a ring, or burning a piece of fabric to carbon date?
X-ray won't do any harm to the rings.
About SEM:
Dinwar wrote:
SEM backscatter would tell you some of the composition, and is nondestructive (so long as the metal is exposed, anyway). If you have a few links you can vape isotopic composition of the steel should tell you some, if you have comparison samples (European maille, Japanese maille, metal from various times and places--I'm sure this data exists, I just don't know where). That'll tell you chemical composition. Hardness is another issue, though--I'm not sure we'd be able to identify how work-hardened this stuff was.

For carbon dating you'll need a sample, but I don't know how big it has to be.
MusicMan wrote:
A suggestion: you may want to try get a grant or see if a museum would be interested in participating in something like this. It may add validity to the research, for some skeptics, and they may even pay for the research.
That's a very good idea - not just an ordinary thought Wink

Costs:
I don't know the prices for carbon dating or x-ray.
At the moment I can only tell you, that, if we manage to get a good concept for the research, I can convince a few persons at my former university that it is very interesting for them and they'll join the project.
Cost and sample size of radio carbon dating a textile sample etc http://www.physics.arizona.edu/ams/service/fee.htm

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Posted on Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:17 pm
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This kusari gusoku is from my experience possibly the oldest one I have seen for sale, and would be a good test example do to the the fact that the fabric is already distressed and some of the kusari is loose and removing a few pieces for testing if needed would not ruin the integrity of this armor, in my opinion. I have several reasons for thinking it is extremely old, one is the style and over all look compared to kusari gusoku that I am fairly sure is much more recent, I have purchased it and am awaiting shipment to the U.S. It would be an advantage to take test samples from a complete suit of armor as well, as many people do not believe that there is such a thing as a complete suit of Japanese chain armor.
This armor has 2 buttoms in front of the kusari katabira, I have not seen this on any of the other kusari katabira I own or have seen except for this one which appears to have front buttons also and age wise has the same type of look
If the info on this armor is correct, the owner of it lived from 1659 to 1703 http://wiki.samurai-archives.com/index.php?title=Oishi_Kuranosuke In Japan as in other cultures styles changed with the times and its possible that older kusari katabira used European style front buttons and later started to tie the front in the more asian style as the kusari katabira of later years seems to have used. I could be wrong but thats my feelings based on my observations.

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Posted on Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:35 pm
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I posted more info on the other topic that this all started with, but I found that the reason this maille was butted was because it was stronger and lighter than european maille. It also didn't show up till the Edo period most likely. And the only mention I found of full suits was being used by lieutenants of the police forces when investigating some incident. So possibly meant more for show than not. But there wasn't much info at all so a lot of that is extrapolation.


Learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness.[Ayn Rand]
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.[Ayn Rand]

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Posted on Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:39 am
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Quote:
3.3 Ore examples from iron mines (Dinwar - it was your idea and I hope you will help)
If someone can find the name/location of ore mines, I can probably help. I'll poke around and see what I can find anyway--I'm sure there's some geologic research on this sort of thing. Industry records will be tricky, particularly without a grant; they can be very secretive. But yeah, I'll help with what free time I have. Smile

The composition and origin of the dye in the cloth may be something to look into as well--it may be geographically unique--but I'm not sure how much cloth was re-used.....And it's not technically maille. Smile

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Posted on Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:51 am
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DaegonPhyn wrote:
I posted more info on the other topic that this all started with, but I found that the reason this maille was butted was because it was stronger and lighter than european maille. It also didn't show up till the Edo period most likely. And the only mention I found of full suits was being used by lieutenants of the police forces when investigating some incident. So possibly meant more for show than not. But there wasn't much info at all so a lot of that is extrapolation.
Did you read anything that even mentioned "show" in your reading, when police today wear body armor..is that for show??? Police were not stopping speeders they were facing armed men, the average person would not have spent the considerable amount of money these armored clothes would have cost them for show, traditional armor eventually became more for show. There are several references to chain armor in Don Cunninghams book on the subject, http://books.google.com/books?id=g5BP7DGuNFsC&pg=PA45&lpg=PA45&dq=samurai+doshin&source=bl&ots=s2a4lo1fTc&sig=wJt4aRv9vuBSmlRJ129DcAhoPG4&hl=en&ei=snuHS6m-Os2ttge5k82RDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CAgQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=samurai%20doshin&f=false Armored clothing was used for more than just the police, that was just 1 example of it use. Can you tell what book mentioned full suits of chain.

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Posted on Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:53 am
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Dinwar wrote:
Quote:
3.3 Ore examples from iron mines (Dinwar - it was your idea and I hope you will help)
If someone can find the name/location of ore mines, I can probably help. I'll poke around and see what I can find anyway--I'm sure there's some geologic research on this sort of thing. Industry records will be tricky, particularly without a grant; they can be very secretive. But yeah, I'll help with what free time I have. Smile

The composition and origin of the dye in the cloth may be something to look into as well--it may be geographically unique--but I'm not sure how much cloth was re-used.....And it's not technically maille. Smile
Since metal can not be carbon dated the attached fabric can be, that can at least give you an age of when the armor might have been attached to the cloth, you can always say...well the cloth was used and much older in age than when it was attached to the kusari, and thats true, it would be a possibility, but its better than nothing. The Japanese did recycle everything, large old items were taken apart and the good material was reused to make a smaller item, I have a robe made entirely from patches of cloth from various other clothing, patch work clothing is common but I do not know how far back that started, If the cloth used on traditional armor was new when the armor was sold then the cloth used on non traditional armor was probably new as well, I just do not see a samurai buying a new armor with used cloth (my personal opinion)
Quote:
"There was always a tradition of taking kimonos apart in order to wash them, re-sewing them (always by hand), turning things around a bit to hide wear, if necessary. Eventually what had started life as a full-length kimono would go through several reworkings, becoming in turn a kimono coat, a jacket, a vest, cushion covers, small bags and finally used to patch other kimonos.
As for ore, the iron used for making the steel used in Samurai swords came from iron rich river sand I believe, I have never heard of any other source of iron myself.
Quote:
In the granitic areas of the Sanin district, Japan, an older style of iron manufacturing using iron sand, a process called Tatara, was widely used up until the Taisho era early in the 20th century.
Interesting article on Japanese iron>>> https://www.hitachi-metals.co.jp/e/tatara/nnp0103.htm

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Posted on Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:27 pm
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Quote:
Did you read anything that even mentioned "show" in your reading, when police today wear body armor..is that for show??? Police were not stopping speeders they were facing armed men, the average person would not have spent the considerable amount of money these armored clothes would have cost them for show, traditional armor eventually became more for show. There are several references to chain armor in Don Cunninghams book on the subject, http://books.google.com/books?id=g5BP7DGuNFsC&pg=PA45&lpg=PA45&dq=samurai+doshin&source=bl&ots=s2a4lo1fTc&sig=wJt4aRv9vuBSmlRJ129DcAhoPG4&hl=en&ei=snuHS6m-Os2ttge5k82RDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CAgQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=samurai%20doshin&f=false Armored clothing was used for more than just the police, that was just 1 example of it use. Can you tell what book mentioned full suits of chain.


Well the thing is, Bottomley says that only lieutenants wore the maille suits, with each lieutenant commanding about 25 men. And they only wore it if they ever had to go to an incident. So whether it was for show or not I don't know. But he does say that only those select few had the full suits. And that link you gave only says standard police used maille for smaller guards and not full suits. The book of Bottomley's I read was: Arms and armor of the samurai : the history of weaponry in ancient Japan.

As for the metal used, one of the books I looked through said that japanese maille was stronger and lighter than european maille, which is why it could be butted rather than riveted. It did not say what material was used to make it, but I'd assume that it was steel, since iron is a fair amount heavier and it's what europe used.


Learn to value yourself, which means: to fight for your happiness.[Ayn Rand]
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.[Ayn Rand]

Joined: March 27, 2008
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Posted on Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:41 pm
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I've made a list with bibliographical references. I've uploaded the PDF-file to my website and this is the link to it:
Literature
Most of the articles can be found as pdf-files here: themailresearchsociety - other research articles.
If you have additional references, I suggest that you send them to me via pm or post it here and I will update my list. I tried to add all links to articles which came up in this thread or in the Japanese chain garments as armor or kusari gusoku. If I missed one - please, tell me.

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