Antique Haori–Hold My Tsuba

Vibrant And Uniquely Designed Sword Guards On Crackle Textured Black Silk.

Today is August the 9th, and that means somewhere my mother shudders with the realization of what she’s unleashed upon this world it’s my birthday! Today I turn none of your goddamn business. Unfortunately, it’s also a Monday and it’s set to storm basically all day. The storms I’m pretty excited about, because like my American Midwestern brethren who came before me, it is my sworn duty to run the fuck outside and look at the sky when the tornado sirens go off.

Anyway, today I thought I would showcase this delightful little thing that I just received, because all of the details inspire terribly inappropriate noises at ungodly hours. Ever chortle like a beaver at three in the morning while laying on the floor waiting for some shit to dry so you can get on with your business? …you haven’t? Uhh. Oh. Well. Neither have I! That would be weird, and I am a normal and well adjusted adult who does not make beaver noises, like ever.

I took so goddamn many pictures of this thing, even though I technically have some work to do with it. You see, it’s a haori (kimono jacket), and if I want it to go anywhere near slightly around these bewbs, I’m going to have to resize it. Thanks, genetics! You fucking SUCK.

This arrived to me with one single stain on it that you’ll be shocked to learn that I did not attempt to taste. I would like for the record to show, right here and now, that I do like to try to utilize my other senses first. Touch, smell, vision. Hell, I’ll poke at it with a fingernail and see if it makes any special crackly noises, to see if that tells me if it’ll chip off if properly encouraged. No I’ve never threatened a kimono with a gun, but I am an American, sooo. It’s an option.

Little trick, I like to keep some distilled or at least purified water on hand. If a stain looks suspicious but doesn’t smell like something, I’ll dab it with a little drop of water and let it get wet. I do typically try that before the licking. Not always. I probably should.

Anyway, I had a good look and poke at this stain and I knew what it was pretty much immediately. It was a weird looking, scentless crusty thing. I didn’t take a picture of it myself because reasons, but the seller photo is actually quite detailed. Behold:

Pictured: o.O

Let me spell out very clearly how this went.

Me: -Poke poke- Hmmm. -Scratches with fingernail- This is bird shit.

Yes. It was. That is absolutely bird shit. Fight me. And how would I know so specifically that it’s the excrement of a feathered flying organism? Well you see:

Pictured: Feathered Flying Organism

This is Gir. Gir is a sixteen year old Timneh African Grey parrot. I have had her basically her whole life. Suffice to say, I am an expert in bird shit.

The good thing about bird shit is that if it just clumped up like that, then the bird was probably pretty healthy and eating well. They made the mistake of trying to wipe it off instead of letting it dry and just chipping it off. That’s okay, though. The vinegar method will solve this problem without issues. You can’t really tell that it was there now:

Pictured: Shit-free tsuba.

Never happened.

Anyway! Let’s talk about the details. I actually don’t have a great idea of how old this one is; I have zero provenance, so this becomes my best guess. I would say from the size of it, the hard curve on the sleeves, those cute little doves poking out of the sleeve linings there, and the general texture of the silk–I want to put it to earlier middle Showa Era. I should think probably somewhere near the 1950’s. It just feels very much the same as many other items I’ve seen from around then, so it feels like a good guess. It is a goddamn guess, though. Let’s also talk about the amazing texture of that silk! It has an interesting shimmer to it on camera that it also has in life, but it’s a very matte finish. Up close, as you can see, it has a crackled design. I hesitate to call it the “cracked ice” theme that I see every here and again–honestly it reminds me of lizard skin. All over this haori are brightly colored tsuba (traditional katana [sword] guards), and most of them are even detailed with a bit of kinsai (gold paint) to give them a forged-metal appearance. It’s an attention to detail that makes my inner illustrator giggle with joy, and my outer wacko chortle like a beaver.


I did something I don’t normally do with the gallery up there this time. I actually went through and labeled the themes on all of the tsuba. I did this because if I were to list the pictures in the blog just to tell you what’s on them, then we will both be here for-fucking-ever, and while I might not have any respect for my time, I do have some respect for yours.


Pictured: -Chortling intensifies-

Not quite our kamon (family crest), but a variant of it.

Well, I’m basically out of things to say about this now. Thanks for spending some time with me today, I appreciate it more than you know. Shit’s weird in the world lately, and I think we might all be a little lonely. I’m just a beaver-chortling, cursing weirdo with a kimono blog, but hey, I’m here for you. Take care of yourselves, and each other.


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