Monday, 13 January 2014
By special request of Crowbard, I've put up a further blog entry on Saturday's Mystery Object, to illustrate the fabric outer case (or bag) for the Japanese tinder lighter. I've consulted Ann on this, and she says that the material for the bag is woven, with some embroidery in metallic threads. The material from which the bag is made, is very old (and now very fragile) silk. The above photo shows the back of the bag which would have rested against the quilted armour.
The above photo shows the front of the bag with its protective iron work showing.
The above photo shows the back of the bag again with the tinder lighter above it, attached to the bag by an articulated silver strap (almost like a modern watch strap).
Two further points, Crowbard :- I'm not at all sure about your description as the rarest known specimen. I think it's possible, even likely, that there are as good, if not better ones known in Japan. You know how the French keep their better wines to themselves, and export the lesser ones to us? Well, I should think the Japanese may have done much the same with their antique artifacts when there was such a craze for them following the publication of The Mikado.
My other point is dating the item. You could well be right about it being a little earlier than eighteenth century. The problem is that they are not well known (or illustrated) in the books on the subject., and when one is illustrated in a reliable book (see Caspall's Fire and Light in the home, page 37) whatever date the writer decides to give to the illustration (in this case late 17th/early 18th Century) is then copied into subsequent books, regardless of more recent information. This, coupled with the well known conservatism of Japanese artisans before Commander Peery reopened Japan to the West in 1852 (I think), makes the dating of Japanese antiques problematical at best .
I hope this helps. Warm Regards, Mike.