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A translation of a unique 17th-century compendium of samurai heraldry, annotated with the symbolism and stories behind the banners.
A translation of a unique 17th-century compendium of samurai heraldry, annotated with the symbolism and stories behind the banners.
A translation of a unique 17th-century compendium of samurai heraldry, annotated with the symbolism and stories behind the banners.
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389 backers pledged $14,101 to help bring this project to life.

Home Stretch!

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It's a new year, but I'm still up to the same tricks. I've got a complete book draft, but I'm still hard at work with editing, adding additional pictures, and otherwise further fleshing it out. But the end is in sight!

That means, late next month, I'll actually need to start shipping books out. I'll shortly be sending each of you a brief survey to get your shipping address and, for the $50+ backers, where you want your donated book to go. If you'll be moving in the next month, please do let me know so I can make sure your book ends up at the right place.

Now that the logistics are out of the way, let's move on to something more interesting. I've talked before about other heraldic sources. While O-umajirushi is the earliest extant color book of Japanese heraldry, earlier heraldry is depicted in places such as paintings. While most of these are battles or other scenes where the heraldry is part of a more general picture, one folding screen in particular stands out as a close relative to O-umajirushi. Known as "Shoshō Shōki Zu Byōbu" (諸将旌旗図屏風, meaning "Various Commanders Flag and Banner Illustrations Folding Screen"), it was created by 1632 and depicts the heraldry of 79 daimyō in much the same way as O-umajirushi, but hand-painted on a screen. Given these similarities, I was eager to include a picture of it and details from it as comparison points in my book. I contacted the Ōsaka Castle Museum, which owns it, and while they didn't have digital images they could send me, they kindly agreed to instead mail me transparency film with photographs of the screen. I have just finished obtaining high-resolution scans from this film, and am now excited to make use of them. One more resource your support has given me access to. Now that I've built up your anticipation, here is an overall view of the screen in all its glory.

 Thanks again for your support, and be on the lookout for your surveys!

Gregory McCarthy, Sarah Tuttle, and 18 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Anrake on January 16, 2015

      Wow, very cool! I'm really excited for you and can't wait to see the finished book.

    2. Missing avatar

      Harriet Slive on January 16, 2015

      Xavid you are amazing