Rare samurai arrowheads to sell at Bonhams in New York

45 Caliber

45 Caliber

2015-10-16 09:09:14

Bonhams are set to offer a remarkable collection of 16th century Japanese samurai arrowheads for sale in New York.

The Paul Goodman collection features stunning decorative examples, including several made by the master smith Umetada Motoshige, and what is believed to be the largest arrowhead ever forged in Japan.

Goodman was inspired by his parents' collection, which they acquired during their stay in Japan after WWII, and having inherited a number of rare pieces he began to assemble his own impressive collection.

“The collection is not only breath-taking in quantity but also in quality, material and subject matter," said Jeff Olson, head of Bonhams’ Japanese department. "It is simply one of the most comprehensive and finest single-owner collections of arrowheads ever to have been offered at auction."

Archery was considered the highest form of skill for the samurai, and they developed a range of different arrowheads known as yajiri or yanone, forged from the same Japanese steel as their famous swords.

These different tips served a variety of purposes. Those known as 'Karimata' has special split-points to sever ropes, whereas Watakushi tips were barbed, to inflict further injury on the enemy. Kaburi-Ya tips, the largest used by the samurai, produced a loud whistling sound as they flew through the air, and were used to strike fear in the enemy as they approached.

However, as times changed and samurai warfare relented, arrow heads evolved from deadly weapons into almost decorative objects featuring highly elaborate carvings. Today these stunning examples of Japanese folk art are admired for their beauty, and are highly collectible.

Part one of the Paul Goodman collection of Japanese arrowheads, swords and fittings will cross the block on Tuesday October 20.

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