Manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Gozofu betsu narabini kyudan chiho” [“The Five Organs Carefully Examined, Also Acupuncture Treatment”]. OTSUBO SCHOOL OF MILITARY EQUITATION.
Manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Gozofu betsu narabini kyudan chiho” [“The Five Organs Carefully Examined, Also Acupuncture Treatment”].
Manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Gozofu betsu narabini kyudan chiho” [“The Five Organs Carefully Examined, Also Acupuncture Treatment”].
Manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Gozofu betsu narabini kyudan chiho” [“The Five Organs Carefully Examined, Also Acupuncture Treatment”].

Military Equitation

Manuscript on paper, entitled on upper wrapper “Gozofu betsu narabini kyudan chiho” [“The Five Organs Carefully Examined, Also Acupuncture Treatment”].

22 brush-and-ink color paintings & diagrams of which seven are double-page. 25 leaves (five pages are blank). 8vo (249 x 184 mm.), orig. self-wrappers, new stitching. [Japan]: at end “1607” (but this is surely a later copy of the 1607 manuscript).

Bajutsu, the Japanese form of military equestrianism, had several traditional schools, the most important of which are the Otsubo, Ogasawara, and Hachijo Schools. The art of military equestrianism required skill in riding and mounted sword-fighting and also included teachings on the care and upkeep of horses. These schools were founded around the 14th century but have their roots in the transfer of knowledge from China in the 7th century. Because of the numerous wars in pre-Edo Japan, there was a comparative scarcity of horses. Therefore, there was a great need for well-trained and healthy horses to be made available to the samurai soldiers.

The founder of the Otsubo School of military equitation was Yoshihide Otsubo (1324-1407). He was appointed head of court ceremonies in Kyoto and governed a large part of the city. An accomplished horseman, he also made saddles and stirrups. Otsubo was succeeded by Nagayuki Murakami Kaga Nokami, and by 1477 the school was well established. It was the leading school for a considerable period specializing in the art of riding in combat, using a bow, sword, spear, and gloves. The Otsubo bow was very large and the sword was long and bent. In training, the Otsubo School believed in the liberal use of the whip and ropes to encourage the horse’s correct behavior and posture.

At the end of our manuscript, we learn that “Shigehide Ueda” received the original manuscript in 1607. This Ueda was probably a member of the Ueda School of equestrianism, an offshoot of the Otsubo School. We are also given the name of Ueda’s teachers, his older brother, Saito Aki no kami, and “Hosokawa.”

Our manuscript begins with an explanation of 17 different whips and ropes, each of which is suited for a certain kind of horse or training goal. There are instructions on how to apply the lashes of each whip to the horse’s body. This is followed by a fine illustration of a horse and the nine sections to which whips could be applied (top of head, mouth, neck, thigh, etc.).

Now we have two illustrations of horses tied with red ropes in specific ways to vertical and horizontal posts. Clearly, there was a great emphasis on obedience and improving the posture of the horse. Next are two fine double-page illustrations of horses and their trainers, who have tied one hind leg of the horses. The horses are wearing ornate tack, including an elaborate bit, a decorative saddle and stirrups, etc. The trainers are standing behind the horses, clearly forcing the horses to take measured steps.

The next image is that of a horse tied with red ropes in an elaborate fashion, making it impossible for the horse to walk.

There is a full-page illustration of the horse’s blood circulation from the heart to the rest of the chest, along with pressure points. Facing this is an illustration of a horse whose head is being restrained to improve its posture. The next two illustrations are double-page depictions of a horse tied to two upright posts, being restrained by its trainer.

Then we have a series of illustrations of horses tied by red ropes to restrict movement. There is a most interesting image of a horse judged to be “second-rate.” One of the double-page images shows a man using a lit torch under the horse’s hindquarters.

At the end, we learn that this is an accurate copy of the earlier manuscript, with “not one word missing or added.” The source manuscript was owned by the Hosokawa family.

The final section provides a list of the heads of the Otsubo School, starting with the founder Yoshihide Otsubo, and those who were trained in the school’s secrets. These men became highly respected master trainers, stable masters, farriers, and veterinarians in service to the samurai, fiefdom lords, and shogun.

In fine condition, preserved in a chitsu.

Price: $3,500.00

Item ID: 6677