The Kura - Japanese Art Treasures

Robert Mangold has been working with Japanese antiques since 1995 with an emphasis on ceramics, Paintings, Armour and Buddhist furniture.
In accordance with the requests of local authorities our Kyoto gallery will be closed to visitors from April 14th until further notice.
Horagai (Jinkai) Antique Japanese Triton-Shell Horn

Horagai (Jinkai) Antique Japanese Triton-Shell Horn


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Swords and Related: Pre 1900: Item # 1423970

Please refer to our stock # MOR7848 when inquiring.
The Kura
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817-2 Kannonji Monzen-cho
Kamigyo-ku Kyoto 602-8385
tel.81-75-201-3497
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 $780.00 
A large Triton shell horn fitted with a brass mouthpiece and a bone toggle attached by silk chords. It is 39 cm (15-1/2 inches) long and comes in an old wooden storage box wrapped in cotton wadding.
Horagai are large shell horns that have been used as trumpets in Japan since time immemorial and go by several names depending upon the user and the purpose of use. Unlike most shell trumpets from other parts of the world which produce only one pitch, the Japanese horagai can produce three to five different notes. The different pitches are achieved using a bronze or wooden mouthpiece attached to the apex of the shell's spire. Buddhist monks, known as Yamabushi ascetic warrior monks are strongly associated with the instrument. The monks used the trumpet to signal their presence (or movements) to one another across mountains and to accompany the chanting of sutras. In battle, the shell, called jinkai, or "war shell", was one of several signal devices used by Samurai. A large conch would be used and fitted with a bronze (or wooden) mouthpiece. It would be blown with a different combination of "notes" to signal troops to attack, withdraw, or change strategies, in the same way a bugle was used in the west. In addition, the jinkai served a similar function to war drums in signaling troop formations, setting a rhythm for marching, providing something of a heroic accompaniment to encourage the troops and confusing the enemy by inferring that the troop numbers were large enough to require such trumpeters. Often Yamabushi, generally fierce warriors themselves, were enlisted to serve as kai yaku horn blowers, due to their experience with the instrument.