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Originally it is thought that the menuki were part of mekugi-ana (holding pin between handle and tang). Overtime they seperated and the menuki became more of just a design element, however some still say the menuki's purpose is to provide extra grip on the handle. They are usually under the handle wrap (at least partially), but there are handle styles where there is no wrap and the menuki are in full view. The Menuki like all other samurai sword fittings displays aristry and skill. Most Samurai sword fittings through their design convey meanings, ideas and/or tales of Japanese society. For meanings of designs please read the section on Japanese symbolism.

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Menuki 1
Nicely designed and executed pair of mantis menuki. Has lots of gold zogan inlay (slightly fading). Not sure of school, but I think I have seen similar style assigned to Hamano(?). Length is 3.5 cm X 1.5 cm. Guess age would be Mid - late Edo
Menuki 2
Nice dark Shakudo pair of menuki. Probably mid to late Edo period. Most likely Mino school.
Menuki 3
Small Mantis set made from shakudo and gold. Middle Edo period. Width is 25.3mm, height is 11.9mm & thickness is 4mm. This size is for a little tanto or could even work for a kogatana.
Menuki 4
Large Menuki set size 5.7x1.2cm. Has classic Mino school attributes from Edo period.
Menuki 5
Similar but smaller set to menuki 4. Has same classic Mino attributes from Edo period. Probably could pass for a daisho set with menuki set 4.
Menuki 6
Edo Period menuki set of mantis with wheels and waves. Large size with Dimensions of 4.65 1.5cm, 4.54 1.48cm.
Menuki 7
A pair of mantis menuki papered to Mino by NBTHK. Set is Shakudo. Very similar one in Haynes catalog #3: page 19 number 45 circa 1700.

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