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Asian ➔ Abumi, Samurai Stirrups

This item, from the Messengers of Hope Collection, is a pair of abumi, or samurai stirrups. They are of dark iron, with a red lacquer on the foot pads. Where the lacquer is worn away there appears to be a pattern of abalone or mother of pearl inlay. The outer portions of iron are incised with a floral design.;The Messengers of Hope were an organization of Hope College alumni that existed formally from about 1907-1915. They had a relatively small membership of 25-50 individuals, who traveled around the world doing missionary work. Messengers of Hope worked in Asia, India, Africa, and the Middle East. One notable member of the group was Dr. John Otte who worked as a doctor and missionary in China for several years, eventually dieing there in 1910. Many of Otte's writings about his experiences are preserved at the Joint Archives of Holland, in Holland Michigan. The missionaries regularly collected items from the communities in which they worked, and sent them back to Hope College for a museum intended to inspire others to take up missionary work. Messengers of Hope known to have worked in Japan who may have collected this object include Rev. Van Bronkhorst, Walvoord, Van Lopik, and Laug. Over the years the small museum was moved around campus and many items were lost or borrowed and never returned. The Grand Rapids Public Museum has collected a small representative sample of these items, in order to tell the story of the Messengers of Hope.;This group of items was part of a small museum at Hope College in the early twentieth century. The items were collected by the Messengers of Hope, a group of Hope alumni engaged in missionary work all over the world. As part of their organization's mission the Messengers of Hope collected items from the various cultures they worked with and sent them back to the college in the hope of inspiring future generations of missionaries.;Abumi, or samurai stirrups of this form were used during the Edo Period in Japan (1603-1868), although this pair may date to the early twentieth century. They offered mounted samurai many of the advantages of the traditional stirrup, but were also easy to "release" if a horse fell underneath the rider. Many examples of Abumi were highly decorative.
circa 1910
Iron, Lacquer, Abalone
1" h 12" w 6" d
Current Location Status:
On Exhibit
Gift Of Hope College

J is for Japan ()
Hope College
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