Antique Japanese Bowmakers

July 14, 2007 at 11:01 PM · On my Great Aunts' violin bow as stamped a small flower and the word Japan. The violin is a student model but is at least 100 years old because it was hers' from childhood and she died at 98 years old. (No lable inside violin). Is there a way to find out more about them.



Replies (9)

July 15, 2007 at 03:52 AM · The flower is probably a chrysanthemum. I wonder why it says Japan in Engilsh if it's 100 years old?

July 15, 2007 at 09:01 AM · The Suzuki company produced instruments for export after the first world war. I have seen a violin with a similar label like your brandstamp. It was a Flower shape design formed from three upper case 'S' with the addition 'NIPPON'. To be indentify it for sure I would need at least a good picture.

Andreas Preuss - Tokyo

(editor of the New Encyclopedia on Violin and Bow Makers.)

July 15, 2007 at 01:11 PM · I know the bow is original to the violin. The flower looks like a circle with small cirles around the outside on the stick at the frog end just after it is the word Japan spelled in english. She had this set since her childhood and died at the age of 98 6 years ago, so I am guessing that it must be around 100 years old. The violin had a label but only the corners remain, no help there. I am not sure they were bought as a set or seperately. I don't have much to go on. So any help would be greatly appreciated.



July 15, 2007 at 04:27 PM · A chrysanthemum with sixteen petals was the symbol of the Japanese royal family. It's on Japanese WWII rifles, sometimes partially scratched away if it was surrendered. Don't know if they'd put it on a bow too. Japan in English probably means after 1930. I'd guess it's from between then and WWII?

July 17, 2007 at 05:52 AM · In that case I would ask you to send me a picture of the stamp. My shop is here in Tokyo and I could show it around to identify it. My old teacher from Tokyo violn making School Mr. Murata might still know it, he is 80 now.

Andreas Preuss

July 20, 2007 at 01:44 AM · Wow thanks Jim and Andreas, I'll put a picture in as soon as I find out how to do it. I do know that my father remembers his mom playing it when he was young. My dad will be 80years old this year. So that would had been in the 1930, but they had it since she and her sister were children, somewhere in 1900 to 1910 I would guess they would have purchased it. Maybe the bow was a replacement and purchased later the first one may had been broken.

July 22, 2007 at 01:55 AM · Just to fill you all in I took the violin and bow to my trusted luthier and he said it was a suzuki bow and a German made Strad copy from around 1910 to 1920. He said to was a mass produced violin and not worth anything. I still decided to have it repaired for around $200.00 dollars US. He said it would then be worth around $250.00 US. Even if it was not worth thousands it still means something to me.

Thanks for all your advice


July 22, 2007 at 08:51 AM · Some things have more value than paper.

July 22, 2007 at 09:03 AM · And as a famous violin maker would say, chances are with the right setup it would sound better than one or two of the sorrier Strads out there.

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