more farriers in this country than in any other; though, to speak properly, there are none at all.’
Captain Sherard Osborne, describing the equipment his steed carried on a journey, amongst many other articles notes ‘a string of the copper coin of the country, far too cumbrous for the pocket; a clothes-brush and fly-flap; a paper waterproof coat; a broad-brimmed tile for heavy rain or strong sunlight; and lastly, a bundle of spare straw shoes for the horse.’ A noble's horse is thus painted: ‘It is, indeed, a gorgeous creature; its headstall richly ornamented with beautiful specimens of Japan skill and taste in casting, chasing, and inlaying in copper and bronze, the leather perfectly covered with these ornaments. The frontlet has a golden or gilt horn projecting. The mane is carefully plaited, and worked in with gold and silver, as well as silken threads. The saddle, which is a Japanese imitation in leather, lacquer, and inlaid bronze, of those in use amongst the Portuguese and Spaniards in the days of Albuquerque, is a perfect work of art, and only excelled in workmanship, weight, and value by the huge stirrups. The reins are of silk; a rich scarlet net of the same material hangs over the animal's shoulders and crupper. The saddle-cloth is a leopard's skin; and lastly, as a perfect finish, the long switch tail is encased in a blue-silk bag reaching nearly to the ground; whilst, instead of the shoes being of ordinary straw, they are made of cotton and silk interwoven.’
And Sir Rutherford Alcock writes: ‘Refreshed by our breakfast, we began to turn inland to the screen of hills
- Histoire du Japan. Amsterdam, 1732.
- Japanese Fragments, p. 97.