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Friday, August 17, 2012

LEGO: Samurai Duel At The Temple Courtyard

Welcome to yet another LEGO diorama created by me.

Here are some of the other LEGO dioramas I have completed:
LEGO DIORAMA 1
LEGO DIORAMA 2
LEGO DIORAMA 3
LEGO DIORAMA 4
LEGO DIORAMA 5
LEGO DIORAMA 6
LEGO DIORAMA 7
LEGO DIORAMA 8
LEGO DIORAMA 9

Above are links to the other dioramas I built and have had subsequently destroyed by my son who said he wanted to play with them - but apparently that is 6-year-old slang for I'm going to smash everything to bits and you, daddy, will have to put away the 10s of thousands of bricks all by yourself.

Oh well... it is LEGO... and it is a toy meant to be built and taken apart and built into something else. Still, I was delusional into thinking I was going to link up all of my dioramas one day. Yeah... right! Where the hell would I do that? How many more scenes would I have to make? And why? 

Failure to adequately answer the fourth question: "How much money will this cost us o' stupid husband?" got me thinking maybe it was okay that my kid enjoys destroying my world like a hairier, less green Godzilla.

With this diorama, I thought for three seconds (which is how I plan my dioramas) that I was going to create a small eight-inch by 4-inch strip of LEGO showing a broken wall and two samurai warriors fighting with katana swords in a scene from the classic Japanese movie The Seven Samurai.

Instead, I got a little carried away, which is what usually happens after the initial three-seconds of thought.

While a little flat-looking, the whole scene is filled with action and drama. There are two warriors about to engage in a duel (one reluctantly - the one with the sword held low and behind) while a crowd gathers to watch.

There's a samurai on fancy horseback with a retainer on foot and another on a horse - all about to run over a chicken that has crossed the road. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the otherside.

There are two shady looking men carrying a palanquin coming towards the samurai on horseback. Why is there a parrot on a rock? Can anyone spot the green snake coming out of a hole? There's an owl on the high tree... with a ninja up to no good beside it.

Lots of people drinking...

And what's going on with that tower on the left?

Known as a noroshi, it is a three-story wooden tower used as a fire beacon alarm system used to warn areas of approaching danger.
Noroshi fire beacon tower.

First derived by Takeda Shingen (surname first), a great military leader (1521-1573) , he was a daimyo who errected the noroshi throughout his territories.

At the top, an ashigaru (foot soldier) would either spot danger or would see a signal from another beacon and would race down the tower, light the container, race back up again and then hoist it up to the top level of the noroshi.
Raising the flaming iron bucket at the noroshi beacon tower.

The flames would hopefully be spotted by the next tower, who would do the same to warn another tower farther down the line.... and so on and so on.

The actual bucket holding the fire was made of iron and was mounted to the end of a long tree trunk (I did not do that here), which was able to pivot in its center from a bracket fastened to the upper level.

By pulling on the ropes, the ashigaru would be able to swing the fire bucket high into the air, which would allow other ashigaru atop their noroshi to communicate with each other. In this fashion, the outer territories of Takeda's lands could communicate with Takeda's capital of Kofu.  
High atop the 3-story noroshi, the fire beacon communicates with another tower down the road.

Just in case, the noroshi fire beacons also utilized the services of scouts on horses who could also send out warnings to local runners who would give the warning to the men and women (farmers et al) of the Takeda region not able to see the noroshi... this would enable the men to prepare themselves for the call to arms by Takeda to come and help defend the area alongside the samurai and ashigaru. Of course, at this point in time, there was no permanent army under the control of the daimyo (lord of the land - a governor, if you will), so the inclusion of additional fighting men was a necessity in any battle.   

I had never heard of the noroshi before reading of it in a manual on ancient Japanese warfare. Yes... I read more than Charlie Chan novels and comic books. Though I am reading all three at the same time, along with a couple of other books and the 2012 Hockey News Yearbook.

Anyhow, to me, this signal fire is not that much different from the classic Native American smoke signals... or island native tom-tom drums... heck... everyone set fires to warn others. It's just tha the Japanese... well, they had their own style of doing things.

And now we all know.

Here's is a look at the rest of the diorama:
Samurai duel at the temple courtyard.

Lots of action at the temple.


Samurai, and his retainer on horseback followed by his servant on foot.
Unsuspecting chicken crossing the road about to become road kill.
A complex maze housing a snake in the grass.
A ninja atop a tree is spotted by a spotted owl. Who, indeed?
A wind-blown parrot watches bandits race by carrying a palanquin containing treasure?
Overview of a duel on the temple grounds.
Everyone loves a good duel - unaware that above them an owl has spotted a ninja up to no good.

Hope you enjoyed the duel!

Cheers
Andrew Joseph

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