Zutta Tenma in 1/10 scale – Himi Rice Field Boat – Final

The Zutta Tenma is a small Tabune, or rice field boat, from Toyama prefecture. My model is based on a drawing that I got from Douglas Brooks, which is very similar to one he used when he built one in 2016.

Todate/Transom

The todate or transom on my drawing is in two parts. I could have, made it from a single piece, but I chose to make it in two pieces. Unfortunately, the drawing doesn’t show how these are fastened together. To keep the model simple, I’m assuming that nails of some type were driven down from the top through the short piece of the todate. This is then covered by a board, the name of which I don’t know.

 

On the face of the todate is a carved symbol of the owner. I don’t know a whole lot about these, but was told it was a yago. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, as I thought a yago was a house name. The above is a from the plans I’m using. It shows what appears to be twin mountain peaks inscribed in a circle – clearly not a name. The other plan shows what looks like a Chinese character. It looks similar to this one, 又, but it doesn’t make much sense as it is the word mata, which means “also”.

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Zutta Tenma in 1/10 scale – Himi Rice Field Boat – Part 2

The Zutta Tenma is a small Tabune, or rice field boat, from Toyama prefecture. My model is based on a drawing that I got from Douglas Brooks, which is very similar to one he used when he built one in 2016.

Photo of the drawings used to Douglas Brooks to build a Zutta Tenma in Himi in 2016. Photo courtesy of Douglas Brooks.

This drawings varies only slightly from one I used, which I believe was published in a museum book on boats of Toyama prefecture. I managed to find a couple of these books on Yahoo! JAPAN Auctions and used my Buyee.com account to purchase it. This, by the way, is a very useful buying service, which allows you to view products in english and ship them to a Japanese address, where they handle the international shipping for you. It’s very easy to use and gives you access to lots of great stuff for sale in Japan.

One of two books on traditional Japanese boats of Toyama prefecture that I just purchased.

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Zutta Tenma in 1/10 scale – Himi Rice Field Boat

In early 2016, Douglas Brooks was in Himi, Japan, to build a small Tabune, or rice field boat, known locally as a Zutta Tenma. He is back in Japan now, on his way back to Himi, this time to build a general purpose boat that I’m told is simply called a Tenmasen.

As part of a fund raising plan, I’d agreed to build a couple models for fund raising purposes for him for a nominal fee. This will happen some time in the next 6 months, probably, as I wait for more details on the boat’s construction.

Himi Tenmasen

In the meantime, Douglas was also in Niigata prefecture, where he worked on a very simple river boat which has been called a Nouninawase or Itaawase, or as I just learned today, a Honryousen.

Douglas Brooks caulking a seam on a Honryousen

I’m not sure if it’s going to happen, but Douglas was interested in getting a model of the Honryousen he just built, so I’m waiting on some dimensions on that too.

But, while I’m waiting for information on those, I decided that I really haven’t done all that much in the way of a model of a boat that he’s built, and I’m about to build two. So, I figured I’d better get a head start and get in some practice by building a Zutta Tenma model.

Zutta Tenma were boats used in and around the rice fields of the region. This one is a smaller type and has a very simple design. My understanding is that these were not built by boat builders, per se, but by builders who specifically built these tabune, or rice field boats.

Zutta Tenma in a museum in Himi, Japan

The boat is only about 12 feet long, so I’m going with a 1/10-scale model. At this scale, the model will be about 14 inches long. This also allows me to put in the mortise detail, which is hard for me to do at smaller scales. It also keeps the model from seeming too simple. Unfortunately, most of the interesting detail is on the underside of the boat, so you won’t be able to see it unless the model is displayed upside down.

For the most part, I think the boats look best on a simple wooden base. But, a mirrored base, would allow a viewer to see the bottom of the boat as it sits upright. I’ll have to think about this.

You can read more about Douglas Brooks’s 2016 Zutta Tenma project on his blog here: http://blog.douglasbrooksboatbuilding.com/2016/02/the-rice-field-boat.html