This beautiful octagonal iron sukashi tsuba has what is called "presence". It feels heavy and massive in hand, despite its rather average size. A superbly done shakudo fukurin adds to its allure.
I admit that although I am not collecting Edo tsuba (unless it is early Edo), I simply could not resist this tsuba. The composition is excellent, the guard radiates strength and confidence. It is one of my favourite tsuba, but I need money for an acquisition.
The motif is that of an axe and two mortar pestles. In my humble opinion it alludes to two legends. Firstly, to the legend of Wu Gang, a complacent and disrespectful gentleman who was condemned to eternally cut branches of a Cassia tree on the moon.
Secondlu, the Cassia tree and its seeds were associated with immortality, and the Moon Rabbit, a companion of the Moon goddess Chang E was pounding the elixir of life in a mortar (on the moon of course). So, both the axe and the pestle in this motif here represent immortality, but - by associaton with Wu Gang - it is also a warning against arrogance (for which Wu Gang was punished with his Sysiphean task).
I have attached a picture of a T'ang dynasty bronze mirror with the motif of Chang E, the Moon Rabbit and the Cassia tree as well as a picture of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi's woodblock print "Cassia Tree Moon", showing Wu Gang (from the 100 Aspects of the Moon series). Of course these are not part of the sale
I think that both it sturdiness as well as the symbolism of this tsuba made it fit to be worn by a sword master. In any case, it is a very nice guard, in every respect.
The NBTHK has judged it to be Echizen. Fine by me, although I cannot quite see why. I think Myochin would be a better call. Well...
Thickness at rim: 0.6cm, at seppa dai 0.5.
This tsuba came in an ordinary box, which I can include if the buyer wishes it. but I think it deserves a custom box. Shipping w/o box
This splendid guard is yours for:
This includes shipping to EU or US, wire transfer in USD or EUR prefered. Payment schedule possible.