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Everything posted by Tanto54

  1. Dear Roger, the Edo castings are usually sand castings and have surfaces like cast iron (unless significantly worked after casting). The kinko modern castings are often made using vulcanized rubber molds and wax injection to make the models and then spin or vacuum casted. Those techniques leave traces like spurs, mold lines, positive bubbles (like tiny dew drops on the surface - especially in crevices), porosity, etc. that are different from the old ways of casting. However, they can copy details down to the level of fingerprints, so they are often difficult to spot. Those modern molding techniques have only been around for 30-40 years, so the tsuba showing those telltale signs are modern fakes. Other signs are the painted on gold/silver highlights that show up on many of them, cast in place sekigane or plugs, and the identical "damage" on multiple copies.
  2. Thanks Glen, one other thing to remember is that many of the Japanese experts are not well versed in these cast fakes either (it is a different skill set - more in the realm of gold-smithing than in tsuba kantei), so mistakes can be made (even by the best...)
  3. Dear Glen, you probably already know this, but just to clarify for others, almost all of the cast items that are being talked about here are modern fakes (from the last 30 years) and are not the kind of "mirror" or Edo castings that the NBTHK is talking about.
  4. I'd spend the money on the best restoration possible instead of papers. In my opinion (for whatever that is worth...), it doesn't need papers, he's not one of the top names and the good quality of the work speaks for itself.
  5. OK, one last try... Item 181 is a komainu - see photos below and compare to Bob's tsuba... Note the similar two pronged horn in the one photo (also same claws, face, teeth, tail, legs, etc. etc.) Bob's Tsuba: Komainu (see two pronged horn?) and Shishi: Another Komainu (single pronged horn in this case, but it doesn't matter - see claws, tail, face, etc.):
  6. Item 181 is a Koma-inu (a "lion dog") which evolved to look very much like a Shishi (a "lion") but with an added horn.
  7. Hi Bob, on item 180, I found him in Haynes, Sesko Signatures and Wakayama signing Doshu-ju Kuniyoshi circa 1800.
  8. Happy New Year Bob! Both are lovely New Year Tosogu, but that Tiger is especially awesome!!!
  9. @Brian You gave me a good laugh! Here's a real one from MFA Boston. Three Sake Tasters which morphed from the Chinese Three Vinegar Tasters. Confucius, Buddha, and Laozi (representing Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism) each taste the sake/vinegar and have a different reaction (sour, bitter, sweet) revealing their different underlying principals and approach to life (despite the fact that they are tasting from the same vat (representing life).
  10. Hey Bob, your Item 170 looks like it has a signature but I can't make it out in the photo (might need to see it in hand). Instead of a daikon, the hitsuana are hossu. A hossu is a priest's fly-whisk, and they symbolize the priest's right to pass on the teachings of Buddha. The large carved kanji appear to be a poem or proverb, and based on a quick look, I see the following: flowers/petals, floating, under, water, moon, heart. You may want to put a photo in the translation section and see if anyone can double check those characters. The meaning may be akin to the proverb Kyoka Suigetsu: "flower seen in the mirror, moon on the water's surface". Something like Zen the teaching of a monkey reaching for the moon's reflection in the water. Some warriors saw themselves as the monkey and therefore interpreted this as a warning against foolishness or unattainable dreams, and other warriors saw themselves as the moon that could not be touched by another's sword. The hossu hitsuana point to the authority to pass on the important learnings of this proverb.
  11. Hi Bob, Item 173 (dragon) is by Kunishige, and yes he worked in Hirado in Hizen province. Haynes says there are two or three generations signing with this mei from the early 1700’s. Wakayama says that they rarely used a Kao / Kakihan, but when they did it took one of two forms (yours is one of those forms).
  12. BTW @paul_tsuba_info I really like your "Tsuba Info" site - very informative (https://tsuba.info/schools/). Great for helping people understand the different tosogu schools and some of the more famous makers. Hope you continue to add to it!
  13. Hi Paul, "Tokusei" is read as Norikiyo, and he was a student of the Yokoya School (and is copying Somin's famous Shishi design here).
  14. Dear Bob, I really like the modeling of the tree on 165 too - has a great, ancient feel. Does 166 have a faint checkerboard pattern or just vertical lines? I think I remember a very nice tsuba in this shape with a faint checkerboard pattern in one of the famous old collections. I'll try to find it. I've been on vacation, so I'm really looking forward to looking back at all the treasures that you've posted while I was away!
  15. Dear Bob, 159 looks like very good work. I think the two sukashi are two Matsukawa-bishi Mon (family mon in the shape of pine bark with three diamonds which stand for reliability, integrity and success). The inlay looks fantastic. I've always wondered about the potential for galvanic corrosion when joining metals like brass/copper and iron (even without strong electrical or magnetic fields), so I've asked many "experts" and craftspeople but never received a satisfactory answer... Your tsuba does not appear to have any such corrosion, so I guess that it's not a problem or they had some way of addressing it.
  16. Tanto54

    Tsuba opinions

    Hi Mark, the kanji look like Shogyoku, but I can't find any tsuba makers with a matching mei (in Saotome or anywhere else). The "Sho" may be incorrect (hard to see). Also wondered if the pine bark mon shapes were original or not and even if they are places where inlay has fallen out. Can you tell in hand?
  17. Hey Bob, just trying to catch-up on some of your excellent postings that I missed. I really liked No. 130. The various sennin (Immortals) have such interesting powers like the ability to conjure dragons and horses from their gourds and bowls. The detail on your tsuba looks great with many artistic attention to details (like the stylistic rain-dragon and realistic horse). The golden amber that you wrote about was one of those aspects that the maker spent a lot of time doing but only very few people would ever spot it - amazing! No. 130 is Hamano School and is signed "Shoryuken Teruyuki". Teruyuki was a student of Hamano Shigeyuki but he was not one of the four masters of the Hamano School (so he never used the Miboku name like Shozui). I’ve attached Teruyuki’s mei from Wakayama and I'm sure that it is a match. Teruyuki worked in Edo in the mid to late 1800’s. I also really liked your three orphan fuchi No. 133. The Lungren Collection had so many great items, and I really enjoy going through that Auction Catalogue from time to time. Orphans don't bother me if they are great art (and I think that yours are). The moon's reflection in the stream on No. 133c (reproduced below) is really top notch. That is a theme that Natsuo borrowed many times to great effect (and I remember Ford using it too...) I also enjoyed the attention to detail in the Oni's shorts on No. 133b. As you may know, because tigers were not endemic to Japan, the Japanese mistakenly believed for centuries that male tigers had stripes and female tigers had spots. Even today, we often see togosu misidentified as a tiger and leopard when really its just a male and female tiger. In the classic image of an Oni (demon), the Oni wears tiger fur shorts. On your fuchi, one Oni has stripes on his shorts and the other Oni has spots - awesome attention to detail that gave me a good laugh. The Japanese will fix broken or damaged treasures and instead of trying to hide the repair, they will often highlight it with gold lacquer. The bowl (for example) was a fabulous work of art before it was dropped, and it's a shame that it was damaged, but if properly repaired, it is still a great work of art (albeit at a lower price...). Shouldn't we feel the same way about orphan menuki and fuchigashira? Anyone have a Masamune with the tip chipped off through the boshi? I'll be happy to take it off your hands...
  18. Hi Bob, sorry I'm late in my posting about Item 131 @Geraintgets the atari! The subject is a cart wheel from a "Genji Guruma" (a generic term for an Imperial Ox Cart) on a Kanayama School tsuba. As Geraint said, it comes from the Tale of Genji (considered by many scholars to be the World's first novel) about the romantic exploits of Prince Genji. There are several chapters in the book that refer to Genji Guruma ("guruma" is the euphonic of Kuruma or "car" in Japanese) but the best known is the Aoi chapter. In the case of tsuba like this though, it is just a generic imperial cart wheel and probably doesn't refer to a specific chapter in the book. We often see these cart wheels on tosogu in water (soaking up moisture to keep them from splitting in use). The meaning was something like you have to prepare yourself under difficult conditions to be ready to be useful later.
  19. The additional information that the fuchi has a minogame clinches the identification of the bird on the kashira as a Crane (instead of a Night Heron). Research the symbols of longevity and you will be convinced too (there are 4 main symbols: pine, bamboo, crane & minogame).
  20. Crane, pine and bamboo are famous combination meaning longevity.
  21. While Diakoku is occasionally depicted on sake bottles, in all of these three cases above (the two tsuba and the bottle shown by Thomas), the god depicted is Hotei. You can tell by the large, bare belly (a sign of Hotei not Diakoku). In addition, Hotei is the patron god of bar tenders, so that is why he is most often the one depicted on sake bottles.
  22. Hi Ed, the signature (left side) is "Jokatsusai Hoichi + kao" who was more commonly known as Chinju (Haynes 00306.0). He lived in Inshu ju Inaba Province and was alive in the mid 1800's. The Hoichi name can also be read as Yasukazu. The kanji on the right side indicate that the image is derived from a certain artist's painting.
  23. Hi Bob, the Sake Drinkers are Shojo, and Item 128 looks to be signed by Jowa, who is more commonly known as Masanaga (Haynes 04251) and who was the nephew of the famous Sugiura Joi. So glad to see you and your marvelous collection are back!!!
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