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Show Us Your High Class Tosogu


Alex A
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Great tsuba, Tim.  That second Hoan (the oval one) is wonderful, but the kikugata piece is spectacular.  Best piece in this whole thread, in my opinion.  :thumbsup:

 

Thanks for the compliment. I have been experimenting lately with the scanner and thought the images were good enough for posting. 

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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 months later...

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Huang Shigong Granting Zhang Liang Menuki

 

This piece portrays the encounter between Zhang Liang and Huang Shigong. Zhang Liang plotted a failed assassination attempt at emperor Qin Shi Huang and subsequently went into hiding in Xiapi.

 
According to legend, he met an old man there at Yishui Bridge who threw his shoe down on purpose and asked Zhang to go fetch it. Zhang reluctantly got it, and the man asked if he could put it on for him. Zhang was angry but managed to hide his temper and obliged. First, the man left laughing out loud, but then came back and said: "This child can be taught!". He then ordered Zhang to meet him at dawn, five days later. When Zhang arrived the man was already there, scolding: "How can you be late for a meeting with an elderly man? Come back again five days later!". The next time, Zhang came early but still not early enough so the third time he came at midnight and waited for the old man to arrive.
 
The old man was impressed with Zhang Liang's fortitude and humility, and presented Zhang with a book, saying, 
 
"You can become the tutor of a ruler after reading this book. Within ten years, the world will become chaotic. You can then use your knowledge from this book to bring peace and prosperity to the empire. Meet me again 13 years later. I am the yellow rock at the foot of Mount Gucheng."
 
The old man was Huang Shigong, literally: "Yellow Rock Old Man" The book was Three Strategies of Huang Shigong, that was to become one of the seven Chinese military classics. According to the legend, Zhang Liang went to Mount Gucheng 13 years later and did find a yellow rock there. He built a shrine to worship the rock and the rock was buried with him after his death.
 
Zhang Liang was to become a strategist and statesman who helped destroy the Qin and found the Han dynasty. He acted as strategist and statesman and was later hailed as one of the "Heroes of the early Han dynasty"
 
The story of Huang Shigong is a classic Chinese folk tale that teaches humility.

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Dear Piers,

 

The Japanese readings for the two characters in the story are Choryo and Kosekiko (and the manuscript on strategy is reputed to have been passed to Kiichi Hogen, Yoshitsune, and Kusunoki Masashige in Japan).

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Ed, I love the little patches of 'warm up' nanako on the seppa-dai. I've never seen anything like that before, it's quite funny really. The seppa-dai seems to have a subtle egg shape to it too, which to me suggests an early koshirae form.

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Wow Ford, I hadn't even noticed those patches initially. Nothing misses your critical eye. No matter how many items I have observed over four decades, I still find something new. I guess he was calibrating his nanako punch for the job :-).

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Ford, 

Thanks for your input, always happy to receive positive comment from someone with your level of expertise. 

When I first saw this tsuba the test spots were one of the first things I noticed. At first it was kind of a turn off for me, but over time I have come to see it as a bit of added character (justification ??).  Still scratching my head as to why the maker would do this on the seppa dai of such a nice tsuba. There is almost as much nanako on the seppa dai as in the body of work.  I am in hope that the shinsa team doesn't see this as a negative point.

 

The shape of the seppa dai, quality of the shakudo and work as a whole leads me to believe the tsuba will paper very well. Surely, a pre-edo work.  

 

Have several submitted for this months shinsa, all are nice but this is the one I am most interested in hearing the results.

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I love it too, and desperately WANT IT - but I can see there would be a lot of people trampling all over me with my face in the dirt...

 

BaZZa

XXXX (but don't stain it Ed!!)

 

EDIT: Oh, and I do like the "warm up" nanako.  I think this may be Muromachi????

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Ed, I love the little patches of 'warm up' nanako on the seppa-dai. I've never seen anything like that before, it's quite funny really. The seppa-dai seems to have a subtle egg shape to it too, which to me suggests an early koshirae form.

 

I've seen it before, on a tsuba papered as "Ko-Goto", and on a signed tsuba had a signature to "Goto ???" that was very early and not remotely trying to pass for a mainline artist. If not signed, I would have just said "ko-kinko" on it. It was in a book, and then popped up on Aoi Arts a few years. Someone else bought it before I contacted Aoi.

 

What to make of these works? Phantom zone between tachi-kanagushi, ko-mino, and ko-kinko?

Some of them seem to predate the Goto Tokujo tsuba and are extremely beautiful works. ie... Ed's is an example.

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Nobuie.  Steel.  8.2 cm.  Yattsu Mokko-gata.  The thickness of the tsuba swells considerably from the nakago-ana (4 mm) to the mimi (6 mm), creating an "expansive" effect to the motif, which I believe to be a stylized lotus blossom.  Tsuchime-finished surface. 

 

The signature is of the type that is referred to as "Futoji-mei," attributed by most scholars to Nidai Nobuie. 

 

I do not know if the plugs are solid gold or another material with a gold sheeting applied. 

 

Momoyama Period. 

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Not sure how we define high class, but to me it's what I spend the most in hand time on from my collection.

 

The pair of Jiryūsai Tomohide tsuba I have been able to acquire take more of  my study time than any other piece by far. Every examination sheds another angle of appreciation.

 

Minogame tsuba (shakudo), restored by Ford Hallam:

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Waves, Cranes, and Pines (Shibuichi). The waves are worth hours by themselves. The other 2 elements have several subtle details worth spotting:

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