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FletchSan

Oh Dear I've Discovered Tosogu

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After my wife bought me Lethal Elegance by Joe Earle for my birthday, which I've been enjoying admiring the amazing and diverse artistry of Japanese fittings, I've now gone and purchased 3 tsuba in as many weeks - someone please stop me :)

 

Anyway, here's my latest acquisition which is a rather large beauty. I know literally nothing about tsuba, though the quality seems to be superb.

 

cheers,

 

Ben

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Ben,

 

Stop on the tsuba buys that is a reproduction. Go to a sword show or get some books and look at dealers sites it is a great hobby and study but start off with going down the right road first

 

 

Fred      

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Dear Ben,

 

Congratulations!  Tosogu collecting is a really fun hobby!  I recommed you do more research before you purchase more as there are many fakes and reproductions out in the market.  The tsuba you purchased looks to be a cast reproduction unfortunately from the one photo you provided.  Check out my website (www.tsubaotaku.com) it has a lot of free reference and study material.  For example I have wrote over six articles about Tosogu over the course of 17 years of collecting and have made many field trips to Japan to continue my study.  I also have a business website (www.raindragonfinearts.com) that provides authentic Japanese fine art and antique pieces at affordable prices.  I will be getting in a whole lot of new tsuba up on the website and eBay store next week.  So bookmark please my website and sign up for email and/or Facebook updates.  Thank you and Happy Holidays.
 

 

 

Yours truly,            

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Hi Ben

A repro but I hope it did not cost you too much but the overall design is quite pleasing

Like David I also have tsuba for sale and we both would guarantee the description and you take the guessing out of whether is is a honest tsuba or a reproduction

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qj7d66vvq1a7z16/NMB%20listing.pdf?dl=0

 

 

Grev

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Well, that stopped me! .. and a very good lesson. Not too much different to the world if nihonto it seems.

 

What are some of the really obvious telltale signs in this example that it is cast as in hand the detail is there in the dove and flowers - more so than the photo reveals.

 

Thanks all.

 

Ben

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Thanks Fred. The seppa-dai is flat in person, though the photo does make it look different - trick of the light maybe.

 

What are some other tell tale signs and would it be a modern repro or earlier?

 

Photo of the reverse attached.

 

cheers,

 

Ben

 

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Hi Ben,

I also had a problem with your 1st picture.  I suspected the tsuba to be a cast fake but I wasn't sure.  Now with the new pictures I'm less sure.  I think there is a good chance that this is not cast but rather made recently (late 20th or 21st century) and never mounted.  The top of the nakago hitsu-ana still looks fishy but the rest of the tsuba looks real.

Grey

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Hmm interesting. I’ll try to take some more detailed photos and try to have someone more expert examine in hand before I start demanding a refund ;)

 

Btw - it was described as a presentation tsuba because of the size. Could that explain why it looks like it was never mounted?

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Like Patrick, I'm thinking the mei is on the wrong side.  No wear anywhere; it looks brand new.  And why the difference in the rim and surface texture front to back?  

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Some of the highest quality tsuba are signed on the back.  It might have something to do with putting the art first and the maker behind.  Dunno.  I'm sure there is a good reason.  Anybody??

 

BaZZa.

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I'm on the "fake" side, too. And that was the judgement I had from the first image. That pictures clearly shows that the seppa-dai is domed This is clearly evidence that the metal shrank ever so slightly. The fact that the tsuba shows no sign of even having been mounted is also significant. Fred's eye sight ain't bad, and his advice is pretty good, too.

Peter

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Ben,

 

So the rounding of the of the corners and lack of filing edges or maybe say "hard" sharp corners first problem of the nakago -ana made to fit a sword ever seen a rounded sword nakago  …. answer ...never sharp and clean....tsuba made to fit always !

also please note the that the seppa dai not clean and sharp why is the seppa -dai there ??? the tsuba it a work of art and a wonderfully engraved , inlaid , love them !!!  but it had a purpose and always made for that one reason first.

 

 

Fred   

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Face by face, it's hard to say this is the same tsuba.....?   I don't know, this one is interesting. Perhaps the listing by OP would help add color to the debate:

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Given the size (10cm) and weight of this tsuba I doubt it was ever intended to be mounted.. is a presentation tsuba a thing or we’re all made to be mounted and used practically?

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Ben,

 

will say this best and sweet as I can, but enough make-up on a it and change the lighting Victoria secret model all that goes away...just a reproduction tsuba ?..

 

Fred 

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The gold bird and silver plum blossoms do look carved, but the plate looks cast to me too.  Can you look inside the nakago ana for signs of casting?  

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The signature to the reverse side is very commonly seen on tsuba for example most Kinai were signed to the reverse. Reasons given vary, out of respect, special commision etc so I wouldn’t let this point cary any weight over judgement of this work.

 

Without seeing it in hand I can only echo earlier comments but part cast ( seppa dai area is poorly shaped ) and hand finished such as the carving seen to the reverse is a real possibility. I wouldnt have thought it from the Edo period.

 

Has anyone translated the signature, which seems an obvious clue ?

 

Kindest regards

Michael

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I've never seen decent kataki-bori on a cast tsuba, and the mei is well cut and not cast in.
That alone would make me seek better advice. This is not a slam dunk by any means. If I had to call it, I would say genuine, but modern and not made for mounting.
But I would be sending the pics to Ford and asking his opinion. Work on the back is not terrible. Ground work also looks good and not cast?
Seppa-dai is bad and nakago ana is bad. Hmmm

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A high res scan of the back of the tsuba - scan doesn't work for the front of course, though captured some of the detail from the features touching the glass.

 

 

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A few more showing detail and one showing actual size vs enlarged. Dimensions 9.2cm x 10cm.

 

I think given the feedback and Masayoshi is obviously a big name I'm leaning towards returning the Tsuba.

 

cheers,

 

Ben

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