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roger dundas

Brass inlays

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Pics of the 2 tsuba meant to be posted yesterday.

 

The spoked tsuba is 67 x 63 x 4mm. There was a similar but slightly larger example sold earlier this year (or late last year) by Gary Murtha I think.

The tsuba with tendrils, leafs (should that be leaves?)and flowers is 68 x 60 x 5mm. Does anyone think the brass colors of the vines differ from that of the leafs and flowers ? I can't decide myself and would like know what you think.

 

I would welcome comments also as to the relevance of a tsuba's size to collectors if any member would care to comment.

Personally I particularly like these two pieces and the fact that they would be mounted on smaller swords  is of no issue with me but should I think differently ?

A further observation is the amount of work the craftsmen have gone to- the floral inlay for one and the cutting of the spoke apertures as well as the inlay on the other. I think Ford Hallam remarked that (jewellers type ?) piercing saws didn't get to Japan before the end of the 1800s which I presume post dates this work ? So how did the Tsuba smith cut out the spokes ?

 

Trusting you are all OK with my questions and thank you.

Roger D

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Am I going about this the wrong way- possibly not aware of the correct protocols in posting items and questions, maybe expecting responses from busy people ?

Certainly no missteps are intended if there are any on my behalf but I thought members would be interested just to view what else there is to see and for my part I am interested to know what members can impart- if you feel inclined to share your learning as I would very much welcome replies to the above.

 

Roger D

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Both very nice tsubas. Regarding the spokes, All the saotome kiku style I have seen (Momoyama and later) have had the spokes made from separate pieces of steel which are inserted between the center and the rim. There are sometimes four spokes which are an integral part of the piece located at the top, bottom, and both sides. It is difficult to see the joints on the inserted spokes as they are tightly fitted and brazed in, you need a 5X loupe to see the joints. There are usually vee shaped notches in the center and rim and the spokes have corresponding vee points.

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Roger, in general, any tsuba smaller than 70mm should be considered wakizashi-size. Don't know about others, but I collect only katana-size tsuba.

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I have one with the same spokes but they are not insets (1st thing I checked with a loupe)

It is a lot more common that they are inserts - have you checked yours?

Any sukashi (cutouts) are drilled and filed and if they can have slots of 0.1mm then this is easy but time consuming

Is the second water weeds?

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Thank you for your responses. Ken you mentioned your take on katana sizes for tsuba- that is the first time I have seen an opinion offerred. I read a lot ( maybe not to the degree that NMB nihonto followers would on tsuba ) but until now, just nowhere has a rough measurement divide been made that I have seen. I personally had thought somewhere around 75mm or more so was glad to get Ken's experienced opinion.

Two comments regarding how spoke divisions were made. Like Grev noted about his spoked tsuba, this one also has been made by drilling and filing (not sawing apparently) and not made in parts and then brazed together or so my eyesight tells me (via 8x magnification). That might have been the technique used for the larger spoked tsuba but not the smaller examples ? That fact alone is what makes this smaller tsuba so appealing plus the dark colour of the iron and all that determined work of those artisan .

I very much appreciate your comments and your time.

 

Roger D

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Grev, you asked if the vine inlay on the second tsuba was water weed- I have spent time going through the tsuba books I have and can't tell precisely. It certainly seems like it but I can't pick up any elsewhere having six petals (Isuppose they are petals?) .

I just haven't seen anything exactly like this one. Although not big, I particularly like it.

By the way is it OK for me to say here that I like very much Grev's book on the Birmingham Museum's tsuba. Very well done and congratulations.

 

Roger D.

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Hi Roger

I've looked through my records and can't find a good reference, but it is something I've seen before but maybe not six petals.

I still beleive it to be water weeds

I might have a look through my books on 'mon' designs

Tendrils are 'karakusa'

 

I've very glad you like my tsuba book and as an amateur I especially proud of the photos

 

 

Grev

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That's funny! I have your book right on my desktop, & use it for reference all the time, Grev, but had no idea it was you! Great job!

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Regarding your question about different color of brass for vines and leaves, it is the same brass, only different states of polish. If you look at some of the leaves on the borders you'll find that a single leaf is in both shades, a result of more wear on the edge.

 

regards,  John

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The clue was in the name

Of course, but only if you equate "Grev" with "Greville." If you'd put "Grev Cooke," even a slow guy like me would probably have figured it out.  :laughing:

 

Thanks for your work on that, in any case.

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