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Ron STL

Nara fuchi/kashira

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While looking at a fuchi kashira set that I've owed for a number of years, NBTHK to "Nara," I was examining how they were made. Not noticed before, both pieces show deep punching on their backs. This would show they were punched into a mold from the back, something that surprised me. I've enjoyed the motif used on Nara work, often being very "thought provoking" I suppose, but made using repose' technique? Never thought about that before. I only have a very few Nara examples in my collection and only this one set of kinko. I'm wondering if anyone can shine some light on their technique used when producing kinko f/k and menuki. The attached photos pretty well show this almost bold, punching marks on the pieces. 

Ron STL

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Dear Ron.

 

Nice set!  You are correct in that often deep relief carving is done by pushing some of the metal forward from the back, the punch marks that you show.  However there is a difference between punching into a mould and repousse work.  With the former the mould provides the shaping of the piece, with he latter all it gives is raised surfaces to work on.  I have seen images of menuki being worked, if I can find them I will add them.  A scroll through some of Ford's videos will add all that is needed, I'm sure.

 

All the best.

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Technique is called Uchidashi. As Geraint says, the piece is originally punched from the back to give height to the elements on the front, then the front is worked to give detail. No moulds are used.

Here's a video of the technique by the man himself, Ford Hallam.

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The video is impressive, the first time I've seen uchidashi being performed. That was what the Goto artists used I believe. So seeing this used with this fuchi kashira set by the Nara is quite possible. I've always been fascinated by menuki and f/k because of their typically small size and great detail found on them. Thanks for pointing out the Ford video. I haven't thought about his videos for a long time and really need to spend more time with them. Richard, isn't your tsuba iron? 

Ron STL

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Ron,

yes it is (and its actually pretty good stuff - it was folded repeatedly, but I digress).  I don't think I've owned a tsuba formed like this before.

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Best,

rkg

(Richard George)

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Back to the Nara f/k set, does anyone have a good feeling for about when this set would date from? They look to be relatively early, especially the theme we see, but could that be early Edo? Just showing my lack of knowledge when it comes to Nara work outside of the sansaku makers. Ron STL

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