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Preying Mantis Tsuba FS


Nickupero
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Its been a little while I've offered something up for sale here, I'll dive back in with this nice three dimensional Preying Mantis and waterwheel Tsuba. It is actually far more nice in hand and the patina is even and pleasant. The upper wheel is recessed on both Ura and Omote. Also has some nice gold overlays.

 

Measures 8.5cm x 8.5 cm

Offered price for members is $585 plus shipping and PP fees unless another form of payments used. 

 

Thanks for watching!

 

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Morning Nick,

 

Sorry to stick my nose inn,

 

But could the theme of your tsuba be THE PRAYING MANTIS CONFRONTING THE WAGON CART WHEEL?

 

As in courage in THE face of certin death./ steadfast valor in a no win situation?

 

 

If this in any ways annoys any person please delete my post, as I said was retiring from nihonto so my opinion can be disregarded.

 

Kind regards Hamish

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Thanks Hamfish for your input, it is welcome so absolutely no problem with me... Actually I was going to write in my initial posting that I welcome interpretations because I could very well be off, but forgot to do so. I saw the water waves at the base of the tsuba and assumed waterwheel. Anyone else who would like to chime in no problem with me. 

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Wagon wheels of the sort portrayed would come from an ox cart, I think.  This would suggest a personage of high status perhaps escaping from some situation via water - the ferns suggest a river rather than the seaside. The praying mantis??  Dunno - suggestive of some virtue in the face of danger, perhaps?  The tsuba might be alluding to a legend or popular story rather than being a simple pictorial composition.

 

BaZZa.

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Morning Nick,

 

Sorry to stick my nose inn,

 

But could the theme of your tsuba be THE PRAYING MANTIS CONFRONTING THE WAGON CART WHEEL?

 

As in courage in THE face of certin death./ steadfast valor in a no win situation?

 

 

If this in any ways annoys any person please delete my post, as I said was retiring from nihonto so my opinion can be disregarded.

 

Kind regards Hamish

 

“螳臂挡车” in Chinese "蟷螂の斧" in Japanese.. very famous proverb

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Although there is water depicted at the bottom of the tsuba, water wheels on tsuba usually have cups fixed to them. https://www.google.com/search?q=%E9%8D%94%E3%80%80%E6%B0%B4%E8%BB%8A&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=1ET72Z-MwrJzoM%253A%252Cem3gGhb40Fpd1M%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kRLBve7BRq9v6rjFe61s2GsdeQAWw&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiE2dzfvK3pAhXlxIsBHQQcCuUQ9QEwAXoECAoQFg

 

In this case there are two wheels. A wheel is a wheel though, whether for a cart, a chariot or for water. The mantis is in the defensive mitts-up position, sickles at the ready, so whether this is Don Quixote tilting at a windmill, or the mantis defending against any wheel, I guess with all bases covered there is enough poetic license here.  :)

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The subject of wheels and water comes up every now and again. Check out the threads below

 

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/4604-wheels-in-water/

http://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/30038-yodogawa-no-zu/

 

The addition of the praying mantis is a new twist, but yes it seems to be a symbol of bravery (or, conversely, of foolishness). I think in the context of a tsuba it would almost certainly be symbolic of bravery. 

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Nice tsuba. Couple of interesting points. The way the mantis is depicted showing both sides of him, not just mirror images. Even the leg configuration is different.
And the lower wheel is the "front" wheel towards the outside on both sides. So more 3d carving than usual there.
Good luck with the sale.

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The motif is that of a Chinese story from the Daoist Zhuang Zhou (Master Zhuang), which describes a mantis trying to stop the wheel of a passing cart. 

 

The story is in this book:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhuangzi_(book)

it has been posted on this site: 

https://tinyurl.com/yd4eft9c

 

One day, when Lord Zhuang / Juang of the state of Qi / Chyi was heading into the mountains to go hunting, he noticed a small green insect angrily raising its arms as if to do battle with the cart wheel. This piqued the lord’s curiosity, so he asked his driver “What manner of insect is this?”

 
The driver looked at him and replied: “This is a praying mantis. This insect doesn’t advance and doesn’t retreat. It is not aware of its lack of strength and that its enemy is more powerful.”
 
Full of admiration, the lord sighed: “If only this were a human. He would become an invincible warrior!” He then ordered his driver to veer to the side and let the praying mantis be.
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Hi all,

 

I have been slowly trying to catchup on posts but always get distracted and end up not "participating" in real time.

Of course, someone was kind enough to let me know about this one. This is a well known design from the Shoami school (i know of a nbthk papered one). Design could be from early to mid edo, although have seen them labeled as ko shoami and they are repro'ing them currently albeit poorly.. Thank goodness. I can't remember but a museum has one online very similar and also have seen in a book (i think).

 

I do believe this design is a representation of the famous Chinese fable of "mantis vs. Chariot" as Marius mentioned above. For more I refer you to https://www.freewebs.com/kamakiriken/symbolism2.htm

 

All the best,

Ken aka "the mantis dude"

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