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Bugyotsuji

Old Kanji, on weird Tsuba

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Katana-sized iron Tsuba with unusual sheen metal insert.

This tsuba attracted me simply because it was a little unusual. Unsigned, but it has 5 ancient Kanji on one side of the insert. (Clouds on the reverse?) Chinese style gold zogan decoration around square mimi.

Can anyone decypher/decipher these characters? And what kind of Tsuba is this, I wonder? Some kind of Nanban?

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Mmmm... seal script is closer to what I was imagining at first, Florian. Thanks.

 

The only gold that is obvious Adam is the zogan flecks left on the iron surface. The Hitsu no ana inserts look like patinated Suaka copper rather than Shakudo. (?) Don’t dare to scratch them in any way... the big slab insert looks (at the back where it has rubbed) as I said, like shinchū yellow brass rather than lead.

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Hi Piers,

 

Perhaps the five elements (think Miyamoto Musashi's Book of the Five Rings) in seal script.

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Ah, now that is something to chew on as I head off to my doghouse for the night, George. Thanks! 😊 
「地・水・火・風・空」?

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2 hours ago, Bugyotsuji said:

Mmmm... seal script is closer to what I was imagining at first, Florian. Thanks.

 

The only gold that is obvious Adam is the zogan flecks left on the iron surface. The Hitsu no ana inserts look like patinated Suaka copper rather than Shakudo. (?) Don’t dare to scratch them in any way... the big slab insert looks (at the back where it has rubbed) as I said, like shinchū yellow brass rather than lead.

The reason I asked was because after 1830 it was prohibited to use pure gold on sword fittings but some still required it's presence even if hidden. Many makers are known to have disguised gold under many different finishes to look like anything but gold.

I believe that, if this was documented (which it was)then at some point we must discover just such a set of fittings or tsuba with elements of pure gold that are ”hidden” from us on first inspection.

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