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roger dundas

Tanto Tsuba- Small Assortment

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Here are four tanto tsuba - nothing exciting but for me, a representative few. They didn't cost much individually but my good friend who appears on this NMB and only bothers with very good quality Nihonto questions whether a good bottle of whisky mightn't be a better deal  than one of these ? Obviously he has a point.

I haven't included measurements but 6cm is the largest diameter amongst them.

 

Roger j

Tanto 1.JPG

Tanto 2.JPG

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Second from the left may be cut down from a larger tsuba? Interesting and odd...

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You beat me to it Brian, I was going to say the same thing. But why not? If you had a larger guard laying about why not modify to fit. [Wonder what the small hole was for?] The first Ho-ho one is a rather too common 'Mino' ? type, I have seen perhaps twenty just like it. Even Mauro's Rabbit in the waves is a very common design, and why not, it is a great design and much coveted.

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Thank you all, Robert, Grev, Mauro, Brian, Dale and Florian for your responses. Starting with Robert and Grev and the whisky reference and just what to collect- it is an issue we all face which is where do we draw the lines in our collecting. I set out just wanting a few old tsuba of reasonably good quality as a small sample, not wanting to outlay much money but the darn things pop up every now and again to draw you in.  Mind you if I was younger and earning good money I would just love to collect some of the great pieces (but I suppose they are rarely if ever available to the hoi polloi ?). Something similar to what we see in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts et al.

Good to see Mauro's lot for comparison noticing that they don't show signs (or do they?) of multiple mountings to different tanto  wheras the few I have do show signs of use on different tanto. Re the possibility of a larger tsuba being cut down as Brian and Dale noted had also crossed my mind and the large aperture/hitsu to accommodate a large kozuka on this tsuba I presume takes it's history back somewhat ? Is the small hole on this tsuba for the use of a tether or is the hole too small ? And love your examples Florian.

So, collecting tanto tsuba can be O.K.

 

Roger j

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Further to Spartancrest/Dale's remark about the Mino type Ho-Ho bird in the original post -  I didn't know they were so often found although there was one for sale here early in the year. My eyesight isn't what it could be but I thought my example above had more care taken with it's finish and the nanako appeared finely and regularly done ?

I have no other shakudo tsuba or any other with nanako and just got this one for a less costly example.

Probably like most here, I see the best examples as wonderful works of patience and care- one slip and the artisan/artist has to wonder "how can I get around this ?"

Or maybe not? Possibly they never slipped up which makes them more astonishing.

 

Roger j

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Hi Roger I dug up some images of the Phoenix tanto - from what I could find they are all described as being Shakudo. The pictures are not very high resolution and frankly some were out of focus when they were first displayed [so not my fault ]. While they are very close in design they look hand finished and the quality varies. Sorry I couldn't find better images. In my opinion your example is much better than those I have seen.

tanto trouble.jpg

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