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Found a tsuba...


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I'd say yes, definitely shakudo.


The mei appears to suggest that it's by a certain Goto Ichijo....whoever he was 😉.

Judging by the work style, formal, use of nanako and mon, etc. and the obvious similarity to the classical Goto school style Kao it would appear to be/ or emulating an early Ichijo work.

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spacer.pngspacer.png3.55” high x 2.95” wide

0.40” at rim

159 gr.


I’m just... awestruck.  

This beauty’s going to shinsa for sure!

(I think it was the whisker-holes on the dragons’ muzzles—and the way the nanako bends around the mimi—that finally broke my brain...)  While this may be gimei, I keep thinking of Darcy’s article on Ichijo’s unreal ability to work in hyper-miniature.

There a few tiny areas of blunt-force damage to the nanako, but the condition otherwise seems fantastic.  There is heavy grime visible within the centers of the coiled dragons that I’m not about to mess with.

Would love to have you all’s input, and particularly Mr. Ford’s:  Is there any reason NOT to immediately pursue shinsa?  I was thinking that the expense of any restoration work should be delayed until I get positive shinsa results—or would my odds at shinsa be improved by having it restored first?

Thanks guys, off to go breathe into a paper bag...




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  • 6 months later...

Dear Richard.


First to say that I, too, really like the tsuba.  The fact that it came back as gimei is a disappointment, most of all to you but I think all of us love it when a story comes good.  I know that it's easy to speak after the event but if nothing else your post made me really look at the tsuba and particularly at the seppa dai.   The handling of the nanako lacks a certain confidence here, notably around the hitsu ana.  I have been doing a bit of digging and the first thing to say is that the images in my reference library are not as good as yours in many cases.  However in the case of a really good tsuba everything about it is top quality, technically and artistically.  I did find a lot of tsuba where the seppa dai has been defined by a cut border and the nanako runs up to that border.  On tsuba where the cut border does not exist, like yours, the arrangement of the nanako is distinctive and very regular, in most cases it follows the outline of the tsuba in shape and that continues up to the seppa dai where it meets it continuing in that pattern. Once again in most cases the edge of the hitsu are within the seppa dai, where they are not the nanako continues in the same pattern as the rest of the tsuba.  I have so for found one other like yours with a straight line of nanako toward the centre of the tsuba bordering the hitsu rather than the overall pattern but even here the regularity is pronounced.


Not sure if this is just the result of your very revealing close ups but at least it set me thinking.


All the best.

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