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Spartancrest

New book on Tosogu designs

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I have just put out a 'new' book updating and refreshing an 1850s design book of metal carving patterns, mainly for sword fittings. Two versions will be available, the first is printed on gloss paper through Blurb -  https://www.blurb.com/b/10516296-album-of-designs-for-metal-carving-ch-sen-gafu-de 

The second will soon be available through other book outlets like Amazon, Abebooks etc. on matte paper at a cheaper price. 

Text is limited to a few pages in the original Japanese with approx. 150 pages of multiple illustrations in colour.

The book is called "Chōsen Gafu" Album of Designs for Metal Carvers by Ranzan Tsuneyuki. The original is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a scrap book collection of designs compiled over a number of years, the images have been cleaned up and enhanced with many of the smaller designs enlarged for better clarity, so it is not a facsimilie copy and is aimed at showing the designs to their best effect.

I hope the book finds a good audience.

 

View "Album of Designs for Metal Carving (Chōsen Gafu)" by Ranzan Tsuneyuki

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As someone who has used this collection, in a number of ways professionally, I would encourage members to get a copy and to become familiar with the designs. Some are in fact ink rubbings taken from actual pieces, some even very important works by major names.

A particularly fine Yokoya Somin shishi in katakiri, for example, is shown as a rubbing and in that reveals more than most photos of the piece.

The mei is also more clearly illustrated this way than most photographs in the standard reference books too, so that's a bonus.

 

Additionally what we can easily realise when studying a large collection of images of designs as they would have been available to period carvers us that notions of school based on subject or theme become less certain if everyone had access to the same design sources.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sounds fantastic. Can you post a few sample pages...maybe with watermark if you like?
I know there are a few example pages at the link, but some might find it easier to see them here. Definitely one for the library.

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Being familiar with both this book in it's original state and a lot of Dale's previous work, I'm truly excited to get this in the mail!

 

Without throwing Dale "under the bus" I know he has photo examples of pieces that very faithfully have these designs executed upon them. He may have posted these examples here previously?

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Thank you Ford and Brian, I received a proof copy of the book only yesterday in  matte paper format and found it was printed very well and about fifty dollars cheaper than the 'Deluxe gloss' version [which I can't afford!] As the original was compiled on fine rice paper glued in some cases into the 'scrapbook' the matte is in my opinion closer to the original, but at least there are options. The matte will take a little time to get listed on the book sites [usually up to six weeks] but the gloss is available now from Blurb. Now I am happy to arrange any matte format book direct from the printer now, but if people could hold off for a while Blurb run special discounts from time to time like 40% off or free shipping so when this happens the book would be much cheaper - I don't like the middlemen making all the profit! My intention is to make information available to everyone as cheaply as possible, not make money. I am hoping there will be a special offer to mark the beginning of the new year and will keep you posted. 

As an example a softcover gloss would cost $63 US. plus postage, a hardcover $78 - the matte $13 and $23 plus postage.  That is a big cost difference in my opinion for little gain.

 

Stephen has got in early and his book is a few suburbs away from his lap as we speak,  I do have some images of the finished pieces from the book but hope as Ford has pointed out other members of NMB can track down other finished or original examples and compare.

'Throwing Stephen under the bus'  he has copied a few pages of the original book and sold framed reprints with some success! :glee::glee:

sheet 8 - 50per.jpg

sheet 7 -50 per.jpg

sheet 12 -50 per.jpg

pic 1.jpg

pic 2.jpg

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Well done Dale.  My God, what dedication, what enthusiasm, an exemplar for us all.

 

Browsing through the pages on the link I was thrown back 40 years when I saw this image of Daruma. At that time my Dear Departed mate Laurie Allen had a pair of menuki signed on the back of one SHOZUI.  One was in the style of the image.  They were solid pieces completely infilled.  Sadly I don't have any photos, but I recall we assumed they were gimei, though very nicely done.  I've no idea what happened to them, perhaps a reader here might have them in his/her collection.

 

1706273484_Daruma-cropfromDalesbook.jpg.3c6af4ed3596070718ce70d6ebf36381.jpg

 

So that lead on a "curiosity" search for SHOZUI's work.  Anyone interested in following up can go here:

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=shozui+hamano

 

Interestingly the British Museum's link also notes that SHOZUI made small blades (???).  Surely these would have been kozuka blades in, say, solid gold???, rather than tanto as we might read the comment.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/term/BIOG1411

"Maker of short blades and sword furniture, pupil of the renowned Toshinaga of Nara."

 

BaZZa.

PS: I've already seen the online offer for 35% off a first book purchase from Blurb, but it wouldn't work for me and the connection just "hung"...

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1 hour ago, Spartancrest said:

 

Stephen has got in early and his book is a few suburbs away from his lap as we speak,  I do have some images of the finished pieces from the book but hope as Ford has pointed out other members of NMB can track down other finished or original examples and compare.

'Throwing Stephen under the bus'  he has copied a few pages of the original book and sold framed reprints with some success! :glee::glee:

Book has just arrived, well worth the wait and then some! My wife is looking through it right now. Believe me when I say that this is unusual and special.

 

Yes, I have sold some framed prints of selected images, I wouldn't recommend flooding the market, but at auction they got what I would call top dollar (there is every chance someone just wanted the frames), at local markets they have also proved popular.

Bazza, the site is also linked on the Facebook Tsuba collectors page, so maybe there is a bit of traffic from there at the moment?

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There is a good possibility the matching tsuba to the fuchi in the above post is seen on page 36 of the new book. There are so many images even having spent weeks working on the images you can miss things!   Happy New Year everyone! :thumbsup:

image.thumb.png.a32d942d197fedf7481f4581dc39c03e.png

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Thank you Peter - my only regret is that the original book didn't give attributions to each image - even in Japanese, it would have made the search for finished pieces easier. Perhaps given enough time we can assemble a book of the final pieces produced, or those that inspired the designs, though as Ford has pointed out that may be a very thick book!:o

My friend Stephen King [W.A.] pointed out, when I told him of another book I am working on, Utsushi comparisons - "the book would never end!" He is certainly correct as I am finding out! :bang:

PS. I sent him five utsushi links and images, [very close] to a guard he won on eBay last night- took me 15min 

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Thanks for the post Dale.  I just bought your two books on tsuba in the Metropolitan museum when looking at this one!  

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Following the link I saw that there were two volumes of the NY Met tsuba collection for sale at this site.  I looked at the preview and it showed pics of tsuba with a full  description, so I bought Volume 1.  I am totally disappointed with it as the majority of entries are like the one attached, just a list of the metal and size of the tsuba plus who donated it.  Like many of the tsuba, the ones pictured are signed, but no translation of the signature is given.  The photos are of such poor quality that the signatures cannot be read.  Without even a tentative identification of the school, artist and subject it is just a picture book as far as I am concerned and little use in furthering my knowledge.

 

Sorry to be so hard, but at £50 I expected a more scholarly book.

 

Best regards, John

NY Met.JPG

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Sorry to hear that John.  I haven't received mine yet, but I do agree that the author should have put some work into identifying schools and makers.  

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I bought both volumes a while back and have the same complaint. Perhaps a digital supplement could be created and distributed.  I think all the information is available at the Met, and Markus Sesko may have been collating this information. It would also be nice to have materials and measurements.

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John B. and Darrel L.  I am very aware of the short comings of the Met book - however if you are looking for more information from the Met site - good luck , there is not much there. As to the cost - that is totally out of my control, if you think I receive more than a few cents for each book I sell, you are mistaken! As for clarity of image, better quality printing was available but would you have paid three times the price? As for scholarly work, one thing I have taken away from this site is that scholars all have different opinions and often get it wrong - so it was a conscious decision to only use the Museums information as much as possible, thereby you may argue with the museum if you like [ once again , good luck ]. Unlike Markus I can't just drop in on the Met and ask for any additional titbit as I live on the opposite side of the planet.

On 1/4/2021 at 6:28 AM, 1kinko said:

It would also be nice to have materials and measurements.

If you check you will find measurements and materials are listed - just zoom in on John B.'s posted picture.

Please feel free to do your own version at any time, the images and information I used are all in the public domain [hence the title]. 

Ps. Make sure you don't include any images or information not in the public domain or their lawyers will come down on you like a ton of bricks!

 

Added : Taken from the preface Vol 1.    -  "Though a number are described in detail, a large proportion have only basic information relating to their dimensions, their providence or the donors who gifted them to the Museum." - If in doubt  - read!

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I think you did a great job given what you had available.
To try and make this a kantei book or school id book would have meant this becoming a several hundred $ book and likely taken years to finish. It's a pity dimensions aren't taken more seriously by the museum, but it  is what it is. Thanks for your efforts.

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Thank you Brian, you are correct, even just compiling what I have, takes time [lots] adding full information even if accurate would take years - why do you think the Museums don't do it very well, because they can't afford the time. Seriously I do wish others [who have the time] would put pen to paper and do their own books, think of all that information in members heads that just disappears when people pass on. What a waste. Believe me it really isn't that hard - just start!  [ I know it is now 'finger to keyboard' but it doesn't have the same ring to it. ]

 

I did check and in order to get better print quality I am constrained by the number of pages that Blurb and others will print in one volume, so that I would need three volumes for the Met book, with all the extra costs handed on to the buyer that that entails. 

 

Could I say to those who have already bough a copy of the design book - thank you, but why? - you must have more money than sense when a cheaper version will be available!

Maybe it's just my pensioner mentality, but every cent counts.:o

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Dale, my highest respect for your non commercial labor. Keep on going...

 

Best

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I got the two volumes of the NY Met tsuba and it is a great picture database to me. All initiative consisting in gathering pictures of tosogu is more than welcome (by the way I collect old auction catalogues which some time are not very clever in descriptions) . My dream would consist in having with an Artificial Intelligence system   , picture comparison betwen my tsuba and a golden source (NBTHK?) ...

 

Dale, you contribution is a key milestone. Thank you !

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Bruno that is a fantastic dream, I do hope it can happen sometime not too far away. I think Google image was supposed to do something like that, but it fails terribly, how many people have tried 'dropping' an image of a tsuba and getting picture feedback of belt buckles, badges or buttons! A picture data base was the aim of the Met books and the design book for that matter - it is a technical problem to index images in a useful way - goodness we humans have enough trouble comparing images by eye as it is ! :freak:

Peter, thank you, my book sales keep me in the poverty I have grown accustom to. [ It is a hobby that keeps me home, and not down the pub - which is convenient because I don't drink anyway - win win!]

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No worries, Dale, I'm sure that I will be pleased with it.   I will just have to scribble my own translations or kantei into the books and make them living documents in my library.  I look forward to receiving them.  

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Bob that is a great idea actually, I should have included some ruled pages for added notes, I will keep it in mind for any other books. :thumbsup:

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The design book 'Chosen Gafu' has just been listed on Amazon - I am amazed that the cost is only three dollars US. more expensive than what I have to pay [soft cover].The cost of shipping is a major factor and no doubt varies from country to country. Amazon's Free shipping is a big incentive for those living in the US. , I will keep checking for 'deals' from Blurb and let you know when they occur.

 

https://www.amazon.com.au/s?k=chosen+gafu+book&i=stripbooks&dc&ref=a9_asc_1

 

https://www.amazon.com/Album-Designs-Metal-Carving-Chōsen/dp/1034179020/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1610007658&sr=1-1

 

Checking back on Amazon US. there is a twenty dollar shipping component for overseas buyers - which does change things. If you want a copy of the book at cost straight from the printer Blurb. [ I am not making any money from this ] I would suggest you give me a personal message with your postal address and I can give you the cheapest option, here in Australia I am stuck with priority =AUD $48.99 or express =AUD $32.99 postage, yet if I ordered for say a Canadian address shipping is only  AUD $15.99 ? And a US. address from as little as AUD $5.99  Does that seem fair? These prices [as in the attachment ] are for the matte book softcover only. Hard cover is slightly more. A lot cheaper than through the book dealers.

Hard cover
Items    US $22.79
Shipping    US $3.99
Tax    US $1.42
Total    US $28.20

 

 

 

 

book price example.jpg

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Blurb are running a 40% off deal on 4 Photo books, or 35% on 3 Photo books until the 22nd of January for those interested.

Codes are  STACKUP40  and   STACKUP35

Not ideal as you need to buy 3 or 4 books but if people can get together for a bulk buy, that's the way to do it. [This is for the 'Deluxe' gloss paper book]

 https://www.blurb.com/b/10516296-album-of-designs-for-metal-carving-ch-sen-gafu-de  

I will let you know of any other deals going as they occur.

Regards.

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