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Bob M.

A series of fittings ( or how not to build a collection )

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This follows on from a posting made in 2007 where the intention was to show various fittings from my collection for comment/criticision.

 

Due to a long running series of personal and business problems , this never progressed beyond a couple of posts - however  , if I can test your patience , I would like to start again.

 

The intention is to post file pictures from across the range , showing the good, bad and indifferent in their current condition . If bettter pictures are requested , I will try to oblige , but this may take a few days.

 

Relevant information about each piece ( where available ) will also be posted , please feel free to add your thoughts...

 

To make a small start -

 

Iron Tsuba signed   Edo ju Umetada Masatsugu  size 6.9 x 6.3 cm  Beautifully shaped  , thinner towards centre , very tactile , design of gingko leaves

 

 

 

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Dear Bob,

 

Lovely Tsuba.  As you may know, Masatsugu worked in the late 1700’s in Kyoto and the surrounding area (including at Fushimi - the famous Inari Shrine in Kyoto).  Your Masatsugu is Haynes H04701.0 and matches the mei and kao in several books (including Sesko’s Signatures of Japanese Sword Fittings Artists - but it should match because it’s your Tsuba on the bottom right of page 227 - right?).

 

In the late 1700’s in Japan, Ginkgo Leaves could have symbolized several different things: Fall, endurance, longevity or the Urasenke School of Tea Ceremony (it is their emblem).  In the case of falling ginkgo leaves like those on your tsuba, endurance and longevity are not likely themes.  While Fall is a possible motif, I believe that your tsuba was probably made for a Samurai who was a member of the Urasenke School of Tea Ceremony.  I reach that conclusion because Masatsugu worked in and around Kyoto (near the headquarters of the Urasenke School), and because I have seen several tea ceremony articles related to Sekiō Sōshitsu (who was the 9th Master of Urasenke during the time your tsuba was made) with this kind of falling ginkgo leaves design (and this is the emblem of the Urasenke School).

 

I love your idea for this thread and am looking forward to seeing more of your collection.

 

 

The following are a couple of photos of tea utensils with falling ginkgo leaves (not necessarily related to Urasenke or Sekiō Sōshitsu) (by the way, one of the Sumo hairstyles is a Chonmage that symbolizes a ginkgo leaf, but I don't think your tsuba symbolizes tumbling Sumo Players...)

 

 

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Hi George ,

 

Thanks for your interest and comments , all useful background . I was unaware of the tsuba being shown in Haynes as you mention . I do not have a copy of the book , would it be possible to post a scan of the relevant page ?

 

 Have also realised that I omitted to say that this tsuba was papered and then published by the NBTHK in the October 2009 magazine.

 

Many Thanks !

 

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Hi Bob,

 

Sorry if I was unclear - only the signature is shown in Sesko's Signatures of Japanese Sword Fittings Artists, but I can tell from the mei and the sekigane that it is your tsuba (on the far right below - hopefully the quality of my scan is good enough for you to see it too).  I've also included the entry for your maker from Haynes' The Index of Japanese Sword Fittings and Associated Artists.

 

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Another small tsuba , shakudo with gold silver and copper inlays. Theme of ' horse from a gourd ' with the wizard Chokaro.

 

Size 6.5 x 6.1cm signed Naokatsu , but which one ? Inagawa / Yanagawa ? Hamano ?

 

Any help with this would be appreciated .

 

Thanks !

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Dear Bob.

 

Sorry to hear that you have been having some difficulties.  I have to say that if these are examples of how not to build a collection then I can't imagine what yo are going to end up with when you start doing it the right way!

 

Thanks for sharing these.

 

All the best.

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Dear Bob,

 

For your second tsuba (Chokaro Sennin), I believe that Inagawa Naokatsu and Yanagawa Naokatsu are the same person, and he almost always signed with a 4 character mei + kao (starting with either Inagawa or Yanagawa).  He uses a lot of different kao including a "Yokoya" style kao (not saying he is from the Yokoya School - just that some of his kao are of that style).  Your tsuba has a "Yokoya" style kao too, but while the kao on your tsuba comes close to a few of Inagawa/Yanagawa Naokatsu's kao, the mei does not match.  Therefore, I think that you can rule out Inagawa/Yanagawa Naokatsu.  The other option that you mentioned, Hamano Naokatsu is fairly rare and the only reference to a sample of his work is in Wakayama's Toso Kinko Jiten W-475-L-4 (which I can't reference at the moment).  Perhaps someone else who has that book can check the mei and kao for you.  Haynes lists 4 other Naokatsu that sign with your kanji, but one of them usually follows his mei with "saku" and another uses a completely different kao (so it wouldn't be those two).  One of them uses a similar kao and can be found in Joly's Shosankenshu n-104 (which I also do not have access to at this time - perhaps someone can check this too).  Based on the three options that you gave, I'd go with Hamano Naokatsu (just have someone confirm the mei in Wakayama).

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Hi Gents,

 

Unfortunately I do not have Wakayama's yet, but I have Joly's and have attached a photo of N 104 for you. 

 

 

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Barrie.

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Thanks for the info. George and Barrie , and yes ,  Geraint I hope to post a number more pieces as long as they appear to be of interest . 

 

From the Jolys  kaos it would appear that my tsuba has a combination of Nos. 103 and 104 ? although I guess closer to 104.

 

Thanks for pretty well confirming the maker . The tsuba is papered by NBTHK to (as far as I can remember)' Naokatsu but not Inagawa ' which is a strange almost non attribution. I do not have the translation of the rest of the paper and this has been confusing me for a  while. I was hoping that someone would take a fresh look at it , without my disclosing the papers , which you have both done - Thanks !

 

Will put up another fitting shortly...

 

Regards

 

 

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Hi Bob,

 

At first, I thought the Kakihan (N 104) was a good match and we had found your man, but then I too realised its not quite the same. Pity. That is why I posted them beside each other..

 

I am not sure if anyone (Haynes for example) found anomalies or or even Gimei contained within Joly's, or maybe there were possibly even minor copying errors ..? Either way, I still reference it from time to time out of curiosity. Anyone have anything more substantial to say about Joly's - as a reference source?

 

Barrie.

 

 

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Dear Barrie and Bob,

To answer Bob's question about why the Shinsa Team said it was Naokatsu "but not Inagawa":  I think it is because Inagawa Naokatsu is probably the best known of this group of Naokatsu, and they wanted to clarify that it was not him.  I think that the Shinsa Team could say that definitively because [I think] they use Wakayama's Toso Kodogu Meiji Taikei  for some mei confirmations and it has eight samples of that Naokatsu's mei and it doesn't appear to match Bob's tsuba.

Like I mentioned before, Hanyes lists 6 Naokatsu that sign using the characters on Bob's tsuba.  In my previous post, I explained why I thought 4 of them were not the maker of Bob's tsuba.  That left 2 possibilities, and after looking at the materials that Barrie kindly provided, I agree that it is probably not Joly 104 either.  That removes the 5th possibility, leaving only Hamano Naokatsu as the possible maker.  As mentioned before and as a double check, someone should compare Bob's tsuba to a known sample of Hamano Naokatsu's mei and kao.  Haynes says there is a sample of his mei in another Wakayama book -  Toso Kinko Jiten (475-L-4).

Because I don't have the other Wakayama book with that sample, I did look up Hamano Naokatsu's teacher (Hamano Naoyuki) in my other Wakayama books.  I found that Naoyuki (Noakatsu's teacher) used a kao that is almost identical to the one on Bob's tsuba.  Therefore, because students often use a kao like their teacher, I am even more convinced that Bob's tsuba was made by Hamano Naokatsu.

 

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Thanks to both of you for your efforts on the Naokatsu  . Seems pretty convincing that it is Hamano , I will amend my records accordingly.

 

Regards

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Continuing the theme of the first tsuba, another iron and gingko example - this also has applied Kanji signs -  possibly for teahouses ?

 

Unsigned , 7.3 x 7.3 cm , not submitted for shinsa.

 

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Next ( No. 4 ) a commission piece by Komai Yoshitaka  , for  Ikebe Shigetsuna , dated April 1870 .

 

This tsuba measures 8.2 x 7.9 cm and is decorated with clouds and dragon theme.

 

NBTHK Hozon papers.

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No.5 Kozuka by Issai Hogen ( Tsuchiya Takechika )

 

Reverse with signature and 2 line inscription in grass script - Help !! Please...

 

 

Ex. Hartman Collection

 

Finely worked fitting from Late Edo period

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Post no. 6 -  iron tsuba , bought as part of an auction lot some years ago.

 

 With floral theme and Tanaka style ? sekigane.

 

Attributable or just pattern book generic ?

 

All comments welcome.

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And post no. 6b - from the same  auction lot as the previous tsuba , eleven cranes in flight - pattern book again ?

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#7 Can ONLY be a Hallam?
Oh my word....that is a beauty. If envy was a crime, I'd be in solitary :glee:

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No 8a - Fuchi Kashira in shibuichi  from the Ichinomiya school , signed Nagatsune with kao. Subject of an Ayu fisherman , with fish swimming towards his net. As he holds the net rope in his mouth , with his right hand  he is putting a fish into the wicker basket at his waist.

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No. 8b Fuchi Kashira signed Ishiguro Masayoshi featuring Gama-sennin and his toad together with another sage , Tekkai ? before having to take the  beggars body ?  Very fine and detailed work - very difficult to photo without a full set-up.

Any ideas about the second sage ?

 

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Nagatsune and Ishiguro, can't judge if soshin but the workmanship is good. Unusual theme.

 

Reveal more, I am most curious what comes next! 

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Dear Bob,

 

Your No. 8b (Masayoshi Fuchigashira) was really a tough one.  Tekka Sennin was a good guess because if Gama Sennin is combined with another Sennin on tosogu, 99.9% of the time it is Tekka Sennin.  In this very rare case, the other Sennin on your fuchi is Chokaro (sometimes Chokwaro) Sennin.  What made it so difficult is that Chokaro Sennin is almost always shown with his main attribute - a white horse/mule coming out of a gourd.  In the case of your fuchigashira, Chokaro Sennin has a yuku or fish drum over his shoulder.  A fish drum is a musical instrument formed from a bamboo tube with one end covered by snakeskin (see the snakeskin cover held on by some gold cord at the bottom right of the photo of your fuchi below?).  Chokaro Sennin is based on the Chinese Immortal Zhang Guo Lao, and in classical Chinese Art, Zhang Guo Lao (Chokaro Sennin) is usually shown with a yuku (fish drum) even though he can also conjure a horse/mule from a gourd.  One of the disciplines of elite Samurai was the study of classic Chinese Art and Literature, so your fuchigashira is a Samurai "flexing" that knowledge.  Is there anything on the other side of the fuchi?

 

 

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Woodcut of Zhang Guo Lao (Chokaro Sennin):

 

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Hi George ,

 

Thanks for your input , once again.

 

Other side of the Masayoshi fuchi as requested

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No.9 - Iron tsuba with gold highlights Bushu Ito school. 7.7 x 7.5 cm x 4mm . Signed Bushu ju Masakatsu.

 

Purchased over 12 years ago from a senior and esteemed board member...

 

Design of Japanese Irises , a precursor of Art Nouveau , this tsuba dates from the second half 17th century (1600s) and is therefore approx. 350 years old.  This information from Haynes #04085.0 ? I do not have the Haynes book .

 In the Markus Sesko Genealogies book , however , page 112 , shows him as a later generation artist.

Can anybody please make some sense of this ?

 

NBTHK papered and published October 2007.

 

 

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Dear Bob,

 

There are 20 artist entries in Haynes for Masakatsu signing with your kanji.  Haynes 04085.0 is one of them, but he is from Karatsu, Sakura and Odawara.  Haynes 04087.0 (who also signs with your kanji) is the only one listed from Bushu, so I think he is your guy.  He worked in the 1800's, and his style and mei matches your tsuba (and he is probably the one you are looking at in Sesko).

 

 

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No. 10  - Sukashi Iron tsuba 7.3 x 7.0 cm of plum blossom and branches . Hayashi School - attributed to Hayashi Matahei , fifth Hayashi Master.

Gold double scroll nunome appears almost completely  intact.

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Hi Bob,

That's rather easy on the eye. You must really be kicking yourself for the way you've gone about this. :)

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