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


Bob M.
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Hi Bob, for Item 75, the kashira is signed Miboku which is one of the Go (art names) of Shozui H08803.3 a very famous maker (the "4th" member of the Nara Sansaku).  Your fuchi is signed Masatomo H 04573.0 from the Tsuji family.  Shozui worked in the early 1700s and Masatomo worked in 1800-50.  Therefore, it appears that your kashira (by Shozui) got separated from its original fuchi, so someone commissioned Masatomo to make a matching fuchi.  That probably explains the subtle differences in the work, and the famous maker (Shozui) probably explains the impressive provenance. 

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Item No .76 - Iron Tsuba With gold highlights   6.97 cm x 6.78 cm x 0.46 cm

 

Subject of Autumn . Gingko , oak , pine and maple - are these the ' four friends of autumn ' or something similar ? Unsigned , reasonable quality version of a popular design.

 

Bought from a USA seller 18 years ago.

 

Item No. 77 - Brass Tsuba with gilt detailing and shakudo plugs   6.86 cm x 6.68 cm x 0.48 cm

 

Linear ground effect with three dragon roundels or medallions  signed Yasutaka

 

Ex Edward Wrangham collection

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Item No .78 -  Tsuba in copper with silver and shakudo inlay   8.26 cm x 7.94 cm x 0.48 cm on plain , 0.80 cm over inlays.

 

Subject of autumn pine cones and grasses ?? on a textured field. Thought to be Shoami school around the 1780's .

 

Heavy and substantial piece - any better interpretations of the theme ?

 

The ' stippling ' of the background is nicely done , giving a fine overall texture . Nicely detailed inlays with some silver leaves included for effect on the shakudo ' grasses '.

 

Item No. 79 - Iron tsuba with gold detailing - 7.28 cm x 7.00 cm x 0.48 cm 

 

Subject of dragon in full flame - signed in script

 

Quite an involved pattern , with lots of gold lining and emphasis . Any suggestions please as to maker and period ?

 

A tsuba that rewards looking at repeatedly...

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Hi Geraint ,

 

Yes , thanks for that - I had wondered if it might be Jakushi ,but something about it , or more probably , me over complicating what I was seeing , made me want to ask for opinions.

 

Much appreciated

 

Regards

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Item No. 80 - Iron tsuba with shibuichi and gold - 8.05 cm x 7.38 cm x 0.38 cm

 

Subject of pine tree , stream and moon , made approx. ten years ago by Ford Hallam

 

A strong , stately pine tree partially depicted with branches and needles . The plugs shaded to represent the moon , reflected in the calmly flowing water .

 

Overall a contemplative piece , with a quiet , soothing feel that evokes a similar response from the viewer , especially when held in hand.

 

This tsuba was the first entered into the annual NBSK competition to win gold for a non-Japanese maker.

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Item No. 81 - Iron Tsuba - 7.61 cm x 7.35 cm x 0.46 cm

 

Mumei Iron sukashi tsuba with a view of the front of a shrine with gate

 

NBTHK Tokubetsu Kicho papers  to Owari School

 

Item No. 82 - Iron Tsuba - 7.22 cm x 6.93 cm x 0.57 cm

 

Mumei Iron sukashi tsuba , Hachi Mokko Gata ? with eight interconnected circles

 

Nice , crisp design with lovely deep , oily patina

 

Have seen similar pieces attributed by NBTHK to Haruta school from Echizen. Apparently they were a family of armourers who made occasional sword fittings.

 

 

 

 

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Item No. 83 - Tsuba in Shakudo   7.60cm x 7.11cm x 0.59 cm at centre , 0.38 cm on rim

 

Repeating punched pattern on heavy shakudo plate , signed Goto Koju.

 

Good quality workmanship , as you would expect from this school , with all punchmarks in nigh-on perfect alignment.

 

Bought direct from Japan , 10 years ago.

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Wonderful and mesmerizing. See how prefect the shapes follow the center line and the position at 90¯

The condition and surface wow. One I'd like to see in hand along side your other tsuba etc

This is one post I  do not want to see ending

 

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Dear Bob, Item #83 is signed "Goto Mitsutoshi" using the kanji used by Goto Tsujo (perhaps "Koju" is a typo?).  He lived 1663-1721 and was the 11th Mainline Master.  Some of the kanji and sosho look right.  The kakihan is generally the right shape, but does not closely match anything in Wakayama. 

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Hi George ,

 

Many thanks for your response - This would explain why I have additional info. about another tsuba , auctioned a few years after I got this one, stating signed Goto Mitsutoshi + Kao.

 

Unfortunately it is impossible to compare signatures etc. as the resolution is too bad. Haynes H 5483 is also mentioned. My tsuba actually came from Aoi Art , and it is their description that I was using.

 

Regards

 

 

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Dear Bob, on Item #83, I'm sure that this is supposed to be Goto Tsujo.  I understand that Aoi is somewhat famous for clerical errors, and I don't know of a Goto Koju (maybe some of the Goto experts can assist here...)  I've attached the Haynes entry for H5483 and you'll see that the kao is nothing alike, so I don't think that applies.  Haynes has some other artists who signed Goto Mitsutoshi, but they used different kanji.  Goto Tsujo used different names and even different kanji for signing Mitsutoshi, but he also used the ones on your tsuba.  Most Japanese sources read that Tsujo kanji combination as "Mitsutoshi" but there is some scholarship that says that the Goto called him "Mitsunobu" instead of "Mitsutoshi" (Haynes does not adopt that reading).  I've attached some of the mei and kao from Sesko (who does read it as Mitsunobu).  Notice he has the same sosho for "Goto" and the same kanji for "Mitsunobu" (Mitsutoshi) as on your tsuba.  Also notice that in one of the actual mei examples (circled), Tsujo omits the lower left Mitsu "leg" just like the mei on your tsuba (that's rare).  Finally, your photos are hazy in the area of the kao so it's a little hard to compare, but I think that you will find that one of the circled kao fit your signature.  Please let us know what you think in hand.

 

  

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NOT YOURS:

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Hi George , 

 

Many thanks for your work on this - you mentioned that the views of the kao were out of focus. I have taken a number of extra shots and this is the best of them , taken at a higher resolution - hopefully a bit clearer.

 

Regards

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Quote

Have seen similar pieces attributed by NBTHK to Haruta school from Echizen.

Item No. 82: here below two tsuba with the same pattern papered as Akao and Akita-Shōami (just two more opinions on attributing a non-typical tsuba).

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Re Item No. 83

 

Is there sufficent similarity when the high resolution is viewed , to assign a known artist to the kao ?

 

Does having a different kao necessarily take away from the authenticity of the tsuba ? - and if so are we putting a kao above the evidence of the workmanship ?

 

Just a few thoughts , and after all there has to be a first time for everything , even Japanese art signatures / kao.

 

 

 

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I would think workmanship first... especially because there was so much "borrowing"/copying of designs between schools.

I also know that many sword makers used surrogates to sign their pieces... maybe it was too much of a "waste of time" to chisel their name onto their own work so they often had someone else do it.

There's no reason to think that this wasn't also true for tsuba makers... especially when they needed to produce them in quantity?  

 

Regardless, 81 is a really nice piece.

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Dear Bob,

 

With reference to Item #83, Goto Tsujo changed his mei and kao many times over his lifetime.  Many of the other Goto kao are very similar.  As mentioned before, I've seen daisho tsuba with significantly different signatures, so I don't believe that every small difference makes it gemei.  Here's another tsuba that has the same design as yours and the same mei and kao (but your is MUCH higher quality).

 


 

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Item No. 84  Iron Tsuba with brass inlay   7.68 cm dia. x 0.50 cm

 

Attributed as Ko-Shoami  mitsudomoe design with vines and tendrils , early 17th cent.

 

Nicely made iron tsuba , in good order with all inlay complete.

 

Acquired at auction over nine years ago.

 

Ex Clarence McKenzie Lewis Collection

 

Item No. 85  Iron Tsuba with pewter ? inlays and gold decoration  8.32 cm x 7.85 cm x 0.46 cm

 

Iron tsuba with a total of eight different scenes on inset plaques thought to be pewter , possibly illustrating part of the tales of Genji . Ichijo School.

 

NTHK papered.

 

Smooth , well worked iron tsuba , very tactile . The piece shows a few signs of having been mounted at some point . 

 

I have seen a number of these plaques in the past , mainly with tsuba , but these are the freshest that I recall. I think that they are little stampings ( rather than carvings ) which were produced in sets , but these were probably made when the stamps were new and still retained their original fine detail.

 

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Item No. 85: the subject is possibly 近江八景 - Ōmi hakkei, i.e. Eight Views of Ōmi. According to tradition, Regent Konoe Masaie and his son Hisamichi, while visiting Ōmi province near Kyōto, wrote eight waka poems describing famous scenes around the western shore of Lake Biwa.

 

BTW, item No. 84 was assigned as ko-Shōami by a kanteisho? I'd rather say Heianjō-zōgan...

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Hi Mauro ,

 

Re Item No. 85

 

I am sure you are correct about the scenes being Lake Biwa - you have reminded me that I did a little research when I first bought the tsuba , about 15 years ago , and Lake Biwa was mentioned then . I had completely forgotten about it .

 

Re Item No. 84

 

Ko-Shoami was the attribution given by the auction house at the time ( it was part of a larger lot ) . Heianjo would perhaps suit better...

 

Thanks for your comments !

 

 

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This is long past due, but I'm new here so have been slowly pouring through this fantastic thread.

I'm really enjoying the diversity of your collection Bob, thanks for sharing it.

 

#35 on page 6 is most likely Umetada. Although someone already suggested that, here's some evidence to back it up:

This is  a quote from Haynes & Long referring to the different branches of the Umetada school: 

"BANSHU (Harima) branch school: Working here are Muneyoshi, Shigeyoshi, Yoshihisa, Yoshitsugu, and Yoshitada. Some are related to the Kyoto artists of the same name."

 

I have a few examples of Umetada Shigeyoshi tsuba in my images if you're interested. 

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And #60 on page 9 has similarities to some Echizen ju Kinai pics I have, although none of my examples have the depression in the middle like yours does. But otherwise, thick, smooth plate with deeply incised or stamped floral and plant leaf motifs with some gold inlays for "show".

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Item No. 86 - Set for Daisho pair in mixed metals

 

Related themes on a recently mounted set of fittings by Ford Hallam

 

These were made approx 18years ago as a commission for a U.K. collector and show themes or associated subjects such as tiger and bamboo , dragon and rain ,the chinese ' four gentlemen ' , autumn leaves etc.

 

I will post some additional views of the fittings seperately , also of the box.

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