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


Bob M.
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I'm glad I could help in some small way Bob.

Those videos from Ford Hallam are such an inspiration. Thank you for having them produced and commissioning those magnificent tsuba from Ford.

In light of this info about what you've got, I can't even imagine all the gems that are going to grace this thread as time goes on.... I'm looking forward to them all!

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Nice to know you commissioned this 'tiger' tsuba. I though it would be a Russian Oligarch 

Ditto to all the previous comments - The video must have been viewed so many times

I think it was also an inspiration to all the new tsuba makers

 

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Thanks to everyone for their kind comments -  I will try to keep this thread going with hopefully a few pleasant surprises along the way...

 

Bob S - for my sins , yes,  I do own the tsubas in the Hallam videos .Your question has prompted a thought - How would it be if at the end of this thread , ( admittedly some way in the future ), pictures of groups of fittings were posted together for ease of comparison / study?

 

I am thinking of subjects such as Tigers , Shoki and Oni , Iris , birds etc , or maybe grouped by artist / school .

 

Everybody , please let me know what you think and any themes arising...

 

Grev , I think you must be referring to my alter ego , Bob the Terrible , he and I don't really speak much these days.

 

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Dear Bob,

 

The grouping at the end sounds like a fabulous idea and would be very education for all of us.  Personally, I'd love to see the Hallam grouping - I understand that it shows his development over his entire career.  I'd also like to see some of the bigger names that you have grouped together, so we can compare and contrast.  Thanks again for sharing your collection.

 

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Ummm, my vote is for both Bob :) 

schools first as a nice way to ground all the pieces in some context, then comparisons by themes (to see the range of how different smiths and schools tackle the same subject).

You could be at this for the rest of the year... hopefully :thumbsup:

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Anyway , back to the work in hand - 

 

Item No. 90 Iron Tsuba in kakugata shape   7.12 cm x 7.00 cm x 0.46 cm

 

Raimon ? Sukashi signed indistinctly Kofu ju Masatomo + kao

 

Simple almost austere design , competently handled . Can Haynes or Wakayama throw any light on to which school / generation this Masatomo belongs to ?

 

Purchased from Japan 9 years ago.

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Hi Bob, Haynes has several Masatomo signing with those kanji.  By process of elimination, it looks like yours is H 04556.0.  He worked in Edo in the mid 1700's.  Unfortunately I don't have the reference that Haynes refers to in order to confirm with the mei - it's SCE. W-368-U-6, perhaps someone else who has that reference can confirm?

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Hi George ,

 

Many thanks for that - in Genealogies , there is a Masatomo shown as part of the early Bushu-Ito school . Is this possibly the same artist ?

 

Regards

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Hi Bob, I think the Masatomo from Genealogies that you are referring to is Hanes 04551 (Family Ito; who worked from 1800-25).  I don't have his signature but I do have his kakihan and it is not like the one on your tsuba at all.  In addition, I believe that he usually signed "Bushu Ju" and not "Kofu Ju".  As you may know, Bushu is another name for the Musashi Province and Edo (the old name for Tokyo) is in that province, so technically speaking someone who lived in Kofu could also say they lived in Bushu, but most of these guys were consistent in using one or the other.  Therefore, I don't think the Masatomo from Genealogies that you mentioned is the maker of your tsuba.  As a side note, some folks read Kofu as Efu, but I think I remember Steve teaching us that Kofu is correct (even though many Japanese dealers say Efu...)  Hopefully someone who has the other Wakayama set (W-368-U-6) will check the mei for a match to let us know if it is Haynes 04556.

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Item No. 91  Iron Sukashi Tsuba with Shakudo liners  7.17 cm x 6.93 cm x 0.50 cm

 

Akasaka tsuba with theme of Chrysanthemums both in background and foreground . Hitsu-ana both lined with Shakudo.

 

A classic Akasaka design , probably dating from late 18th cent. Mumei.

 

NBTHK Hozon papers.

 

Bought direct from Japan eight years ago.

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Just to say that I am taking a short break from posting to this thread - will be back to normal in a week or so...

 

Thanks for all the interest !

 

Regards

Bob

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  • 2 weeks later...

Item No. 92 - Iron Tsuba 7.22cm x 7.12 cm x 0.50 cm

 

Almost circular Sukashi tsuba with theme of waterwheels

 

 Any suggestions re school ? late 18th cent. ? 

 

Recent Acquisition.

 

Item No. 93  - Iron Mokkogata Tsuba with inlays of pale gold ? and silver - sahari ? 9.22 cm x 8.31 cm x 0.58 cm

 

Heavy tsuba with inlays of Mullein / Verbascum ? in what looks like pale gold and also silver - maybe Sahari but without any ' blowholes '

 

Very fine detailing for the subject and materials used - very few losses . Nicely worked raised rim . No indication of age or school , showing evidence of multiple mountings.

 

Part of an auction lot about 4 years ago

 

 

 

 

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Item No. 94  -  Iron Tsuba   64.0 cm x 53.5 cm x 0.45 cm

 

Iron sukashi tsuba for tanto - evidence of being mounted on numerous occasions

 

Has a ' feel ' of a 17th cent. piece

 

Item No. 95 - Iron Tsuba   9.21 cm x 8.83 cm x 0.35 cm

 

One piece iron tsuba thin plate but heavy because of large size. Signed - Yatsuhiro Third Generation Jingo Made

 

This tsuba is made from a single piece of iron with the dimension at the centre the same as the mimi. The metal has been carved away in order to allow the mimi to stand proud , rather than forging a lip on the edge . Quality piece of work as you would expect from the adopted head of the family . 

 

Haynes 02039.0 name - Nagayoshi ( 1691 - 1777 )  NBTHK papered

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Item No. 96 - Iron Tsuba with gold, shakudo , copper and silver   8.30 cm x 8.70 cm x 0.38 cm

 

Subject of bat in moonlight with cutout details of clouds and fog , plants and grasses to front and rear - mumei

 

Unusual Octagonal shape with lots of detail . Thought to be late 18th cent.

 

Bought nearly twenty years ago from a European Collection

 

Item No. 97 - Iron Tsuba  6.56 cm x 6.04 cm x 0.51 cm

 

Subject of bat in clouds ?

 

Am I just being fanciful  , or does the lower cutout represent a bat ?

 

 

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Item No. 98  Iron Tsuba with gold and silver  10.82 cm ( upright ) , 8.96 cm ( on square ) x 0.42 cm thick

 

Subject of war fan ,conch shell and dandelion ? signed Tanshu ju Sadamasa possibly dates back to late 1600's.

 

A large square  Tsuba , showing evidence of mounting several times , in good condition for its age

 

Acquired eight years ago.

 

Item No. 99 Iron Daisho pair  7.10 cm x 0.55 cm & 6.50 cm x 0.52 cm

 

19th century ? Subject ? 

 

A plain iron pair of tsuba , have been mounted at some point , would the shape have been designed to trap an opponents blade ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 8/3/2021 at 4:02 PM, Bob M. said:

Aw shucks , George...

 

and Barry...

Late join, as I've been distracted for a bit.

Yes, that video is a work of art itself.

 

      My introduction to tsuba was 1989 at the apartment of a collector. He set up a small film projector and we watched a reel of film about Yonemitsu making one of his Hayashi Matashichi inspired mon tsuba with extensive Higo Zogan. From the film quality and techniques, I would guess it to have been early 1960s.

 

Forward about 50 years and your Katsuhira video sets up the West gate to quite a journey.

It is a great companion and yet contrast to the Yonemitsu video.

The two videos create quite the story arc.

 

 

 

 

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Item No. 100  -  Tsuba in Shakudo with gold , silver , copper and shakudo highlights  7.44 cm x 7.03 cm x 0.48 cm

 

Tsuba from the Haruaki School , with Jurojin seated beside a crane and deer , crane and fledgling on reverse . Signed Hogen Haruaki with gold cartouche and seal. Fine nanako ground.

 

Tsuba from the Masters of Detail - Haruaki School - with almost microscopic features and a nicely applied nanako field which continues over the mimi.

 

19th Cent.  Acquired about eight years ago.

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Dear Bob, on item 100, Wakayama has about 40 examples of Haruaki Hogen's mei, and all but one are in that order (Haruaki and then Hogen).  However, yours has Hogen first (before Haruaki), and Wakayama says that in not typical and Haruaki only used that mei order for a limited time during the middle of his life "sonenki" (born 1787 - died 1857; he was granted the Hogen title around 40 years of age).

 

On item 98 (the tsuba with the war fan, conch shell and "dandelion"), both the war fan (gunbai) and conch shell (horagai or jinkai) were both used for signaling on the battlefield (the gunbai is also used in Sumo for signaling the winner).  I am sure that there is some deeper meaning and symbolism or wordplay going on, but it is escaping me.  While the plant does look like a dandelion (tampopo), I think it might be a different flower.  Hopefully someone else can figure out the meaning of this tsuba (I'll bet it is interesting....)

 

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Re Item No. 100

 

Hi George , 

 

Thanks for your comments - perhaps the temporary reversal in the mei would tend to point away from a school piece and towards the tsuba being made by the master around the 1820 - 1830's ?

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Dear Bob, I'd agree.  If one of his many students were allowed to use his mei, I think that they would do it in the later, more common style (not the reverse order on your tsuba).  I think that the same logic would apply to any forger making copies, so I think that it would probably point to yours being by Haruaki during that time period.

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Item No. 101 - Iron Tsuba with brass and gold   6.17 cm x 5.61 cm x 0.45 cm

 

Tanto sized tsuba with subject of Heron and water margins , signed with inlaid kao

 

Unusually shaped tsuba for a small blade - any help or suggestions with the age, signature and kao would be appreciated.

 

Item No. 102 - Iron Sukashi Tsuba   7.43 cm x 7.30 cm x 0.62 cm

 

Subject of Plum tree - attributed as Akasaka Ume no ki 

 

Nice , heavy iron tsuba with fully rounded mimi , shakudo plug , 18th cent ?

 

 

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Re Item No. 101

 

Hi Bruno , 

 

Many Thanks for that - Apparently Ist generation Tsuchiya Yasuchika signed ' To'u ' after the age of 64.

 

Can anybody determine if this signature is possibly right ? 

 

This would place date of making to around 1735.

 

Regards

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Re Item No. 101

 

This tsuba is a recent acquisition and, looking at it properly for the first time , the following thoughts occur -

 

In the design of the heron , is the birds ' crest ' what it seems or is it part of a crescent moon or both as in a visual pun ?

 

Why the outsize signature and kao - there is plenty of room for normal placement of these in smaller form  , what statement is being made ?

 

Does the use of the rear of the tsuba for the signing suggest a commissioned piece ?

 

Does the size and simplicity of the tsuba make it more or less likely to be a forgery , Tsuchiya Yasuchika being a relatively ' big name ' ?

 

Ideas , anyone ?

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