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


Bob M.
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Item No. 103 - Iron Tsuba with brass and copper   7.40 cm dia x 0.43 cm

 

Iron Tsuba subject of Japanese Horse Radish - Wasabi . Unsigned  - Heianjo Kinai ? Late 16th/early 17th cent ?

 

Nicely inlaid piece with minmal losses . 

 

Ex Dr Phil Fellman collection.

 

 

Item No. 104 - Iron Tsuba 6.82 cm x 6.41 cm x 0.55 cm

 

Iron Tsuba subject of wasp in a tree - Unknown school , age , any ideas ?

 

Looks particularly effective when held against white background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re Item No. 104

 

Thanks , Geraint - Never heard of this subject combination before . Now you say about it , the ' tree ' certainly looks more like antlers . I wonder what the plant like piece forming the left hand hitsu-ana is and if it has any significance as part of an associated group with the wasp and antlers...

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Dear Bob, when we see a wasp on tosogu it is often wordplay (which the ancient Japanese loved).  One of the more common combinations is wasp and monkey which in Japanese are homophonous with “granted fiefdom” and “lord” respectively.  So a monkey grasping a wasp means the good fortune of being made the lord of a fiefdom, but a monkey simply watching or ignoring a wasp means something like “don’t waste your opportunities”.  See the following NMB thread for more info on that theme: https://www.militaria.co.za/nmb/topic/30375-ishiguro-masatsune-2nd-generation/

 

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In the case of your tsuba Item No. 104, wasp can be read as Hou (or Hachi) in Japanese and deer can be read as roku (or shika).  “Hou” plus “roku” makes Houroku which sounds like the word for the “stipend or salary” that a Samurai receives when starting out as a warrior.  This makes your tsuba an excellent tsuba for a gift to a new Samurai.  Darcy has another beautiful example and explanation of this theme here: https://yuhindo.com/goto-joshin/

 

 

 

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Re Item No. 104

 

George , 

 

Thanks once again for your interest in this thread and all the interpretations/explanations .

 

I am sure that I speak for everyone when I say that without your input , this thread and indeed the NMB would be a much poorer place...

 

Regards

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Item No. 105  Fuchi-Kashira in copper with shibuichi and gold

 

A copper set of Fuchi Kashira from 19th cent. subject of Kanzan and Jittoku on Ishime ground signed Joi with Gold Seal

 

A well made F/K featuring the well known pair of eccentrics. The broom design follows the edge of the Fuchi and finishes by being half engraved on the face of the Fuchi

 

Will try to post some additional , clearer pics , shortly.

 

Bought some nine years ago

 

Ex Randolph B Caldwell Collection

 

Published  - Masterpieces from the Randolph B Caldwell Collection: Japanese sword fittings No.118 ( London 1994 )

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Dear Bob, I really love the way that the broom wraps around on Item No. 105 and would be mostly hidden from view on the plate of the fuchi when mounted.   I've seen this on many high level Japanese antiques where the artist "hides" some special aspect of the art where only the owner would ever see it.

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Re Item No. 105

 

Hi George ,

 

Yes , it is an unusual feature to see on a F/K set  , don't think that I have seen it more than on 2 or 3 occasions .

 

It is unfortunate that an acquisition number has partly obscured the design - which idiot decided to do that rather than use a plain portion of the fuchi's face , I wonder . It will just make the eventual clean up job even harder.

 

Still , a nice piece to have in the collection.

 

Regards

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Item No. 106 Iron Tsuba 7.42 cm x 7.18 cm x 0.47cm at centre , 0.40 cm at mimi

 

Plain iron Tsuba with sukashi of a Lotus ? Possible 18th cent.

 

Another piece that is much better in the hand than photographed - it has a rich oily patina  , dark chocolate brown with a subtly carved profile that is apparent to the touch but almost invisible to the eye . Possible traces of signature . 

 

A delight to hold in the hand - funny how sometimes the plainest looking things can deliver a lot more than anticipated.

 

 

Item No 107  Brass Tsuba  6.68 cm x 6.10 cm x 0.50 cm

 

Subject of waves , unsigned 17th/18th cent. ?

 

Quite a heavy piece in spite of its small size - with a lot of detail carving of the water.

 

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Item No. 108 - Iron Tsuba with gold   76.9 cm x 7.12 cm x 0.56 cm

 

Subject of peony and shi-shi in sunken relief cave or caverns. Signed Yoshihiro- age unknown.

 

Could this Yoshihiro be from the Myochin lineage ? If so it would be of considerable age but somehow it feels younger in the hand.

 

High grade workmanship all round with painstaking details on the rock carving and a highly animated shi-shi almost leaping free from the plate. The peony, eye and bud appear to have been carved from solid gold . The plate itself showing pleasing grain structure , not untypical of Myochin , hence the question above regarding artist school.

 

As usual , any comments , help or corrections gratefully received.

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Hey Guys, Haynes 11577 uses the wrong Yoshi (吉).  Bob's Yoshi is 喜, so his tsuba is by Noda Yoshihiro Haynes 11592 who worked in Edo and lived from 1693-1765.  Started in the Nara School and then studied with Yasuchika.  He worked for   the Daimyo Matsudaira Yoshisada and was listed in the Soken Kisho.  I checked the mei in Wakayama and it looks good to me.

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Re Item No. 108

 

Genealogies shows Yoshihiro as coming under the Tsuchiya branch of Nara , which , together with the dates above , would put the tsuba in an age range of 260 to 300+ years.

 

Again much older than I had anticipated .

 

Thanks for the input !

 

Any comments on style or significance of the design ?

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Hi Bob, on the design of Item No. 108, it is a rare combination of two different Shishi motifs.  One is Shishi-Botan ("Liondog and Peony") which means regal or ultimate power because the Shishi is considered the King of the Beasts and the Botan (Peony) is the Queen of the Plants.  The second motif is “shishi no ko otoshi” (shishi dropping its cub), where the shishi throws its young off a cliff and will only raise the cubs that survive and climb back up the cliff (tough parenting...)  The motif is often represented by just the parent on a cliff or rock or the cub falling or climbing up or down a cliff (often suggesting but omitting one of these elements).  Sometimes these elements are represented on different parts of the tosogu (so we shouldn't break up these sets....)  This motif was to remind the Samurai to be a great leader and rigorously train themselves and their subordinates.

 

 

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Item no. 109 - Iron Tsuba 6.96 cm x 6.64 cm x 0.58 cm

 

Subject of single dragon rising through water and clouds with Udenuki-ana. Remains of a signature - age and school unknown.

 

Acquired as part of a collection

 

Item No. 110 - Iron Tsuba 8.49 cm x 8.29 cm x 0.48 cm on plain , 0.83 cm over pattern

 

Subject of a pair ( male & female ) dragons by Masatsune? Bushu Ito school , late 18th cent.

 

Large tsuba that appears to have been carved from a single piece of iron . Great patina and general condition.

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Item no. 111 - Tsuba in Shakudo with shibuichi , gold , copper and shakudo highlights 6.47 cm x 5.70 cm x 0.42 cm

 

Subject of General being presented with sacred pearls by an oni ? With signature of Hamano Hiroyoshi ?

 

A possibly rare piece of work from an artist who apparently died young 1810 - 1835 . Can anyone verify signature , also the theme features possibly a well known tale ? A nicely made piece , as one would expect from this School.

 

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Dear Bob, your tsuba Item No. 111 depicts the Dragon King’s (Ryujin - king of the sea) messenger presenting the two Tide Jewels (one can make the tide ebb and the other makes the tide flow) to Takenouchi no Sukune.  He was an advisor to Empress Jingo and helped her in defeating Korea using these Tide Jewels.

 

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On 9/7/2021 at 11:19 AM, Bob M. said:

Item no. 111 - Tsuba in Shakudo with shibuichi , gold , copper and shakudo highlights 6.47 cm x 5.70 cm x 0.42 cm

 

Subject of General being presented with sacred pearls by an oni ? With signature of Hamano Hiroyoshi ?

 

A possibly rare piece of work from an artist who apparently died young 1810 - 1835 . Can anyone verify signature , also the theme features possibly a well known tale ? A nicely made piece , as one would expect from this School.

 

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Item No. 112   Iron Sukashi Tsuba 7.50 cm x 7.42 cm x 0.59 cm

 

Subject of crescent moon & bats ?   School unknown .

 

Beautiful  , silky , dark patina on iron . This is a recent addition to the collection - any ideas about subject  ? This is all new material to me and I know there are a lot of Iron Tsuba specialists out there , if I could kindly ask for some assistance ...

 

The piece seems to have been valued at some time - it has its own high quality custom made box .

 

Thanks !

 

 

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9 hours ago, Bob M. said:

Item No. 112   Iron Sukashi Tsuba 7.50 cm x 7.42 cm x 0.59 cm

 

Subject of crescent moon & bats ?   School unknown .

 

Beautiful  , silky , dark patina on iron . This is a recent addition to the collection - any ideas about subject  ? This is all new material to me and I know there are a lot of Iron Tsuba specialists out there , if I could kindly ask for some assistance ...

 

The piece seems to have been valued at some time - it has its own high quality custom made box .

 

Thanks !

 

 

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Akasaka, moon and pine with bats (the moon is the circle, not a crescent IMO).  Had a similar-ish one a while back. 

 

 

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Re. Item No. 112

 

Hi Evan and Patrick ,

 

Thanks for your contributions / kind words on this Tsuba. As I say , this is a relatively new area for me and so any help or advice would be gratefully received .

 

I think that there are in excess of fifty Sukashi Iron pieces still to be posted on this thread , so , if you have the time , please come back and look  every so often...

 

Regards

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Item No. 113 - Tsuba 7.23 cm x 7.05 cm x 0.53 cm

 

' Mirror makers ' type Tsuba with shakudo fukurin and shakudo plates over a copper core . With signature ( unread ).

 

Probably a tourist piece with gold paint to attract the souvenir hunters - the copper coloured ' faces ' have never been faces at all and are just pretending to be worn down. The signature has been carved into the piece . The extra cutout in the sideof the nakago-ana meaning it could be mounted with gunto fittings ?

 

Is it worth keeping , as a warning , or should it be consigned to the rubbish bin ?

 

Part of a large acquisition.

 

 

Item No. 114 - Iron Tsuba 7.06 cm x 6.74 cm x 0.62 cm

 

Subject of Horsetails

 

Possibly about 200 years old , showing evidence of having been mounted several times . Surprisingly heavy at first impression ,but solidly made at over 6mm thick .Nice deep chocolate brown patina . Not a rare theme , but nicely done.

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Item No. 115   Iron Tsuba with brass 6.76 cm x 6.24 cm x 0.40 cm

 

Iron Tsuba - Shingen style wire work in brass

 

A wakizashi size tsuba with neatly applied wire work . Unlike a lot of Shingen pieces , this shows a restrained simplicity , and is all the better for it. This shows signs of having been mounted and so was apparently made for the domestic market - a case of ' less is more '.

 

 

Item No. 116 Iron Tsuba with silver , gold and shakudo decoration - 7.66 cm dia. x 0.55 cm

 

Subject of sliding doors in a wall or gate . Signed Nara Saku.

 

Unusual subject for a Tsuba - the doors are partly open , to reveal whatever your imagination says lies beyond...

 

NBTHK papered

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Item No. 117 - Iron Tsuba with Shakudo and gold   6.78 cm x 6.48 cm x 0.51 cm

 

Subject of Ho bird and paulownia tree. Unknown age  / school - Suggestions ?

 

Iron tsuba with Shakudo fukurin and plugs . Interesting shapes to the Hitsu . Evidence of having been mounted on multiple occasions.

Does some of the shaping / inlay have a Namban influence ?

 

Part of an auction lot from about five years ago.

 

 

Item No. 118 - Iron Mokko-gata tsuba   8.15 cm x 7.86 cm x 0.37 cm

 

A good size , relatively thin iron tsuba with copper liners to Hitsu .Unknown school or age , although I would guess age at late16th/early 17th cent.

Does the size and shape of the two Hitsu-ana help with attribution ?

Nice forged mimi contributes to the purposeful feel of the piece . Deep dark grey patina. 

 

Recent acquisition

 

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Item No. 119   Iron Tsuba with details in gold , shibuichi , copper and silver   7.82 cm x 7.24 cm x 0.55 cm

 

Subject of Eagle and Monkey signed Hiroyoshi ( Mito school )

 

The artist was part of the Tamagawa & Uchikoshi branch of Mito . He had family name of Marukawa and worked in the 1st half of the 19th cent. c.1840's.  Haynes H01449.0

 

The swooping eagle's beak has taken a bit of a knock and needs redefining - nothing major ( perhaps as a result of drunk diving ) , otherwise a piece in nice condition .

 

Part of an auction lot about five years ago.

 

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