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

Bob M.

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Item No. 233  Iron Sukashi Tsuba   7.40 cm x 7.20 cm x 0.70 cm


Subject of Hatchet and Plum Branch unsigned , Ono school , Momoyama period.


All the above information taken from Early Japanese Sword Guards : Sukashi Tsuba - by Sasano , page no. 169


Can somebody please scan a copy of the relevant page and add it into the thread ? I have a copy but it is not a good one , so any help would be appreciated.


The piece has a glossy , almost confident air and patina in dark brown.


Acquired over 10 years ago from an Auction in New York.


Provenance - 


Ex Clarence McKenzie Lewis Jr collection

Published Sasano  - Early Japanese Sword Guards




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Item No. 234  Two 'orphan fuchi ' in soft metals.


The first being in Shakudo with a fine nanako ground , with copper , gold and shibuichi . Subject of Chickens , signed Shokatei Motohiro & kao.


The second being in Shibuichi with gold, copper and shakudo . Subject of a group of demons ( I count eleven ! ) transporting a large bell through turbulent water. Signed , Kikugawa Nanpo kocho , with gold seal.


Both of these items display high quality craftmanship , and although they do not have matching kashira , are good enough to stand on their own merits.




Lundgren Collection , nos. 107 ( the first ) & 263 ( the second ). 


The second  -  H. Seymour Trower Collection and published in the Henri L. Joly Catalogue of the H. Seymour Trower Collection of Japanese Art published London 1913 , by Glendining and Co.Ltd plate xxxii , no 1695.





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Bob, one you may not be aware of here - https://www.liveauctioneers.com/en-gb/item/62106484_higo-school-tsuba-with-a-plum-tree-and-a-hatchet-motif   to be honest it doesn't come across as nearly as nice as yours.



And one even less inspiring - https://veryimportantlot.com/en/lot/view/tosen-sukashi-tsuba-mit-bluhendem-pflaumenzweig-un-199850



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Re Item No. 233


Dale ,


Thanks for the links  - I guess that there are many different school versions of this tsuba - after all it is a very famous tale . Perhaps also some in soft metals ; that could make quite a spectacular piece with a lot of possibilities for colours and texture contrasts...

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Item No. 235   Iron sukashi tsuba   8.48 cm x 7.90 cm x 0.43 cm


A large iron tsuba , theme of Conch Shell and blossom on water , attributed to Saotome school thought to be mid to late 17th cent.


Conch has liner in Hitsu-ana area.


Good patina and smooth feel.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Item No . 236    Kozuka in Silver


Subject of shi-shi dog and peonies signed Kikuchi Tsunesada.


Very fine , nicely controlled engraving using Katakiri-bori technique. The design feels dynamic and lively.


I understand that the full signature reads -  Shinobu Ga Oka no Hen ni Shikashite Horu no Kikuchi Tsunesada ( plus Kao ). Can anybody please help with translation on this ?


The mention of the Kikuchi school would tend to place this in the second half of the 18th cent.


NBTHK Hozon papers.



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Ref Item No. 236  - Wood block print showing the lotus pond at Shinobu-ga-oka - now a part of Ueno Park in Tokyo.


Courtesy of George Miller.





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Item No. 237   Iron tsuba with gold , silver, shibuichi , shakudo and copper   8.40 cm x 8.04 cm x 0.45 cm


Subject of Benten and dragon signed Hamano Shozui.


Much detailed image of Benten together with nicely carved dragon and forged ' rockface ' ground.






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Item No. 238   Iron Tsuba   7.82 cm x 7.60 cm x 0.72 cm


Subject of Hikiryo Mon and Kiri  -attributed to fifth generation Akasaka - mid 18th cent.


Dramatic rendition of its subject matter with superb intact patina.


NBTHK papered



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Item No. 239   Fuchi Kashira in Shibuichi with gold , silver and shakudo


Subject of fisherman and boy signed Sekijoken Motoharu , late Edo.


Provenence -


Lundgren Collection No, 299



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Item No. 240   Iron Tsuba   7.68 cm x 7.50 cm x 0.45 cm


Sukashi tsuba with subject of cherry tree , the trunk forming the rim and the blossoms carved in kebori  -  mumei.


Delicate carving from a master hand. Excellent patina with great tactile feel - the thickness of the plate reduces from 4.5 mm in the centre to 3.8 mm at the rim. Rim edge is rounded.


Possibly late Hayashi school or Kamiyoshi school by the Master Juhei . Late Edo period.


Any views as to the proper school to place this piece in ?


Ex Clarence McKenzie Lewis Jr. collection.





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Item No. 241   Iron Tsuba with gold , copper , silver , shakudo and shibuichi   6.38 cm x 5.90 cm x 0.40 cm


Subject of Shoki and oni - mumei , mid to late Edo.


Shoki is shown standing on a river bank watching an oni on the other side making off with a banner. 


Minutely detailed, the oni is obviously enjoying itself , Shoki does not see the funny side in the least.


Museum /collection acquisition number painted on rear. 


Bought from auction in Europe about 18 years ago , I use the image of the oni as my avatar on the NMB.



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Item No. 242   Iron Tsuba with gold and silver   7.22 cm x 6.95 cm x 0.52 cm


Subject of monkeys in a peach tree with bamboo and vines , signed Edo ju Nara saku   ( Ko-Nara School ) approx. years 1650 - 1750.


Very good overall condition , considering its age.


Bought from European auction some 10 years ago.




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Hi Anthony ,


Tsuba 241 could have been made by a number of different schools , especially if the design was included in one of the pattern books available at the time.


There is however , a remnant of the sales information for a fuchi / kashira using this exact design on the seiyudo.com site - just type   -  Seiyudo FU-010929  - into Google and the link should appear.


This set was signed and papered to Konkan - if it was one of his patterns , I do not know.


Konkan is said to have come from the Iwamoto school in Edo and to have been working during the years 1744 - 1801. He was a student of Ryokan and was greatly influenced by the work of Yokoya and also Nara school.



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Item No. 243   Iron Tsuba   7.12 cm x 6.4 cm x 0.58 cm


Signed Kofu ju Tatsutoshi , known as Mitsutoshi ( Haynes 05505 ) . Early 1800's , worked in Kofu and Omi.

Family name Ito - he was the son of Yasutoshi - ( Haynes 11313 ) and used the names Namitoshi , Tadashichi and Tatsutoshi.


Although often described as a lock shape , most museums identify it as a kite or cruciform shape.


Great condition with good grey-black patina.


Thanks to George Miller for supplying much of the above info.



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Item No. 244   Iron Tsuba with gold   8.05 cm x 7.95 cm x 0.55 cm


Subject of tiger and bamboo next to running water. Mumei.  Late 18th cent. ?


Nice composition of fiercely animated tiger - not one to meet at night ,not even in your nightmares.


This is the first of a number of Tiger pieces to be posted over the coming months.





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Item No. 245   Kozuka in shibuichi with gold , copper and shakudo.


Subject of procession of street performers , with one holding a large umbrella while underneath another beats a drum and two children dance at his feet . 


Signed Ganshoshi Nagatsune with kao ( Ichinomiya School ) 19th cent.


Nicely modelled and with much finely detailed work.





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Re Item No. 245 


Some more pics taken in different light and magnifications - the smaller of the children measures 12mm ( 1/2 inch ) high as carved.





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Re Item No 245 - this information received courtesy of George Miller - Thanks ,George !


Your most recently posted kozuka is actually very important from a historical perspective.  It depicts a dance/festival that was recently revived in the Kyoto Gion Festival circuit after being lost for more than a century.  Within the last few years, scholars used a painting to trying to recreate the dance/festival that is depicted on your kozuka!  


Shijō Kasa Boko 四条傘鉾 — An Umbrella and Children’s Dance

Recently Kyoto has revived a festival and dance to its Gion Festival Program that had been lost for over a century.   It is called Shijō Kasa Boko 四条傘鉾 — An Umbrella and Children’s Dance.   The modern Shijō Kasa Boko is not exactly the same as it was in the Muromachi Period (1337–1573) but much of the symbolism remains.  Originally the components were carried by hand and now many are on floats.  The highlight of the Shijō Kasa Boko is its children’s dance and music. With Ayagasa Boko (a large umbrella with beautiful embroidery around the edge and flowers/plants on top), it is unique in the Gion Festival Saki Matsuri‘s July 17th procession.  In the dance that accompanies the umbrella topped with flowers/plants , two boys wear costumes and red “bear wigs” in a lively dance, and other boys with golden hats accompany the dance with various percussion instruments like drums and bells.



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Item No. 246   Iron tsuba with gold , copper and shakudo    8.28 cm x 7.64 cm x 0.52 cm


Subject of Raiden  , the thunder god  , striking his drum . By Ford Hallam , approx. 28 years ago.


Design in the style of Hokusai on front , with a ' shadow in the clouds ' on the rear.


This tsuba is one of Ford's earliest and he explains about its making in his video short - Stepping Stones 03- on his YouTube channel.



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