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


Bob M.
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Re. Item No. 50

 

Hi George ,

 

Thanks for your research and commentary .

 

On the face of it , the tsuba should be sent to shinsa , but the decision could go either way...

 

I think I have a few more pieces where the same could be said - but we move on and take each as it comes.

 

_________________________________________________________

 

First 50 up !   167 more to go.

 

Is everybody reasonably happy about the way these are being shown ?

 

Regards

 

 

 

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Item No. 51  Tsba in Shibuici with gold, silver and shakudo detailing  7.64 cm x 7.53 cm x 0.49 cm

 

Two butterflies , three spiders webs and large dragonfly on a fine Ishime ground.

 

Signed Nara Tadashige and Jochiku with a kao . This is therefore a dai-saku work from the Nara and Murakami Schools from the 19th cent.

 

Looks considerably better in hand than in photographs - the very fine Ishime giving a matt surface finish , very evenly applied . The webs glow and almost jump out from the tsuba in the right light and the detailing on the insects is very well done.

 

Just as a bonus , the dragonfly's eyes are inlaid with a striking green iridescent mother of pearl/ abalone , that really stand out .

 

Have been unable to place Nara Tadashige - does not appear to be shown in the genealogies book . Also there are two artists shown as signing Jochiku in the Murakami school....

 

Any Haynes or Wakayama references would , as usual ,  be much appreciated.

 

 

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Dear Bob, first of all let me say congratulations on the first 50!  You have been as regular as clockwork in supplying us with beautiful eye candy every few days for quite a while.  I'm sure that all the other NMB members are enjoying seeing your beautiful collection unfold and are looking forward to another 167!!!


As for Item 51, it appears that it is a “Tadashige” that Haynes did not have in his original Index, but he added it in his second supplement (Haynes #09149.A).  His addition is probably based on your tsuba (see Haynes’ text below where it appears to describe your exact tsuba from a Bonhams Auction).  I double checked the dozen or so other Tadashige in his Index and none of the others matched, so I think that Haynes was correct to list this as a “new” Tadashige.  In his writeup, Haynes says that [your] tsuba is done with “Murakami Jochiku Haynes #02100.0”, but when I checked that Jochiku, the mei and the kakihan do not match (see the Jochiku mei and kakihan from Wakayama & Sesko below).  There is only one other Jochiku in Haynes with your kanji, but his dates don’t match (1865-75).  Therefore, it may be a third Jochiku not included in Haynes.  In the entry for Jochiku (H#02100.0), Haynes talks about a possible second generation Jochiku (not in Haynes’ Index), but says that there is only very thin evidence for that second generation (perhaps found in the Kokubo, Furukawa, & Mosle references - which could be checked to see if the mei / kakihan match yours).

 

 

 

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Hi George , 

 

Yet again , Thanks for your input re Item No. 51.

 

The info you have posted would put the age of the tsuba at somewhwere between 220 and 250 years old , if I am reading it correctly.

 

That is certainly a lot older than I was expecting.

 

Regards

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Item No. 52  Iron tsuba with brass & gold highligths / inlays  8.22 cm x 7.68 cm x 0.31 cm over plain , 0.44 cm over rim.

 

Plain iron plate with a smooth finish , Brass inlay of cord or rope  , Mimi shaped as a stylised long handled cutting tool with remains of gold highlighting on the blade.

 

Simple but nicely done tsuba.

 

Mumei , acquired as part of an auction lot about five years ago.

 

 

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Item No. 53 -  Tsuba in a very dark Shibuichi or Shakudo ?, with shakudo and gold detailing   7.12 cm x 6.65 cm x 0.48 cm

 

Subject is a temple nightwatchman out in rain , next to Japanese cedar trees .

 

Another tsuba that looks better in hand - the treatment of the trees and rain slanting through them is very nice - at top centre on the reverse there is a shadowy detail or silhouette of what looks to be a torii , poking through the trees , half hidden by the driving rain.

 

Signed Masayuki -19th century  Hamano School ? Again no mention of him in Sesko that I can see .This is ex Naunton Collection which lists it as an  18th century work by Shozui ( Hamano Shozui , founder of the Hamano School ). Opinions please ?

 

Provenance -

Ex Naunton Collection item No 1428

Ex McNair Scott Collection

Ex G F Hearn Collection

 

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Item No. 53: the subject is usually referred as Aridōshi (蟻通し). It's a Nō play in which the god of Aridōshi shrine is represented disguised as an old priest holding an umbrella and a lantern.

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Re Item No. 53 ,

 

Any thoughts about the artist - are Masayuki and Shozui the same person ?

 

Is the quality of work up to what you would expect ?

 

Are either Wakayama or Haynes any help ?

 

Thanks for your help...

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Dear Bob, re item no. 53.  These two kanji can be read as "Masayuki" or "Shozui".    Haynes had dozens of Masayuki but only two signing with these kanji (and he doesn't provide much useful info on them).  He also has two Shozui signing with these kanji.  One of them is the very famous Hamano Shozui and the other is an Ishiguro artist.  Based on the style (and provenance comments), I believe that yours is intended to be Hamano Shozui.  He is the founder of the Hamano School and considered as the 4th member of the Nara Sansaku (one of the four greatest artists of that time period).  With respect to Shozui, Haynes says: "The majority of the signed examples seen today are forgeries, particularly the tsuba."  Here are some mei from Wakayama and Sesko to compare.

 

I hope that @Curran will comment because I believe that he has studied Shozui fairly extensively....

 

 

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Hi George ,

 

Re Item No. 53

 

Many thanks for your extensive work on this - 

 

The only thing I know for certain about this tsuba is that it has been in the West for over 110 years. It might have entered the Naunton Collection anything up to 20 or 30 years earlier , there is nothing to say one way or the other.

 

As with Item No. 50 , I guess it would need to go to Shinsa...

 

Regards

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Hi Yas .A.

 

From what I can see , Shuzui was a student of Nara Toshinaga , so the early Hamano works would , as you say , be influenced by Nara style .

 

The tsuba by Sukeyuki could be almost 100 years later and certainly shows a big difference in design and technique.

 

Interesting to compare...

 

Regards 

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Item No. 54 - Three Kozuka in shakudo / shibuichi with gold & silver highlights

 

54A - crane flying over water - signed 

54B - Shishi 

54C - Gathering crops

 

Acquired as part of a larger lot from a European auction about 4 years ago.

 

Interesting to compare the qualities of nanako on display here

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Hi George, Bob M., NMB:

  --- I currently have location limited ability to post on NMB.  Mid response, the power cut out. Lest it do so again, I'mma gonna keep this short.

 

#41  Gimei Shozui where someone tried to remove the signature.

#45  Ko-Goto.  I'm not sure I would have said Ko-Goto vs Ko-Kinko, but NBTHK is stronger than me in looking a the construction, measurements, nanako and the rest. Nice piece.

#49  D@mn nice Choshu. One of the two best I have ever owned. That one is also ex. Arnold Frenzel. I don't collect Choshu, but that one and another are the two I regret selling if I permitted myself a larger collection. I'm surprised the Choshu expert on the board hasn't ripped that one from your grasp.

#53  Shozui that the current heavily Wakayama dependent NBTHK would not pass.   I'm not sure of my own opinion. George is right that I have owned a few papered ones and I did get into a phase where I went through all resources and did an extensive study of kantei points culminating in a long write up primer. I do think Wakayama is too limited in its review of Shozui, but often the deciding point is how close it is to their accepted footprint of his signatures and whether the design or the ratios on the design fit what I know of his work. There is a f/k for sale right now that I am surprised the NBTHK was willing to paper the signature not being spot on with Wakayama, but it was one of Shozui's favorite designs.

     This one I'd have to study before putting my own final opinion down.

 

Gonna go before I lose this post again.

 

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After checking my notes, I lean towards it being an added signature but a Hamano tsuba.

 

The signature is outside what the NBTHK or I would accept, but not egregiously so.

Maybe another organization would paper it.

That is my opinion.

 

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Item No. 55 - Iron Tsuba with remnants of gold highlights -  7.93 cn x 7.74 cm x 0.39 cm

 

For lovers of Old Iron -described as Ko Shoami from Muromachi Period (1393 - 1575 ) - The surface showing very fine tekotsu and a lot of nie.

 

I believe these are referred to as drain cover tsuba ?

 

Acquired about 12 years ago from a U.S. dealer.

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Item No. 56 - Iron Tsuba  Mokko Gata with silver and shibuichi detailing  7.5 cm x 7.3 cm x 0.48 cm

 

Subject of Basket weave design with flowers.

 

Signed  Choshu Noju Tomohisa Saku? which would date it to around early 18th century.

 

A nicely made quiet and understated piece .

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Wow. That is a FINE example. Used to seeing that basketweave pattern. But don't see them with that level of detail to each "weave"
I'm impressed at how organic that looks. Lovely!

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The basketweave in iron is difficult. If you live in a humid environment like Florida or Hawaii, it seems determined want to rust.

Attached should be one I sold like 15 years ago.

I was a bit surprised with the way the NBTHK papered it.

 

 

 

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I've seen several types of attributions for these basket weave and clematis themed tsuba.

This is the one I got on mine. With the cloissone, I expected something else. It was confusing to me as a younger collector.

 

Basically- with the basket weave ones it seems they just toss it into whichever category most fits a particular tsuba. No particular school associated with the lobed basketweave design.  The concentration seems to be largely in Choshu, Bushu, and various Shoami schools.

 

 

 

 

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This is being posted earlier than originally intended as it is doubtful if I will have time available over the next day or so...

 

Item No. 57 - Iron tsuba in mokko gata form , gold , shibuichi and shakudo details  7.28 cm x 6.88 cm x 0.45 cm ( over plain ) , 0.61 cm at thickest.

 

Subject of a lake scene with a mountain in the background , fishermans sail boat to rear with skein of geese . A temple is partly hidden by the mountain , a house close to shore . A waterfall is depicted opposite the mountain.

 

Signed Yasuchika  , but which generation ?

 

Whenever I show this Tsuba at meetings or exhibitions , I get two responses . The majority of viewers seem to be indifferent ( maybe it looks too plain and uninteresting alongside some of the other pieces ) , but a few pick it up and study it and are almost always positive in their comments. My personal view is that it dates from sometime in the 18th century and displays a lot of the elements that were also used by Natsuo in his scenic works. The mountain is carved from the same piece of iron as the rest of the tsuba , in other words it is not an inlay .  I will try to take some oblique pictures to give a better view of this.

 

I have also included a picture of this tsuba without its protective coating , as it is possible to see that the house on the shore is inlaid in shibuichi and the temple in shakudo and gold.

 

The more you look at this one , the more you see .

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Re Item No. 57

 

Some oblique views as promised - 

 

 

 

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And , just because , an Iris in my garden today ...

Will have some more fittings featuring Irises shortly.

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Item No. 58  - Kozuka in Shibuichi with gold inlays 

Item No. 59  - Kozuka in dark Shibuichi with gold and silver inlays

 

Subject ( 58 ) Mons inlaid over turbulent water with plant detailing - unsigned

Subject ( 59 ) Iris and dragonfly - unsigned

 

Both pieces quite nicely made  - a bit above the average  , I think.

 

Bought as part of a larger lot about 4 years ago.

 

Comments , anyone ?

 

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