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A few questions.


Spartancrest
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I have two guards that I would like opinions about. The first is I 'think' Ko-Katchushi? with a  Dote-mimi.

The second I am wondering about the theme, is it dragon in clouds or dragon in water? I haven't seen this swirling background before.

image.thumb.png.a83424e2cb4489d93841c46b2eb4ffd4.png

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Hi Dale , 

 

Could well be wrong but I don't recall seeing dragons with flames in water . However , as you say , an unusual backgound.

 

I would suggest with the first tsuba that a light coat of almond oil or similar will help to bring out detail , help stop active corrosion etc. This should be carefully applied as some of those inlays look ready to pop.

 

Regards

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Dale,

On the first tsuba, I've seen several tsuba with similar inlay papered to heianjou.  The hitsu are kind of odd though.  Haynes has posited that there were inlay specialists that would put inlay on whatever was brought to them and I've seen a lot of pieces that would be binned as katchushi (like the piece pictured), tosho, etc - except for the inlay - add that and they get moved to the heianjou zougan bin.

 

On the second piece, that type of dragon seems to be more typically depicted with waves/storms, so maybe that is what's going on here?

 

Best,

rkg

(Richard George)
 

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Thanks Richard - I think we often forget that these pieces were owned over centuries and were sometimes modified for fashion or practicality. It is sometimes possible to gild the lily and make 'improvements'. [even though as Bob has pointed out the 'improvements' are beginning to fall out!]

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Dale,

 

In this case I'd posit that it was more like the work was subcontracted out while the tsuba was being made for its first owner rather than it being added appreciably later.  Usually pieces attributed to the same groups that did the inlay are made of this kind of doughy iron that rusts at the drop of a hat, which this doesn't appear to be.

 

While "subtraction" from existing pieces (resizing, shape change, removing decoration, hitsu ana added, etc) is actually pretty common, I personally believe that far fewer pieces have had metalwork added at a later date (other than the odd repair and of course the ubiquitous sekigane/hitsu ana plugs, and less often a fukurin to spiff things up ) than is typically thought.  The process is actually pretty brutal/takes a surprising amount of work to do "right" (you have to depatinate the tsuba, resurface it to get it to the appropriate condition for the addition, do the work w/o damaging other features, etc).  Between the effort/cost associated with that and losing all that wabi-shabby age/wear that was often prized....  On the other hand, other stuff like lacquering/black waxing (at some point) was pretty common, so YMMV.

 

Best,

rkg

(Richard George)

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