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What have I got (myself into) here?


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Hi Vlad,


Have you bought or are you thinking of buying these?


The photo of the top (attributed) tsuba is entitled "ChoushuCastle2" and the style of this tsuba (manufacture and theme) fits with the Choushu school description though the carving is perhaps clunkier than I would expect. I can't make anything out from the paper as it's too small and blurs when magnified. The lower tsuba might also be Choushu school too based on the style of manufacture. I find the theme and arrangement of the oxen, tree and flowers and the use of space the more pleasing of the two.


I don't see anything to suggest that they aren't genuine. Here's an example from Aoi Art:



Edit: On the paper I think I can just make out:


Jidai - Edo sueki - so the paper is giving it to late Edo period. Can't see the school that the paper attributes it to.

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I wouldn't put too much faith in this certificate. It is issued by the "Nihon Tōsōgu Kenkyū Kai" (Japanese Sword Fittings Research Association), which is a little-known group that I believe is affiliated with a dealer based in Osaka. This particular certificate just says the tsuba is a late-Edo piece from Chōshū, and it lists the dimensions. The text at the bottom says the theme of temple/pavillion in the mountains was a favorite of the Chōshū group. The Chōshū fief, which was historically in opposition to the Tokugawa (or, at least, in a grudging sort of submission), liked this theme because the theme implies impermanence - the idea being that the mountain temple is fragile and unsustainable, and eventually collapses - which is an allusion to the increasingly untenable Tokugawa government eventually imploding. So the theme has symbolic importance to the Chōshū group. I can't verify this claim as it pertains to this tsuba, but I have found other sources that discuss the political nuance of this theme from another time. Anyway, consider this paper to be a sales aid, and not a validation of quality. 

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20 hours ago, Curran said:

Choshu-lite ?

Perfect for making into a belt buckle and doing some country line dancing.

Thank you! That was very helpful!

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Not all Choshu are created equal.  An incredibly superb one fell into my lap about 8 years ago.

I sold it for $1000, and have since realized I gave it away. It was such an exceptional work of art that I curse myself for getting hung up the maker signed "Choshu....

He'd trained with the Yokoya school and several prominent artists.


There are some that are in the next league. I held one as Escrow for an international transaction.

The theme wasn't to my liking, but the workmanship was rockstar.

    That and the one I sold both drove it home to take Choshu on a case by case basis.

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Just like to add a bit to Currans reply. The same can be said for Bushu which most would but even below Choshu but as they are the most prolific makers they must have been doing something right

Just now I'm looking at some Shoami Denbei which are stunning

Possibly even less collected are Kinai tsuba but a big American has been buying the best examples for a few years

We all know what we like but like music to narrow your tastes will restrict your appreciation of the whole


I don't know if these are tsuba I keep seeing on my saved searches as the one I'm referring to is always at an angle with black background and the images are not very sharp and my first thoughts are what is the seller trying to hide


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