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Akasaka Motif question


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I posted this question in the NMB Sword Show section but thought it would be better placed here. Any ideas on this tsuba's design other than midare sukashi?

It is mesmerizing, but confusing - maybe horse harness, ribbons of some meaning...?. 

Thanks in advance.


Ko Akasaka midare sukashi.jpg

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Hi Mark,

Lovely tsuba, I have never seen the design before.  I wonder if it is a stylise peony, looking directly down into the bloom: 'the king of flowers and in Japan symbolises bravery, honour and good fortune.'  Often found on tsuba etc: example 1 from Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the other from the V&A.


Best regards, John


Peony 2.JPG

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Without having the necessary knowledge, it looks like a nicely balanced random SUKASHI pattern! An early AKASAKA, or even KO-AKASAKA? I like it a lot! 

The KOGAI HITSU shape seems to be a bit special, and possibly can lead to an assessment.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I appreciate the comments, all. Two colleagues whom I respect for their knowledge both came in as "katawaguruma" - "wheel in a flowing stream"; a tradition taken from Heian times of wetting the Imperial ox cart wheels in a stream at  Spring time to prevent cracking from the dry winter's inactivity. I am going with that now that I've seen the design on lacquerware...  something of a tribute to the Kyoto court, A hakogaki on its box simply says "midare sukashi", but includes "Edo Shoki" (early Edo"). 


Grey's example is younger, I think. 


Yes, the kogai hitsu is very unique - reminds me of the sandai, Tadatora. 


Thanks again. 

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