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Ko-nara Tsuba


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Just working my way through researching some recent additions. This one I'm thinking ko-nara?


The ox is a little worn as it comes out of the thatched barn, there are shigure-yasurime (slanting drizzle) and sukashi elements. Beside the stream there appears to the remains of some gold.

The shape of the hitsu-ana seems to be the wrong way round, would there be a reason for this?


Many thanks




Height - 73mm

Width - 72mm

Mimi thk - 5.8mm

Seppa dai thk - 5.8mm






There is a similar tsuba shown in a previous post to the board, although not attributed to ko-nara.






The one in this post has a similar feel with the sukashi elements and the window.




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I am sorry I can't give an opinion on whether the tsuba are Ko -Nara but I have dredged up two additional images - one a very close match to yours and an older grainy image close to the other example. Perhaps the images may be of some use.


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"Ko-Nara" is a bit who you ask.

    From Markus' nigh divine translations, they are classified as being from (roughly) Temple Ornamentation Makers. Markus, feel free to correct my hackneed translation.

Thus, the geometry to it feels a bit different than other carvings. To me, it is a bit more 3-D, as they are accustomed to working more at making objects viewed more 360degrees.


In some books, the writer will depict tsuba more like yours.

Others, more like the one I have attached. Signed "Nara saku" on the back. It is the only one I have handled to date that I would definitely call "Ko-Nara".

While "Ko-" usually signifies circa pre1600, it seems to equate to about pre1700 (edited) for the iron works of Akasaka and Nara.




Nara Ko-Nara Pine Tree 002.jpg

Nara Ko-Nara Pine Tree 001.jpg

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Thanks for sharing the images, always useful to see reference to the design. I wonder if there is some story behind the design of the ox and barn or it's just a nice simple rustic picture?




Thank you for your comment. I have to admit I've just been trawling the internet for similar tsuba designs. Haynes catalogue No.9 has a tsuba by Kaneshige, lot 265, (image below) with a similar style of design and size with the sukashi and stream. Classed as Nara school. I do like the tsuba you have shown a very classic design and very well executed.



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