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Monkeying Around


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Two new additions to my collection. Both in the Thousand Monkeys or senbiki-zaru theme.  The second tsuba seems to be a nicer example of the theme. Both tsuba are about 70 mm (2.8 inches) in diameter.


The first one has a single hitsu-ana and is heavier. It doesen't show well in the photos, but all of the spaces between the monkeys is openwork.




The second had two hitsu-ana and the eyes of the monkeys seem to have been accented in gold, but you have to look really closely to see it.  The second one also has monkeys at the bottom that are playing a neck wrestling game called kunipiki.




Kunipiki was a game where the opponents would put a loop of rope around their necks and then try to pull the other person over. I have found these examples online:




Both tsuba also seem to have monkeys that are of the "See No, Speak No, and Hear No" variety.



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So a couple of folks have contacted me via message to let me know that I have been monkeyed with. Apparently these tsuba are cast. I thought that buying from a reputable dealer would be safe, but I was wrong. 

Both of these came from a well-known dealer in Tokyo. What should my next step be?  Should I suck it up and count it as a lesson, or should I ask for my money back?

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I had the same type of tsuba which I returned

I had three copies I put on eBay and only got 25% back but they just had to go and I couldn't put it on the NMB as you need to be seen as honest

Every time you look at it you will se a copy and being a fair man could only sell it as such


On mine under a glass you could see the seam line so it was an undisputed copy

If you can clearly say the reasons that it is a copy then it is not as described

It was a good learning lesson for me and at no cost


I also bought a wooden carving by a good maker from Japan

I spoke to an expert who said the carving was not to this makers standard

I told the seller who thought it was genuine and even gave me some extra compensation

Even good dealers can get it wrong


Be as nice as you can if you return it 



Good luck and let us know what you decide to do

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Great advice Grev :thumbsup:

Contact the seller (politely) and see how they respond. You might just lose out on the shipping costs.

If they are reputable dealer with lots of stock turnover, maybe you could negotiate for an "in-store credit" to put towards something else in the future? They might be more amenable to that idea if they don't accept the return option.


Sadly, I think just about everyone is going to pick up a cast tsuba or two along the path of the tsuba collecting arc. :(

Myself included...

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