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NOT AN "UNALTERED NAMBAN"


roger dundas
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This Tsuba was cheap back in early 2020 except the postage in the end made it less so and took forever to receive (from Japan)

The reason for this post and for the purchase is that I saw what I believe was a somewhat similar small sized Tsuba (65.6 x 60.6 x 3.8) and stated to be Korean. I appreciate that many of the NMB tsuba collectors would not be interested in this but it has a place for me, especially if it might be from the time of Japan's invasion of Korea in the late 1500s.

I realize that in this tsuba's construction, the maker had allowed the kozuka ana area of the tsuba plate to be expanded which is possibly more Japanese (?), on the other hand the nakago ana is rectangular in shape ( 3cm x .8) which might indicate Korean useage.

I was hoping for your opinions please.

Roger j

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Roger I thought at first the hitsu might have been added later but when I checked the size of the openings it is apparent the hitsu was original to the design. The question arises when did hitsu begin to be used on guards? Tachi tsuba never had them originally, so your guard was made 'post' tachi times if Japanese, also the hitsu shape is archaic pointing back in time. However the Korean guards sometimes had openings for a 'bi knife' so it is possible your guard could be Korean but if Korean it is likely made after Japan invaded the region in 1592 and 1597 as the Koreans favored a double edge sword before this time and the guard clearly shows it was for a single edged weapon.

Grev, if you change the 'm' to a 'n' you are right. :)

image.thumb.png.a20e9e78d9fd7c5a1b12f6b4d03e5ff3.png

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The tsuba appears to have the remains of a classic Japanese inlaid design which (for want of a better term) I’d call “Greek key”. The inlay appears to be all over including the narrow dividers between the sukashi design. The inlay is probably brass, unlikely to be gold. So, could this be  what was once a “solid plate” tsuba that has had the (pretty rough quality) sukashi added later? It happened a lot I think. Just a thought. All the best. Colin

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Wonderful discussion. Thank you Roger.I see this as a beat up "old" Japanese fitting, that we are finding re-newed reason to assess because it might, could, sort of ...bump up against this thing we call "Namban."

Peter

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And thank you Peter and Colin. It would have been a reasonable enough piece in it's day but well past it's best in this condition .

Just part of the unravelling history of such things that fascinate us.

Roger j

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