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(小道具ギャラリー②) Kodōgu Gallery #2

Mito Menuki (水戸目貫)

Japanese Title:  巳図目貫 (mi no zu menuki)
Material:  Copper-Silver Alloy (Shibuichi 四分一), Refined Copper (Suaka 素銅)
Age:  Late Edo Period (江戸時代後期)  
Size:  4.4 cm long, 1.1 cm wide
Signature:  mumei (無銘)    
Surface Finish:  Migaki-ji (磨地)  
Attachment: Custom Storage Box with Hakogaki written by Kanzan Sato


These are ornaments (menuki 目貫) for a handle of the Japanese sword (nihontō 日本刀).  The life like design is a snake (mi 巳) in a resting and active state.  The base soft metal of one ornament is the copper-silver alloy (shibuichi 四分一) and the other is refined copper (suaka 素銅).
The box inscription (hakogaki 箱書き) written during the Shōwa Period by the famous Japanese sword research and one of the founding members of the NBTHK Kanzan Sato.  He attributes the menuki to be the work of the Mito (水戸) school active in the castle town of Mito in Hitachi Province.  They were likely made during the late Edo Period (江戸時代) circa 1770-1868 CE.

The menuki underwent professional restoration by a traditional trained (Kinkō 金工) artist in Japan in 2019. A custom pad and pillow were also made for the unique box with Hakogaki by Kanzan Sato.  

Provenance:  Frank Gorelik Collection



Hamano Menuki (濱野目貫)


Japanese Title: ??  

Material:  Copper-Silver Alloy (Shibuichi 四分一)

Age:  Late Edo Period (江戸時代後期) 

Size:  3.0 cm long, 2.0 cm wide

Signature:  mumei (無銘)   

Surface Finish:  Migaki-ji (磨地) 

Attachment:  None

These handle ornaments (menuki 目貫) are used to improve the grip on the handle for a Japanese sword.  The design is of wild boars striking different poses.  The design is carved in a nice high relief (takabori 高彫) the style is very naturalist and vivid.  The base metal of the menuki is a dark copper-silver alloy (shibuichi 四分一).  The eyes of each boar are nicely highlighted in gold inlay.  The workmanship and motif subject look to be the work of the Hamano (濱野) School during the second half of the Edo Period.


Provenance:  Charles Foos Collection

Shishi Menuki (獅子目貫)

Japanese Title:  獅子と牡丹花図目貫 (shishi to botan no zu menuki) 
Material: Gold (Kin 金)
Age:  Early Edo Period (江戸時代初期)  
Size:  4.2 cm long, 2.0 cm wide
Signature:  mumei (無銘)    
Surface Finish:  Migaki-ji (磨地)  
Attachment:  None

These are ornaments for a sword handle (menuki 目貫). Each one was made from a single sheet of solid gold. The gold was mixed with another soft metal such as copper or silver to give the metal the necessary strength. The design done is high-relief carving (takabori 高彫) is of a lion-dog (shishi 獅子) playing with a peonies flower (botan-hana 牡丹花).  The pegs both females used for mounted on a handle are large and round is shape. Not sure who made the menuki, so more research and study are required. They are antique due to the presence of a natural patina on the gold (kin-sabi 金錆) and is stylistically characteristic of work dating from the early Edo Period.


Provenance: Tony Funabashi Collection

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