(鍔ギャラリー⑩) Tsuba Gallery #10

Chūdai Jingo Tsuba (中代甚吾鍔)

 
Japanese Title:   雷文図鐔 (kaminari mon no zu tsuba)
Material:  Iron (tetsu 鉄) 
Age:  Mid to Late Edo Period (江戸時代中期~後期) 
Size:  7.5 cm X 8.0 cm, 3.0 mm at rim
Signature:  mumei (無銘)   
Shape:  Nagamaru-gata (長丸形)  
Surface Finish:  Tsuchime-ji (槌目地) 
Attachment:  None


This is a handguard (tsuba 鐔) made of well forged iron (tetsu 鉄). It was likely mounted and used on a long sword (katana 刀). The main design done in high relief with a worn gold inlay highlights is a familiar key fret or lighting blot pattern (kaminari-mon 雷文) seen in many other types of Japanese art. It is then surrounded by two raised concentric circles the last circle being the rim of the tsuba. The same key fret pattern is broken up into smaller elements on the reverse side of the tsuba. The inter part of the tsuba surface displays a finely hammered texture (tsuchime-ji 槌目地).

The tsuba is likely the work of the 3rd to 4th generation of Shimizu (志水) Family of the Jingo (甚吾) School. They were employed as silversmiths and sword fittings (tōsōgu 刀装具) makers for the Hosokawa (細川) family lords of the province. The school was based in the castle town of Yatsushiro (八代) in Higo Province (肥後國). This work dates from the mid to late Edo Period about 1710 until 1823 CE.

Provenance: Charlie Foos Collection

Ichijō-ha Tsuba (一乗派鐔)


Japanese Title: 雪華花紋散図鐔 (sekka hana mon chi zu tsuba)   
Material: Iron (tetsu 鉄)
Age: Late Edo Period (江戸時代後期) 
Size:  6.2 cm X 6.4 cm, 4.6 mm at rim.
Signature: Taganemei (鏨銘)   
Shape: Mokkō-gata (木瓜形)  
Surface Finish: Tsuchime-ji (槌目地) 
Attachment: None

 

This is a small handguard (tsuba 鐔) made of very well forged iron (tetsu 鉄). It was likely made for a dagger (tantō 短刀). The stamped and carved design is that of scattered snowflakes (sekka 雪華) intermixed with plum blossoms (ume-hana 梅花). The magnified snowflake is a popular design motif in Japanese art since the importation of Dutch microscopes during the late Edo Period (circa early to mid-19th Century). The design combination of snowflakes and plum blossoms the only flower that blooms during the Winter in late February early March is a unique one.  The same design is continued on the reverse side of the tsuba all the time being intermixed in a very fine hammered textured (tsuchime-ji 槌目地). The tsuba has a thin plate with a very nice raised and folded over rim (uchikaeshi-mimi 打返耳). The tsuba is unsigned (mumei 無銘) it has a clear chisel mark signature (taganemei 鏨銘) around the central opening. The specific artist who used this taganemei was not recorded or the records have been lost.    
On December 7, 2015 it was judge and attributed formal appraisal (shinsa 審査) in Tokyo at the Japan at the Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Art Sword (NBTHK) to be a work of the Goto Ichijō School (Ichijō-ha 一乗派).  An appraisal paper (hozon tōsōgu kanteisho 保存刀装具鑑定書) was issued confirming the tsuba is authentic, of good quality, has artistic merit, and is worthy of historical preservation. 

Provenance:  Frank Gorelik Collection

Heianjō-zōgan Tsuba (平安城象嵌鐔)

Japanese Title: ??

Material:  Iron (tetsu 鉄)

Age: Late Muromachi Period (室町時代後期)

Size:  7.2 cm X 7.6 cm, 3.0 mm at rim

Signature:  mumei (無銘)  

Shape: Kurikomi-mokkō-gata (刳込木瓜形)                      

Surface Finish: Hariishime (針石目)

Attachment:  None


            This is handguard (tsuba 鐔) made of forged iron (tetsu 鉄). It was likely mounted and used on an early one-handed sword (uchigatana 打刀) during the late Muromachi Period circa early to mid-1500s CE. The right accessory knife opening (kozuka hitsu-ana 小柄櫃穴) is original while the one on the left was added later damaging some of the brass inlays. Pictured on the reverse side of the tsuba in the same type of smooth flat inlay (hira-zōgan 平象嵌) made of imported Chinese brass (shinchū真鍮) are two family crests (kamon 家紋) partially visible. On upper and lower sections of both sides of the tsuba is the chrysanthemum crest (kiku-mon 菊紋) also only partially visible. Among the brass inlays on both sides of the tsuba are areas of a bunch mark texture (hariishime 針石目) done to the iron surface by a steel needle. I have seen this type of surface texture applied to Ko-Katchūshi (古甲冑師) tsuba.

 

Provenance: Charlie Foos Collection