(鍔ギャラリー②) Tsuba Gallery #2
Jakushi Tsuba (若芝鐔)
Japanese Title: 龍図鐔 (ryū no zu tsuba)
Material: Iron (tetsu 鉄)
Age: Late Edo Period (江戸時代後期)
Size: 6.8 cm X 7.4 cm, 4.5 mm at the rim
Signature: Jakushi (若芝)
Shape: Tate-maru gata (竪丸形)
Surface Finish: Yakite-kusakarashi (焼手腐らかし)
This is a sword handguard (tsuba 鐔) made of forged iron (tetsu 鉄). It was likely mounted and used on a long sword (katana 刀). The dynamic design is that of an imperial style dragon cloaked in a storm cloud with lightning. The design of the dragon is continued on the reverse side accented with gold fabric style inlays (nunome zogan 布目象象嵌) for the dragon and pear skin texture inlays (nashiji-zogan 梨子地象厳) for the storm clouds. The squared shaped rim (kaku-mimi 角耳) is also decorated with fine gold inlays and carved to mimic a worm-eaten pattern.
The tsuba is signed by its maker (Jakushi 若芝). This is school was based in the seaport city of Nagasaki (長崎) in Hizen Province (肥前國) during the Edo Period. Based upon a comparison of the workmanship and signature style discussed with Peter Farrar a British collector focused on Jakushi School this tsuba is likely the work of the 8th generation Koretaka (是高) who’s personal name was Nagami Wasaburō (永見和三郎). The exact birthdate of Koretaka isn’t recorded but it was recorded that he was the third son of the 6th generation master and lived until 1878 CE.
Provenance: Captain Jack Frost Collection
Higo Kinkō Tsuba (肥後金工鐔)
Japanese Title: 蛸唐草文鐔 (tako karakusa mon tsuba)
Material: Unrefined Copper (yamagane 山銅)
Age: Early Edo Period (江戸時代初期)
Size: 6.9 cm X 7.6 cm, 3.0 mm at the rim
Signature: Mumei (無銘)
Shape: Jūjimokko-gata (十字木瓜形)
Surface Finish: (yakite 焼)
Attachment: NBTHK Hozon Paper ID# 452847
This is a handguard (tsuba 鐔) made for use on a long sword (katana 刀). It is made of unrefined copper (yamagane 山銅). The design carved into the surface of the tsuba is that of a fine and intricate octopus shaped Chinese arabesques pattern (tako karakusa-mon 蛸唐草文). The same design repeated on the reverse side of the tsuba as well. The carved surface design of the tsuba has been soften and smoothed using a heating technique (yakite 焼). The rim is raised and worked-off at its edge (sukinokoshi-mimi 鋤残耳). The overall shape of the tsuba resembles the cross section of a Japanese melon and like the kanji for number ten (jūjimokko-gata 十字木瓜形). This was a common shaped used by many schools of Higo Province (肥後國) during the early Edo Period.
The previous owner attributes this tsuba to be the work of 1st generation Hirata Hikozo (平田彦三) who lived from 1590-1635 CE. Based upon the material and techniques used more specifically the shape of the rim and the based metal I think this tsuba was made by an independent but professional artist working in Higo Province during the early Edo Period. Based upon demographic information I can place the production of this tsuba from about 1615 to 1670 CE. The NBTHK attributed this tsuba to be the work of independent Higo artist on the appraisal paper and confirms that the tsuba is of good quality and worthy of historical preservation. The paper was issued on the 11th day of the 6th month, in the 19th year of the Heisei Era (2007).
Works of Hirata and Shimizu by Itō Mitsuru, translated by Markus Sesko, Copyrighted 2007.
Tosogu Classroom Vol. 2 by Fukushi Shigeo, translated by Markus Sesko, Copyrighted 2018.
‘鐔鑑賞記’by Zenzai, Internet Blog URL:
Handbook of Sword Fittings Related Terms by Markus Sesko, Copyrighted 2011.
Higo-tsuba Dandyism Expressed Through Iron by Itō Mitsuru and Itō Sanpei, translated by Markus Sesko, JSSUS, Copyrighted 2014.
Japanese Sword Society of United States (JSSUS) Quarterly Journal, Volume 47, No. 2, March-April 2015 ‘Early History of the Hirata School of Higo Province’ by David Stiles, Copyrighted 2015.
Provenance: Skip Holbork Collection
Price: $1,500 + Shipping
Item Name: Kanayama Tsuba (金山鐔)
Japanese Title: 車透かし鐔 (kuruma sukashi tsuba)
Item Number: T141
Purchase Date: 04/27/2019
Purchase Price: $560
Material: Iron (tetsu 鉄)
Age: Early Edo Period (江戸時代後期)
Size: 6.8 X 6.9 cm, 5.0 mm at seppa-dai, 5.0 mm at rim
Signature: mumei (無銘)
Shape: (maru-gata 丸形)
Surface Finish: Migaki Ji (磨地)
Attachment: NTKK Kantei-sho (鑑定書) ID# 217029
This is small but robust handguard (tsuba 鐔) made of very well-forged iron (tetsu 鉄). The bold positive openwork (ji-sukashi 地透) design is an eight-spoked wheel (kuruma 車). The surface of the tsuba displays iron bones (tekkotsu 鉄骨). To a lesser extent there are also iron bones along the outer rim of the tsuba. The outer rim of the tsuba is rounded-square (kaku-mimi koniku 角耳小肉), a typical shape and an important characteristic of tsuba made in Owari Province (尾張國).
This appraisal paper was issued by the Nihon Tōsōgu Kenkyo Kai (NTKK 日本刀装具研究会), a study group based in Osaka, Japan. The tsuba was attributed to be a later work of the Kanayama (金山) group located near the Atsuta-jingu (熱田神宮) shrine in the city of Nagoya (名古屋), Owari Province. It was made during the early part of the Edo Period and is noted as a first-class example by the study group on the appraisal paper.
Provenance: David Bond Collection
Price: $560 + Shipping