(鍔ギャラリー⑤) Tsuba Gallery #5

Umetada Tsuba (埋忠鐔)
Umetada Tsuba (埋忠鐔)

Omote (表)
Omote (表)

Box View
Box View

Umetada Tsuba (埋忠鐔)
Umetada Tsuba (埋忠鐔)

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Umetada Tsuba (埋忠鐔)

 
Japanese Title: 桜花図鐔 (sakura hana no zu tsuba) 
Material: Iron (tetsu 鉄)
Age: Middle Edo Period (江戸時代中期)
Size: 7.9 cm X 8.4 cm, 4.0 mm at rim, 4.0 mm at seppa-dai.
Signature: Umetada (埋忠), Yamashiro-ju (山城住)    
Shape: Kawari-gata (変り形)  
Surface Finish: Migaki-ji (磨地)  
Attachment: None

This is a handguard (tsuba 鐔) made of forged iron (tetsu 鉄). It is large and likely made to be mounted on a long sword (katana 刀). The tsuba overall has a uniform thickness to the plate at the rounded rim (maru-mimi 丸耳) and center (seppa-dai 切羽台).
The inner most design is that of many cherry blossoms (sakura 桜) done using a dug away carving method called (sukidashibori 鋤出彫). The overall shape of the tsuba that forms an outer design is likely a (yotsudomoe 四つ巴) a common design seen in different stylized forms in family crests (ka-mon 家紋) and roof tiles of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. The combination of the two designs makes me think of the practice of view cherry blossoms at temples and shrines throughout Kyōto. There are many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Kyōto that are famous for their cherry blossoms viewing during the Spring.
An alternative idea is that the outer design making up the shape of the tsuba is that of the flower of the Peonies Paeonia suffruticosa (botan 牡丹). These type of dual flower designs are common in Umetada School works.     
The tsuba is elegantly signed on the front: 'Umetada (埋忠), Yamashiro-ju (山城住)'. The signature indicates that the tsuba is the work of the Umetada School based in cultural capital Kyōto in Yamashiro Province. Based upon the style and Kanji characters used the signature (mei 銘) the tsuba likely dates from the middle Edo Period circa 1700 CE.
 

Provenance: Unknown Purchased from a US Dealer

Jingo Tsuba (甚吾鐔)

 
Japanese Title:  菊花図鐔 (kiku-hana no zu tsuba) 
Material:  Iron (tetsu 鉄)             
Age:  Middle Edo Period (江戸時代中期) 
Size:  7.8 cm X 7.8 cm 3.0 mm at rim  
Signature:  mumei (無銘)  
Shape:  Maru gata (丸形) 
Surface Finish:
Attachment:  None

This sword handguard (tsuba 鐔) made of very well forged iron (tetsu 鉄). This guard was likely mounted and used on a long sword (katana 刀). The carved and gold inlaid (kin-zōgan 金象厳) design is of a stylized chrysanthemum flower (kiku-hana 菊花). The same design stylized in a bit different way is replicated on the reverse side of the tsuba. The ring-shaped rim (kan-mimi 環耳) is very characteristic of Jingo School. The workmanship and design of this tsuba is excellent. While this tsuba requires more study, I think it is the work of a mid-generation of the Shimizu (志水) family based in castle town of Yatsushiro (八代) in Higo Province (肥後國).

Provenance:  Charlie Foos Collection

Jingo Tsuba (甚吾鐔)
Jingo Tsuba (甚吾鐔)

Omote (表)
Omote (表)

Box View
Box View

Jingo Tsuba (甚吾鐔)
Jingo Tsuba (甚吾鐔)

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Fukunobu Tsuba (深信鐔)
Fukunobu Tsuba (深信鐔)

Omote (表)
Omote (表)

NTB Paper
NTB Paper

Fukunobu Tsuba (深信鐔)
Fukunobu Tsuba (深信鐔)

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Fukunobu Tsuba (深信鐔)

 
Japanese Title:  松樹透鐔 (masu ju sukashi tsuba)  
Material:  Iron (tetsu 鉄)     
Age:  Late Edo Period (江戸時代後期)  
Size:  7.0 cm X 7.5 cm, 4.5 mm at rim, 4.8 mm at center
Signature:  mumei (無銘)   
Shape:  Mokkō-gata (木瓜形)         
Surface Finish:  Migaki-ji (磨地)          
Attachment:  NTB Paper

This is a handguard (tsuba 鐔) made of forged iron (tetsu 鉄). It is sized for use on a long sword (katana 刀). The design done in positive openwork (ji-sukashi 地透) is that of pine tree (matsu-ju 松樹). The details of the design are nicely finished using hairline carving (kebori 毛彫). The tsuba displays an extremely smooth polished surface with a reddish-black patina characteristic of the Kamiyoshi (神吉) School.

The design of a pine tree is itself uncommon for the Kamiyoshi School, but they did have it as a sketch in their design book and I have seen other tsuba attributed to the Kamiyoshi School with a similar pine tree design. The Kamiyoshi School for the most part favored doing more abstract and stylized designs executed with an extremely refined polished surface.  The NTB attributed the tsuba to be the work of Fukunobu (深信) who the second generation of the Kamiyoshi (神吉) School was to have made tsuba on a full-time basis for the Hosokawa Family. He lived from 1798-1851 CE. The direct attribution to Fukunobu was likely due to the characteristic punch mark pattern around the (nakago hitsu-ana 中子櫃穴) on the front side of the tsuba.

Provenance:  Charlie Foos Collection