(鍔ギャラリー⑦) Tsuba Gallery #7

Katchūshi tsuba (甲冑師鐔)

 

Japanese Title:  片輪車文透鐔 (katawa-kuruma no mon sukashi tsuba)
Material:  Iron (tetsu 鉄)     
Age:  Early Edo Period (江戸時代初期)  
Size:  8.1 cm X 8.1 cm, 2.7 mm at rim, 2.0 mm at center
Signature:  mumei (無銘)   
Shape:  Maru-gata (丸形)        
Surface Finish:  Tsuchime-ji (槌目地)          
Attachment:  None

This is a sword handguard (tsuba 鐔) made of forged iron (tetsu 鉄). The simple but bold design in positive openwork (ji-sukashi 地透) is that of a half wagon wheel. No accessory holes are present in this large tsuba. The entire surface of the tsuba is nicely finished with fine hammer work (tsuchimei-ji 槌目地). The rounded rim (maru-mimi 丸耳) display both fine and somewhat elongated iron bones (tekkotsu 鉄骨). I think this tsuba dates from around the early Edo Period circa 1615 – 1670 CE but could be much older. I sent photographs to Robert Haynes to examine and he thinks that its likely dates from the middle Muromachi Period. More research is need and possible submission to formal appraisal in Japan.               

     

Provenance:  Livio Cillo Collection

Ko-Kinkō Tsuba (古金工鐔)

 

Japanese Title: 桐と唐松図鐔 (kiri to kara matsu no zu tsuba)

Material: Refined Copper (suaka 素銅)

Age: Late Muromachi to Azuchi-Momoyama Period (室町後期~安土桃山時代)

Size: 6.5 cm X 7.1 cm, 4.0 mm at rim

Signature: Mumei (無銘)   

Shape: Tatemaru-gata (竪丸形)

Surface Finish: Nanako-ji (魚子地)

Attachment: None

 

This is a handguard (tsuba 鐔). It was likely made for and mounted a short sword (wakizashi 脇差). The design motif on both sides consists of Chinese Tang Dynasty style pine (kara-matsu 唐松) and chrysanthemum (kiku 菊) the plants associated with the Winter and Autumn seasons, respectively. Both Chinese pine and chrysanthemum motifs are done using a high relief carving style accepted by additional carving of the raised motif (jibori 地彫). The base of the tsuba is an exceptionally fine fish roe texture (nanako-ji 魚子地). Two test patches of fish roe texture are visible along the seppa-dai on the reverse side of the tsuba. Points made of raised copper inlayed with gold (uttori-iroe うっとり色絵) also appear on both sides.

The plate of the tsuba is made up of three layers. Two thin foil layers of the copper-gold alloy shakudō (赤銅) are sandwiched around a thicker core of refined copper (suaka 素銅). The two outer foil layers of the tsuba are connected by a raised shakudō rim cover (fukurin 覆輪).

This tsuba is likely the work of an early goldsmith (ko-kinkō 古金工) and likely dates from about the late Muromachi to Azuchi-Momoyama Period (early to late 16th Century).

 

Provenance: Purchased from a US based Japanese Antiques Dealer

Umetada Tsuba (埋忠鐔)

Japanese Title: 天地銀杏透鐔 (tenchiichō sukashi tsuba)

Material: Iron (tetsu 鉄)

Age: Middle Edo Period (江戸時代中期)

Size: 7.2 cm X 8.0 cm, 3.0 mm at rim

Signature: mumei (無銘)

Shape: Kawari gata (変り形)

Surface Finish: Migaki-ji (磨地)

Attachment: NBTHK Hozon Paper ID# 4013528

This is a sword handguard (tsuba 鐔) made of forged iron (tetsu 鉄).  The surface of the plate has a wonderful feel with a deep rich patina (sabi 寂).  The surface adds a great tactile feel to the iron of the tsuba in hand.  The positive openwork (sukashi 地透) design of the tsuba is of twin Ginkgo (ichō 銀杏) tree leaves arranged on the top and bottom.  The texture of the iron and the deep color of the patina gives me the impression of impermanence of dead leaves.  The Ginkgo leaves look like they have fallen from a tree during the coolness of a mornings frost of the Autumn season.
On May 7, 2018 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 a mid-generation of the Umetada (埋忠) School based in the old cultural capital of Kyōto (京都) in Yamashiro Province (山城國).  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: Skip Holbrook Collection