(鍔ギャラリー⑨) Tsuba Gallery #9

Owari Tsuba (尾張鐔)

 
Japanese Title:  華菱透鐔 (hana bishi sukashi tsuba)  
Material:  Iron (tetsu 鉄) 
Age: First Half of Edo Period (江戸時代前期)
Size:  8.0 cm X 8.0 cm, 4.2 mm at rim
Signature:  mumei (無銘)   
Shape:  Maru gata (丸形)
Surface Finish:  Migaki Ji (磨地)        
Attachment: Custom Fitted Storage Box with Red Lacquered Outer Box, Sasano-sensei Hakogai


This a handguard (tsuba 鐔) made to be mounted on a long sword (katana 刀). It is made from forged iron (tetsu 鉄) that is very dense and well forged characteristic of Owari Province (Owari-jigane 尾張地金). The positive openwork (ji-suakshi 地透) is a bold stylized design of a water chestnut flower (hana-bishi 華菱). The symmetrical openwork is identical on both sides of the tsuba and is detailed using a type of line carving (kebori 毛彫) towards the center of the tsuba were the petals of the flower meet. The shape of the rim is rounded (maru-mimi 丸耳) and display a few small iron bones (tekkotsu 鉄骨). 
Sasano Masayuki sensei attributes this tsuba in his box inscription (hakogaki 箱書き) to be the work of the Owari (尾張) group. On the inside cover of the box he dates the tsuba to have been made sometime during the first half of the Edo Period (Edozenki 江戸前期). The box inscription was written by him in November of the first year of the Heisei Period (平成時代) 1989 CE.

Provenance: Unknown Purchased on Consignment

Taniseibei Tsuba (谷清兵衛鐔)


Japanese Title: 吹寄櫻図鐔 (fukiyosezakure no zu tsuba)
Material:  Iron (tetsu 鉄) 
Age: Late Edo Period (江戸時代後期)
Size:  7.9 cm X 8.1 cm, 3.0 mm at rim
Signature:  mumei (無銘)   
Shape:  Maru gata (丸形)
Surface Finish:  Migaki Ji (磨地)        
Attachment:  None


This is a handguard (tsuba 鐔) for a long sword (katana 刀). It is made of forged iron (tetsu 鉄). The popular design of cherry blossoms gathered by the wind (fukiyosezakure 吹寄櫻) on this tsuba is rendered in fine gold fabric style inlays (kin-nunome zōgan 金布目象厳). The worn appearance of some of the inlays is intentional to impart the sense of impermanence a characteristic of cherry blossoms. The same design is continued on the reverse side of the tsuba as well with the inlays using different rendering styles and types of gold alloy. The openwork design of the tsuba is common to other tsuba from Higo Province. It is simply referred to as left-right large openwork (sanyū o-sukashi 左右大透).
This tsuba is likely the work of the Higo Province (肥後國) based artist Taniseibei (谷清兵衛) Haynes Index ID# 08037.0.(1) There were two generations that worked during late Edo Period that used that name, but none of their works were ever fully signed. I estimate based upon the workmanship, style, design of this tsuba that it is the work of the first generation Taniseibei who lived from 1773 to 1843 CE. The small Tani (谷) School was based in the town surrounding Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto-jō 熊本城) and had familiar ties to the prestigious Kamiyoshi (神吉) School that served the Hosokawa family, lords of Higo Province. (2,3,4)

Reference:
1.    The Index of Japanese Sword Fittings and Associated Artists. Vol 3 by Robert E. Haynes, ©2001, page 1605.
2.    Tsuba An Aesthetic Study. by Robert E. Haynes and Dr. Kazutaro Torigoye, ©1997, pages 159-160.
3.    'Higo-tsuba Dandyism Expressed Through Iron' by Itō Mitsuru and Itō Sanpei, ©2014, page 23.
4.    Unpublished Personal Communication with Robert E. Haynes 12/17/2019.

 

Provenance: Curran Campbell Collection

Owari Tsuba (尾張鐔)


Japanese Title: 時計図透鍔 (tokei no zu sukashi tsuba) 
Material: Iron (tetsu 鉄)
Age:  Azuchi-Momoyama Period (安土桃山時代)  
Size:  6.8 cm X 7.1 cm, 8.2 mm at rim, 6.0 mm near the seppa-dai.
Signature: Mumei (無銘)   
Shape:  Maru-gata (丸形)
Surface Finish: Tsuchime-ji (槌目地) 
Attachment: None


This is a handguard (tsuba 鐔) made of forged iron (tetsu 鉄). The tsuba displays a nicely textured fine hammer worked surface (tsuchime-ji 槌目地). The bold positive openwork (ji-sukashi 地透) design is that of a gear from a western style clock (tokei 時計). The same design in continued the reverse side of the tsuba. The tsuba has a rounded-square shape rim (kaku-mimi koniku 角耳小肉). The thick rim displays many large iron bones (tekkotsu 鉄骨). The tsuba is very thick at the rim and noticeably thins towards the center where the seppa would be when placed (seppa-dai 切羽台).

I estimate based upon the workmanship, materials used, and style of the design that the tsuba dates from about the Azuchi-Momoyama Period circa the late 16th Century.

Provenance:  Dale Garbutt Collection