These menuki with the design of wasps are made of copper. The wings are covered in gold, while the wasp’s stripes are carefully inlaid with shakudo. A typical work of the Shonai school of swords fitting artists.
Material: base material shakudo, silver iroe nanako, gold
Era/jidai: late Edo period
Dimensions Kozuka: 96.8mm x 14.7mm x 5.0mm
Dimensions Kogai: 212.0mm x 12.3mm x 4.5mm
Papers: NBTHK Hozon
Kazutsura worked in Kyoto and died in 1814 at age 41. Therefore his works are rare and not often to find. He was a member of the Ozaki family and became a student of Uesugi Mitsunori. As he became an adopted son-in-law he took the family name “Uesugi”. His earlier works are signed “Ikkan” with two Kanji, later he signed “Kazutsura” with three Kanji.
In some literature it’s mentioned that Kazutsura went from Kyoto to Edo and entered the famous Ishiguro school. Later he returned to Kyoto and started his own shop. His famous pupil was Aritsune.
He worked mostly in iron and it is said, that among the Kyoto Kinko school his skill is considered only second to Tetsugendo Shoraku. But he worked also in shibuichi, suaka and gold. Nanako is not often found on his works.
This kozuka and kogai with the design of five insects form a daisho. That there is no moon or autumnal plants shown is a very spacial and distinctive feature of this set: No autumnal scene is shown, just a pure study and observation of insects. As the composition consists of various metals and also include nanako, it makes it an extremely rare set as there are not many works of him existing at all. As it is signed with three Kanji “Kazutsura”, this is a later work of him.
Currently the set is papered hozon by the NBTHK, but it will be a strong contestant for a juyo shinsa in the upcoming years.
ery rare wakizashi koshirae, were the tsuka is wrapped in a black lacquered copper wire, which has been polished again down to the copper core. This is something you come across not often. Along with the other copper fittings and the dark green saya, this koshirae has a tranquil flavor that is believed to have been worn by an older samurai.
The reserved taste with the hut (on the tsuba as well as the complete kashira) and the chickens, which are a symbol of territorial defense, also indicate that the former owner carefully arranged this koshirae to his personal mindset.
Further this koshirae is complete and no fittings are missing. The conditions is superp so only a minimal sign of ware is shown on the lower saya.
Saya: black lacquered with mother of pearl (aogai)
Era/jidai: fittings late Edo
Price: on request
A very elegant Daisho Koshirae with an equestrian theme of horses and horseback riding.
The fuchi kashira and menuki represent horses and are made of shakudo and gold.
The tsuba of the Dai and the Sho are very similar. Both show two saddles decorated with gold and some other horse-related items such as riding crops. The fukurin is made of an alloy containing silver, which gives the koshirae a counterpoint.
Also made of shakudo and gold, the kogai and kozuka continue the theme of the tsuba by also showing a saddle each.
The saya is lacquered with black stripes alternating with stripes of fine mother of pearl particles (aogai) that glow like a soft night sky with colors. Due to the perfect condition I think it was made after the taisho period.
The tsuka has recently been renewed and is colour-coordinated with some of the aogai and the winding is of the finest quality. The menuki seem to float above the tsuka and the end is carefully braided above the kashira which looks absolutely gorgeous.
100 Masterpieces from the Collection of Dr. Walter A. Compton by Christies
Released in 1992 when the famous collection of Walter A. Compton was auctioned off by Christies. The 100 Masterworks are described in English and shown in high-quality color images for Tosogu and black and white images for Blades.
321 pages, hardcover, clothbound, dustcover, slipcase, good condition
The Hartman Collection of Japanese Matalwork by Christies
This book is the catalog for the Tosogu “Hartman Collection” auction that took place in 1976. All 676 lots are described in English and Japanese. Most soft metal items have a color photo, iron tsuba are shown in black and white. What makes this catalog so interesting is a booklet with price estimates. Many great works of art have also emerged from this collection.
163 pages, hardcover, clothbound, good condition for a 46 year old book
Lethal Elegance – The Art of Japanese Sword Fittings by Joe Earle
This English language book was published in 2004 by Joe Earle (Boston Museum of Fine Arts). It shows 150 high-quality sword fittings with a focus on their style and techniques. Visual effects of different alloys as well as evolution and symbolism are also discussed and explained.
The first book was published by Shoyukai in 1982 and contains nearly 180 important Tosogu items from the Muromachi to Meiji periods in good color pictures. All descriptions are in Japanese and English.
Vol.1 ~80 pages, clothbound, good condition, cover has discoloration due to sunlight
Iron Tsuba – The Works of the Exhibition “Kurogane no Hana”
This book, published by NBTHK in 2014, was created for the “Kurogane no Hana” exhibition held at NBTHK’s museum. All descriptions are in Japanese and English. This exhibition featured very important iron tsuba.
This book is a copy of the book on the famous Oeder collection. The condition is good.
If you manage to find the original book through the Oeder Collection, you will find it very expensive because it is very rare. But that is not necessary as this book provides equally good information about one of the famous Tosogu collections.
Studiensammlung japanischer Schwertzierrate by Robert E. Haynes
Book in good condition, all pages are fine, some slight discoloration due to age on the cover
Published in 2010 by Robert E. Haynes, this book contains photos and descriptions of around 180 tsuba, representing the pinnacle of Robert Haynes’ collection. All photos are in color and in original size. A section with signatures completes this book.
A shibuichikogai made by the famous mito artist Takase Eiju.
An octopus and two monkeys are put on the nanoko base. The octopus is made of copper while the monkeys are made of shakudo and what appears to be silver. The monkeys faces are accented with copper and their eyes are made of gold, like the eyes of the octopus. All the carvings are very delicate, Takase Eiju shows us how much detail can be represented in a small space. Since this kogai has a beautiful tapering, the appearance is rather elegant. As I’m not sure about the design, I believe this kogai was worn by an older samurai who didn’t need a “flashy” kogai but something to reflect something personal to him. Maybe the NBTHK will tell us more about the name of the design as the kogai is on the way to shinsa.