Categories
Kozuka

Kaga – Insects

Kozuka: Kaga “Insects”

Signature/mei: Unsigned

Material: shakudo, gold

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension: 97.0 x 13.8 mm

NBTHK: Guarantee for Hozon

Custom made high quality kiri box with cushion

Price: €600 / $660 / ¥100000

Kozuka from the Kaga school of sword fitting artist with the motif of insects. The insects are made of gold and inlaid using a technique called hira-zogan, for which the Kaga school is famous. On the back side we see some yasurime.

Together with this tsuba it would make a wonderful set.

Categories
Tsuba

Kyo Sukashi – Connected Weights

Tsuba: Kyo Sukashi – Design of connected weights

Signature/mei: Unsigned

Material: Iron

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension(h/w/d): 76.8 x 76.4 x 5.6 mm

NBTHK: Hozon (2023 – Kyo)

Custom made kiri box with cushion

Price: €1500 / $1650 / ¥250000

Kyo-Sukashi tsuba with the external shape of a chrysanthemum. The design itself shows connected weights, which is a common motif, especially in sukashi-tsuba.
The patina and condition of this tsuba are excellent.

Categories
Tsuba

Kyo Sukashi – Karigane

Tsuba: Kyo Sukashi – Karigane

Signature/mei: Unsigned

Material: Iron

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension(h/w/d): 77.9 x 75.8 x 5.8 mm

NBTHK: Hozon (2020 – Kyo)

Custom made kiri box with cushion

Price: €1500 / $1650 / ¥250000

Categories
Fuchi Kashira

Mito – Dragon in Clouds

Fuchi Kashira: Dragon in Clouds

Signature/mei: mumei

Material: solid gold / gold, shakudo

Era/jidai: late Edo

Kashira Dimension: 37.1 x 20.8 x 8.4 mm – 15g

Fuchi Dimension: 41.8 x 24.8 x 7.7 mm – 23g

Custom made box with cushion

NBTHK: Hozon (Mito)

Price:  €4000 / $4500 / ¥660000

This fuchi-kashira is attributed to the Mito school of tosogu artists. The kashira is made of solid gold and features the famous motif of a dragon in clouds.
The base plate of the fuchi is made of deep black shakudo and the outer edge is also made of solid gold. On the fuchi the dragon can be seen again flying through the clouds, but in the meantime the dragon has caught the pearl and is holding it in its claws.

Categories
Tsuba

Sendai – Ajiro 

Tsuba: Sendai – Ajiro no zu tsuba

Signature/mei: unsigned

Material: shakudo, gold

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension(h/w/d): 70.7 x 65.9 x 5.0 mm

NBTHK: Hozon (2021 – mumei Sendai)

Custom made kiri box with cushion

Price: €3030 / $3333 / ¥500000

Exceptionally, very well and detailed cut Sendai tsuba in sukidashi-bori technique with ajiro pattern.
The shape of the tsuba is oval (naga maru gata) and it’s made from a very dark and heavy shakudo.
It has two hitsu-ana, the hitsu for the kozuka is sealed with shakudo that was given a beautifully chiseled surface.
The fukurin is plated with gold, this contrast gives the tsuba a very attractive aesthetic.
The fact that the tsuba is unsigned, despite its elaborate and high quality, which certainly required a lot of time and work, suggests that it was made for a samurai of higher rank.
The condition is breathtaking and to keep it in this pristine state the tsuba comes in a custom made box with raised base at the seppadai.

Categories
Koshirae

Tachi Koshirae Mon

Koshirae for a Tachi

Signature/mei: mumei

Era/jidai: Modern

Dimensions:

  • Saya: 77.5 cm
  • Tsuka: 26 cm
  • Total: 104 cm

Price: €3500 / $3850 / ¥560000

Please note that this is a modern replica of an Itomaki-no-Tachi Koshirae. But nonetheless – with the fine paintwork – it looks nice and is a decorative display piece.

Categories
Sword

Hiromichi – Daisho

A real daisho (dai and sho papered together)

Dai signed 伊勢国桑名住三品廣道作 Ise (no) Kuni Kuwana  Mishina Hiromichi saku

Shō signed 伊勢国住三品廣道作 Ise (no) Kuni  Mishina Hiromichi saku

Both are dated 元治元年八月吉日 Genji gannen hachigatsu kichijitsu (a lucky day in August of 1864)

shinogi-zuruki, low iori-mune

Sorikasane and mihaba are moderate, strong hira-nikuchū-kissaki, fine ko-itame-hada, the shinogi-ji shows masame

hamon is ko-nie-deki gunome-midare with a bright nioiguchiashisunagashi, and kinsen; Profuse ji-nie, forming jubashiri towards the shinogi, typical Mishina-bōshi and –yakidashi

Polished by Ikeda Nagamasa

Dimensions Dai:
Nagasa: 71.5 cm
Nakago: 21.0 cm
Sori: 1.6 cm
Motohaba: 3.2 cm
Motokasane: 0.8 cm
Sakihaba: 2.3 cm
Sakikasane: 0.6 cm

Dimensions Shō:
Nagasa: 35.0 cm
Nakago: 12.5 cm
Sori: 0.5 cm
Motohaba: 3.0 cm
Motokasane: 0.73 cm
Sakihaba: 2.28 cm
Sakikasane: 0.56 cm

Price: €18750 / $20700 / ¥ 3000000

This is a very special and extremely rare item. A real daisho: both blades are made and signed by the same smith. Also, both are dated to the same day. Further, the style of the the blades, deki and hamon, are also equal.

Both swords are papered on the same Tokubetsu Hozon certificate by the NBTHK. You will not come across this very often, neither in or outside of Japan.

Both blades come in shirasaya and each blade is accompanied by a beautiful oshigata.

For the wakizashi a koshirae from the edo period exists, however, the one for the katana is missing.

Katana (Dai)

XXL-Picture

Wakizashi (Sho)

XXL-Picture

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Categories
Accessoires

Kabuki – Doll in Showcase

Doll – Kabucki Actor

Dimension (doll): 39.5 x 26 x 21 cm

Dimension (case): 53 x 36.5 x 29 cm

Price: €1250 / $1375 / ¥200000

Vintage doll of a performing Kabuki actor in a beautiful costume. Everything is handmade and the expressive facial expression is hand painted.

The frame of the showcase is made of black painted wood. The door and side walls are made of glass. The back wall and bottom are made of gold-colored thin wood or paper mache.
A very impressive looking hand-made andh and hand-painted doll.

Categories
Kozuka

Yoshioka – Chrysanthemum

Kozuka: Yoshioka “Chrysanthemum”

Signature/mei: unsigned

Material: shakudo, gold, silver

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension: 97.6 x 14.4 mm

NBTHK: Hozon (Mumei Yoshioka) from 2002

Custom made quality kiri box with cushion

Price: €890 / $980 / ¥140000

Kozuka from the Yoshioka school of sword fitting artist with the motif of a chrysanthemum arrangement.
On the shakudo-nanako base we see a chrysanthemum flower arrangement which is also made of shakudo and accented with gold (iroe) and silver.

Categories
Kozuka

Kaga – Cricket

Kozuka: Kaga “Cricket”

Signature/mei: unsigned

Material: shakudo, shibuichi, gold

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension: 98.7 x 14 mm

NBTHK: Hozon (Kaga)

Custom made high quality kiri box with cushion

Price: €1000 / $1100 / ¥160000

Kozuka from the Kaga school of sword fitting artist with the motif of a cricket. The cricket is made of gold and inlaid using a technique called hira-zogan, for which the Kaga school is famous.
A decoration is added to the front which seems to be made from shibuchi that gives the kozuka a nice balance.
Together with this tsuba it would make a wonderful set.

Categories
Tsuba

Akasaka – Bell Cricket

Tsuba: Akasaka “Bell Cricket”

Signature/mei: unsigned

Material: iron

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension(h/w/d): 69 x 69 x 5.7 mm

NBTHK: Hozon (Akasaka)

Custom made kiri box with cushion and sayagaki

Price: €800 / $880 / ¥130000

Iron sukashi tsuba from the famous Akasaka group with the design of a bell cricket.

Categories
Tsuba

Tusurukame

Tsuba: Tsurukame

Signature/mei: unsigned

Material: iron, gold

Era/jidai: late Edo

Dimension(h/w/rim): 68 x 65 x 5.3 mm

Price: €380 / $420 / ¥60000

TSURUKAME (crane and turtle) is the title of a well-known NO theater piece and this is a pictorial representation of it. TSURU (Crane) and KAME (Turtle) are the symbols of happiness and long life.
The crane stands for luck, prosperity and elegance. The long-lived turtle called minogame , recognizable by the long algae on its shell, stands for health and a long life.
On this nearly round (maru gata) ji-sukashi tsuba, the crane and the turtle are worked out of the iron base plate and show details of kebori carving with some accents in gold (iroe).
The tsuba has two hitsu-ana, also with accents of gold.

Categories
Tsuba

Shippo mon

Tsuba: Shippo mon

Signature/mei: unsigned

Material: iron

Era/jidai: late Edo

Dimension(h/w/rim): 73.1 x 69.2 x 4.5 mm

Price: €625 / $690 / ¥100000

It’s hard to imagine the painstaking work that went into this tsuba to create the shippo mon.
The mon pattern also makes the two hitsu-ana look very unusual, making the tsuba appear even more interesting.

Categories
Tsuba

Nanban – Galleon

Tsuba: Nanban – Galleon

Signature/mei: unsigned

Material: iron

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension: 77.5 x 68.5 x 5.1mm

NBTHK: Guarantee for Hozon (Nanban school)

Custom made kiri box with cushion

Price: €1250 / $1390 / ¥200000

Very well cut Nanban tsuba with the motif of a – perhaps Portuguese – galleon.
Please compare this tsuba to the very similar tsuba shown in the book “Nanban tsuba” by Shigeta Yoshimura.

Tsuba comparison:

“Western Ship”

Figure taken from “Nanban Tsuba” by Shigeta Yoshimura

Tsuba comparison 2:

“Western Ship with Sailors”

Figure taken from “Nanban Tsuba” by Shigeta Yoshimura

Tsuba comparison 3:

“Western Ship” with gold coloring kin iroe

Figure taken from “Nanban Tsuba” by Shigeta Yoshimura

Categories
Tsuba

Umetada – Budō-mon no tsuba

Tsuba: Umetada “Budō-mon no tsuba”

Signature/mei: Umetada

Material: shakudō ground, various soft metals

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension(h/w/rim): 66.8 x 61.1 x 4.1 mm

Custom made box with cushion

NBTHK: Tokubetsu Hozon (2022)

Price: €9375 / $10350 / ¥1500000

About the Umetada School

The Umetada School has existed since the end of the Muromachi period and has worked for the Ashikaga Shogun’s family for several generations. The Umetada masters were very versatile; In addition to swords, they also made habaki, seppa, fuchi kashira and tsuba. The Umetada were also responsible for shortening blades and creating kin-zogan signatures, as well as engraving Horimono.

Menuki, kogai and kozuka are not known from the Umetada, which is mainly because the masters of the Goto school were commissioned with this work.

The design “Budō-mon no zu tsuba” translates to “tsuba with the design of grapevines”, a design, for which some artist of the Umetada school are famous for. A tsuba with a similar design “Budō ni kochō-mon no zu tsuba” (see comparison 1) by Umetada Myōju is even designated as jūyō-bunkazai. Both tsuba have nearly the same size and are made from a polished shakudō plate, in which the grapes are inlaid in a technique called hirā-zōgan.
The shape of the tsuba is tatemaru-gata (oval) with a fukurin (rim) made also from shakudō.
The tsuba has one hitsu-ana and some sukashi elements. Umetada tsuba are known to have sukashi elements, particular also for this design, for example as the ito-sukashi on the tsuba in comparison 4.
The sukashi on the presented tsuba are placed very delicately below the hitsu ana and underline the design very tastefully. A true masterpiece with the signature “Umetada”.
(Please also note this tsuba by Umetada Shigeyoshi.)

Tsuba comparison 1:

“Budō ni kochō-mon no zu tsuba”

Designated as jūyō-bunkazai and signed “Umeta Myōju”

futatsū-mokkōgata, polished shakudō, hira-zōgan, iroe, dote-mimi, one hitsu-ana

Figure taken from “Tosogu Classroom” by Fukushi Shigeo

Tsuba comparison 1:

“Budō ni kochō-mon no zu tsuba”

Figure taken from “Tosogu Classroom” by Fukushi Shigeo

Tsuba comparison 2:

“Budō-mon no zu tsuba”

Signed “Umetada Shichiza”

Early Edo period (1624-1644)

Very simlar to the presented tsuba, but without sukashi and in futatsū-mokkōgata

Figure taken from “Tosogu no Kansho II”

Tsuba comparison 2:

“Budō-mon no zu tsuba”

Figure taken from “Tosogu no Kansho II”

Tsuba comparison 3:

“Budō-mon no zu tsuba”

Signed “Umeta Myōju”

futatsū-mokkōgata, polished suakahira-zōganiroedote-mimi, one hitsu-ana

Simlar to the jūyō-bunkazai tsuba shown above but in suaka instead of shakudō

Figure taken from “Tosogu Classroom” by Fukushi Shigeo

Tsuba comparison 3:

“Budō-mon no zu tsuba”

Figure taken from “Tosogu Classroom” by Fukushi Shigeo

Tsuba comparison 4:

“Budō-dana ni budō no zu tsuba”

Signed “Umeta Shichizaemon Tachibana Shigeyoshi saku”

tatemaru-gata, polished shakudō, ito-sukashi, hira-zōgan, iroe, shakudō-fukurin, two hitsu-ana

Figure taken from “Tosogu Classroom” by Fukushi Shigeo

Categories
Tsuba

Chrysanthemum – Saotome

Tsuba: Saotome Chrysanthemum

Signature/mei: unsigned

Material: iron

Era/jidai: Momoyama

Dimension: (h)92.7mm/(w)93.1mm/(rim)6.1mm

NBTHK: Hozon (2022 – Mumei Saotome)

Kiri box

Price: €1600 / $1750 / ¥250000

Large Saotome tsuba with no hitsu ana. Due to the size above 9cm and with the typical Saotome Chrysanthemum design with no hitsu ana, it could have been made during the Momoyama period.

Categories
Menuki

Momoyama Goto – Dragons

Menuki: Dragons

Signature/mei: mumei

School: Goto (mainline)

Material: gold

Era/jidai: early Edo

Dimensions left in mm: 32.2 x 14.6 x 5.3

Dimensions right in mm: 33.6 x 13.6 x 5.6

Custom made kiri box

NBTHK: Hozon (2009) – Mumei Goto (Momoyama)

Price: €4100/ $4500 / ¥650000

The term “Momoyama-Goto” covers the fourth to seventh generation of the main Goto line, also called the Shirobei line. So here we see menuki that may have been made by Goto Kojo (4th), Goto Tokujo (5th), Goto Eijo (6th) or Goto Kenjo (7th).
What makes this menuki with dragons so interesting and sets it apart from other dragon motifs is the very fine, accentuated carving of the two dragons, which is very detailed. If we just look closely at the number of scales (or casing), these two are much better and more detailed compared to other Kaga Goto or even mainline Goto designs.
These menuki are also slightly higher compared to other major works, which makes the dragon appear more alive. The two appear also very lively due to the deep carvings, perhaps not as austere as one would expect from a mainline Goto design. It’s really fun to watch as the dragon sticks out its tongue and holds the captured pearl in its claws. What is impressive is that these menuki, which were certainly mounted (recognizable by the slightly rubbed highest point), are in such great condition and all details such as spines, claws, tail and tongue are still preserved.
Further research is required for these menuki to further pinpoint the Goto master who made them. Since it is now the Year of the Dragon, it is time to release the dragon into the wild.


Categories
Accessoires

Katana Kake – red laquer Peonies

Katana Kake – Peonies

For 7 swords, red laquered

Era/jidai: late Edo / early Meiji

Dimension: (h)58.5cm/(w)47.5cm/(d)26.5cm

Price: €3200 / $3500 / ¥500000

Consisting of five interlocked parts, decorated in relief in red carved lacquer. Decorated with peonies on the front and stylized flowers on the sides. Otherwise everything is based on small, fine patterns.

Please not this auction comparison of a similar tachi mount.

Categories
Accessoires

Katana Kake – Antler

Katana Kake – Antler

For 2 swords

modern

origin unknown

Price: €350 / $390

Categories
Accessoires

Collectors box

Collector box (for tsuba etc.)

No interior

5 compartments

Mother of pearl inlays

Price: €490 / $540

Categories
Tsuba

Umetada Shigeyoshi – Tsudagawa River

Tsuba: Umetada Shigeyoshi – “Tsudagawa River”

Signature/mei: Josyu Nishijin Ju Umetada Tachibana Shigeyoshi

Material: iron, gold

Era/jidai: late Edo

Dimension: (h)83.9mm/(w)77.8mm/(rim)4.0mm

Custom made box with cushion

NBTHK: Hozon (2022)

Price: €1250 / $1390 / ¥200000

Located near Nara, the Tsudagawa River has long been known for its colorful fall foliage. On the slightly oval (naga maru gata) shaped tsuba, we can see the river waves and some leaves flowing on it, carved from the iron plate using a technique called sukidashi-bori. Parts of the leaves and some gout drops are carefully colored in gold.
Nara is not far from Kyoto where the Umetada school was located, which makes this tsuba so interesting as it is signed by Umetada Tachibana Shigeyoshi. He chose a subject close to his own workshop.

Depending on the literature (Haynes, Fukushi Shigeo), there were three or four Umetada artists who signed “Shigeyoshi”. Therefore, it is difficult to determine exactly who made this tsuba. Some similar works can be found at The Met or in the Boston Museum!

The Umetada School

The Umetada School has existed since the end of the Muromachi period and has worked for the Ashikaga Shogun’s family for several generations. The Umetada masters were very versatile; In addition to swords, they also made habaki, seppa, fuchi kashira and tsuba. The Umetada were also responsible for shortening blades and creating kin-zogan signatures, as well as engraving Horimono.

Menuki, kogai and kozuka are not known from the Umetada, which is mainly because the masters of the Goto school were commissioned with this work.
(Please also note this masterpiece tsuba by Umetada.)

Josyu Nishijin Ju Umetada Tachibana Shigeyoshi
Categories
Menuki

Kyo Kinko – Hyōtan Namazu

Menuki: Hyōtan Namazu

Signature/mei: mumei

School: Kyo Kinko

Material: shakduo, gold

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimensions: (left): 33.3mm x 12.0mm

Dimensions (right): 31.0mm x 14.2mm

Custom made kiri box

NBTHK: Hozon (2015) – “Hyōtan Namazu” – Kyo Kinko

Price: €1375 / $1500 / ¥220000

These menuki show the motif “Hyōtan Namazu“, a catfish, which is made here from shakudo. His eyes, as well as the pumpkin bottle, are inlaid in gold.

The Ōnamazu (大鯰 ‘giant catfish’) is a fictional, giant catfish (namazu) that was supposedly the cause of earthquakes in Japan.

There are various variations of the “Hyōtan Namazu” motif, which can literally be translated as “bottle gourd catfish”. Sometimes a person is shown climbing onto a catfish with that (pumpkin) bottle or “riding” on the catfish. Another time a monkey is depicted instead of a human.

All of these “Hyōtan Namazu” motifs allude to the question or the Zen riddle of whether you can catch a catfish with a bottle.

The motif is a metaphor for the fact that even seemingly impossible tasks can be achieved through personal effort.

This motif was probably created in Ōtsu on Lake Biwa during the Edo period, the so-called Ōtsu-e colored woodblock prints, on which this metaphor was often used.

Ōtsu on Lake Biwa was the last stop on the Tōkaidō and Nakasendō highways before reaching the capital Kyoto.

To come back to the menuki, they also come from a studio in Kyoto and therefore have a Hozon certificate to “Kyo Kinko” (soft metal from Kyoto).

Categories
Menuki

Ko-Goto “Millet”

Menuki: Millet

Signature/mei: mumei

School: Ko-Goto

Material: shakduo, gold

Era/jidai: Momoyama

Dimensions: (left): 36.1mm x 12.7mm

Dimensions (right): 35.6mm x 13.1mm

Kiri box

NBTHK: Hozon (2021) – “Millet” – Ko Goto

Price: €950 / $1050 / ¥150000

The term “Ko-Goto” covers the first three generations of the Goto main line, also called the Shirobei line. So here we see menuki, which may have been made by Goto Yujo (1st generation), Goto Sojo (2nd generation) or Goto Joshin (3rd generation) who lived and worked in the Momoyama period.
The age of the menuki is also noticeable in the slightly rubbed gold plating, through which the base material, here shakudo, stands out. However, this is not a disadvantage; on the contrary, it contributes to the Japanese aesthetic. It also shows that these menuki were mounted on a tsuka and where they were used.
The design of “Millet” also points to a work by Goto.

Categories
Tsuba

Nara- Swallows and Waves

Tsuba: Nara – “Swallows and Waves”

Signature/mei: Nara (kao)

Material: brass, shakudo, gold, copper

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension: (h)76.2mm/(w)73.8mm/(rim)4.7mm

Custom made box with cushion

NBTHK: Tokubetsu Hozon (2018)

Price: €3150 / $3500 / ¥500000

The Nara school of kinko tosogu artist

Along with the Yokoya and Goto schools, the Nara school is one of the three major kinko schools. They represent some of the most important schools of kinko tosogu. Later schools are often modifications or developments of these main schools.
The school produced many students who were allowed to bear the name “Nara”. (Like this tsuba we see here in front of us.) Today we assume 7 generations of the mainline Nara school, wich in turn also had many students.
The founder of the Nara School is said to have been Nara resident Toshiteru (1579-1629), but unfortunately not all details from this period have been preserved.
Incidentally, the Nara artists were officially employed by the Bakufu under the title of “metal craftsmen” (kazari-shi), in contrast to the Goto artists who were employed as engravers (horimono-shi).
Many famous artists emerged from the Nara School, to name just one: Nara Toshinaga. But big names like “Tuchiya Yasuchika” and “Hamano Shozui” were also students of Nara artists and were influenced by this school.

As is often the case, the patina on this brass tsuba has developed really nicely. The raised edge beautifully frames the scene of two swallows flying over waves. As if we were looking at a picture painted by this Nara school artist. Both swallows are decorated in shakudo with some fine copper and gold accents. Gold was also used for the gout drops created by the waves – reaching up to the ura side. The overall impression is clearly a Nara school tsuba. Luckily the tsuba is also signed with “Nara” and “kao”.

Categories
Tsuba

Kaga – Tomomasa – Crickets and Cage

Tsuba: Kaga – “Autumn insects with cage”

Signature/mei: Tomomasa Miyazuomi (kao)

Material: shakudo, gold

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension: (h)74.5mm/(w)70.6mm/(d)4.5mm

Custom made box with cushion

NBTHK: Hozon (2021)

Price: €2500 / $2800 / ¥400000

Tsuba from the school – or the region – Kaga, which when they where signed, are difficult to find, as most of tsuba or kodogu from Kaga was left unsigned. This tsuba shows a famous design: “Autumn insects with cage”. During the Edo period, some artists called “Tomomasa” were active in Kaga. Further research is needed to determine which Tomomasa made this tsuba and, more importantly, when.
Here is another example for Kaga which would make a wonderful set.

The shape is a perfect mix of maru gata (round) and nara maru gata (oval) as it is slightly larger in height than in width, which is not noticeable at first glance but gives a more aesthetic taste to the overall impression. Even though it is more of a medium sized tsuba, the seppa dai is raised to the height of the rim, creating a small valley in the middle of the tsuba, making it very interesting to look at.
While the decorative design elements are placed more on the right side, the upper left part remains untouched. This is of course intentional, because if the tsuba would be mounted on a sword, the sword wielder’s thumb would rest here.
I don’t want to say that it was the thumb of a samurai: Since this tsuba was made during the Edo period, it is very likely that this tsuba was carried by a marchant. During the Edo period, merchants became a wealthy class and were allowed to carry a short sword, the wakizashi. Due to the size of this tsuba, it is surprisingly suitable for a wakizashi.
Also the workmanship and the materials used for this tsuba suggest, that it would have been an expensice tsuba. As samurai became poorer and poorer during the Edo period, it seems that is was the tsuba of a merchant or a samurai of higher rank.
Ultimately, the tsuba could have been a gift for simple viewing pleasure. Tomomasa put his signature on the backside, so that the omote is not disturbed when the tsuba is looked at when it’s not mounted.
But there are some traces near the nakago hitsu ana that the tsuba in fact was mounted and used. As there are no tagane, I think the tsuba was mounted only on one sword, maybe even custom made to fit perfectly without further need of modification.

The subject of the tsuba is “Autumn insects with cage”. In Japan it was common to catch cicadas and place them in a special cage, so that the sounds the cidaca create, it’s music, could be enjoyed.
On the omote we see two cicadas, inlayed with gold in a technique called hira zogan – “flat inlay”. The cicada itself is engraved with fine kiriba.
It’s legs and antennas, as well as the cage, are inlayed in very small hairline carving, which is common and typical for kaga tsuba. Also some blades of grass are depicted in the very same technique.

Finally, we come to the ura side where also a bit of grass is visible along with the artist’s signature:

Categories
Tsuba

Myochin Katsumi – Shishi Face

Tsuba: Engraved face of Shishi

Signature/mei: Myochin Katsumi Ki no Munenaga

Material: iron

Era/jidai: very late Edo (1866)

Dimension: (h)81.6mm/(w)81.3mm/(d)2.4mm

Custom made box with cushion

Price: €1700 / $1900

Unique and rare, very finely chased iron Myochin tsuba with the face of a grimly smiling Shishi. On the ura we find a very extensive signature:

Keio ninen hachi gatsu kichijitsu
Myochin Katsumi Ki no Munenaga saku
Sakamoto Naokata Ouju
On a lucky day in the eight month of Keijo two (1866)
Myochin Katsumi Ki no Munenaga saku
Made on behalf of Sakamoto Naotaka

The roots of the Myochin family can be traced back to the Heian period. During this time – and many generations later – the Myochin made armor for samurai and bridles for horses. It is amazing that the Myochin masters continued to be active for many generations until the end of the Edo period, producing iron works such as this unusual tsuba.

Categories
Tsuba

Edo Higo

Tsuba: Edo Higo

Signature/mei: unsigned/mumei

Material: iron, gold, silver

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimension: (h)82.1mm/(w)77.5mm/(d)4.9mm/(rim)3mm

Box with cushion

NBTHK: Hozon (2023) – Edo Higo

Price: €950 / $1050

Edo Higo iron tsuba with diversely artistic designs in gold on the omote and silver on the ura side. The two hitsuana also are typical for a work by Higo artists.

Categories
Tsuba

Tanaka-Toryusai

Tsuba: Tanaka-Toryusai school

Signature/mei: mumei

Material: iron, shakudo, gold

Era/jidai: late Edo

Form: slightly mokko

Dimensions: 7.1 cm x 6,4 cm x 0.45 cm (rim)

Kiri box

NBTHK: Hozon – “Sugi Tree” – Toryusai school

Price: €1690 / $1870 / ¥250000

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This tsuba is a fine example of the famous Tanaka-Toryusai school.

Sometimes the design on tsuba can be sort of an abstract type. Then there are tsuba which depicts a design in the fullest of possibilities. And then there are tsuba, where you have to use your imagination to see the “whole picture” as parts of the design are missing or – more precisely – left out due to the limited space on these little works of art.

Here we have such a piece.

At first glance we see a tree placed to the very right carved in bold kiriba into the fine iron plate. At the base of the tree grow some bushes inlayed in shakudo and coloured with gold. A large branch of the tree, also in kiriba, reaches over the nakago ana far into the left side of the tsuba. The left side of the tsuba is mostly empty just balanced by the one hitsuana.

Just above the hitsu ana – inlayed in shakudo and accented with gold – we see a bird flying in front of the tree’s leaves. The leaves are represented as inlaid dots of gold.

The bird and the undergrowth together with the tree create two depth layers.

Then our gaze falls on the bottom of the tsuba. There is a larger sukashi (and a smaller one). The area around the sukashi is coloured in silver. But parts of the sukashi don’t make to the other side. So the larger suksashi isn’t so big after all and “inside” the sukashi we see something in silver…

The moon! The moon is just rising behind the tree, illuminating the area “around the sukashi” in soft moonlight. That the moon is placed behind the tree is only possible because the tree is on a very steep mountain, which of course we have to imagine. Such steep mountain landscapes are often found in Japan.

The moon adds another depth layer to the tsuba, transforming the steep mountain landscape into a late-evening, early-breaking scenery.

The design is repeated on the omote, here the branch of the tree is inlaid in shakudo and coloured with gold.

Simply beautiful and a clever design. A small masterpiece by the Tanaka-Toryusai school.

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Categories
Tsuba

Sakura

Tsuba: Sakura

Signature/mei: Suzuki Kanju

Material: iron

Era/jidai: late Edo

Dimension: 7.23 cm x 6.95 cm x 0.49 cm

Custom made Kiri box with cussion

NBTHK: Hozon (2023)

Price: €1570 / $1750 / ¥250000

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Many sakura blossoms are carved from the iron base plate. The blossoms extend over the rim and continue on the ura side of this wonderful tsuba. The iron of the plate is a hard and strongly forged iron. Two hitsu ana, the one for the kogai is closed with shakudo.

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Categories
Tsuba

Owari

Tsuba: Owari

Signature/mei: mumei

Material: iron

Era/jidai: Edo

Form: round

Dimensions: 7.5 cm x 0.5 cm

Price: €1570 / $1750 / ¥250000

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Categories
Tsuba

Akasaka

Tsuba: Akasaka

Signature/mei: mumei

Material: iron

Era/jidai: Edo

Form: round

Dimensions: 7.7 cm x 0.67 cm

Price: €990 / $1090 / ¥160000

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A perfectly round tsuba from the famous Akasaka school. This tsuba is from a later generation and thus dates from the Edo period. The iron is carefully forged and develops a beautiful patina that is in good condition. The kogai hitsuana has sekigane from shakudo.

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Categories
Koshirae

Dragon-Shishi Daisho

Daisho Koshirae: Dragons and Shishi

Signature/mei: unsigned/mumei

Materials:

  • Tsuba: shakudo, gold
  • Menuki: shakudo, gold
  • Fuchi kashira: shakudo, gold
  • Saya: bown, black, red bamboo shavings

Era/jidai: late Edo

Dimensions dai:

  • Saya: 74.4cm
  • Tsuka: 23.9cm
  • Total: 99.0cm

Dimensions sho:

  • Saya: 58.0cm
  • Tsuka: 18.8cm
  • Total: 77.5cm

Price: €7500 / $8300

Elegant Daisho Koshirae with the theme of dragons and shishi.

The condition is very good. The saya for the Dai shows slight signs of wear (see photos).

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Categories
Tsuba

Sakura ji-sukashi

Tsuba: Kagezakuramon – Modern

Signature/mei: unsigned/mumei (Lorenzo Amati)

Material: Iron, ji-sukashi, mokko gata

Era/jidai: Modern ca. 2014

Dimension: 7.7 cm x 7.76 cm x 0.52

Custom kiri box with artist seal,

inner fabrik in blue-green “rokusho” (緑青)

Price: €650 / $720

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Lorenzo Amati, a pupil of Ford Hallam, made this modern interpretation of a mokko shaped jisukashi tsuba with sakura design. Two hitsu ana, copper sekigane in a custom handmade box with very nice fabric..

Website of artist/smith: Lorenzo Amati -Tumblr

Facebook of artist/smith: Lorenzo Amati Facebook

Here are some impressions of the tsuba:
(Copyright by Lorenzo Amati)

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Categories
Koshirae

Itomaki No Tachi

Itomaki No Tachi Koshirae

Signature/mei: mumei

Materials:

  • Tsuba: iron, copper
  • Fuchi kashira: copper
  • Menuki: shakudo, gold
  • Saya: Black kuroishime lacquer

Era/jidai: Edo

Dimensions:

  • Saya: 79cm
  • Tsuka: 25cm
  • Total: 105cm

Papers: NBTHK Hozon (2019)

Price: €6875 / $7600 / ¥1000000

Koshirae from the Edo period in mint condition with only minor signs of wear.
The tusuka is covered with ray skin with a light green wrapping. All fittings are made of copper and only the tsuba itself is made of iron with the rim being made of silver.
Without any fancy decoration, it was worn by a simple samurai and the Paulownia-Mon menuki (made from shakudo) alone gives us an idea of where and how the original owner could have been classified.
This koshirae would fit into any collection that focuses on genuine everyday items worn by samurai that are crafted for function rather than showiness.
I highly recommend this koshirae due to its rarity. Its authenticity is confirmed by the accompanying hozon certificate and it will also receive tokubetsu hozon if submitted.

Categories
Koshirae

Handachi Koshirae

Koshirae for a Katana

Signature/mei: mumei

Materials:

  • Tsuba: iron, gold
  • Fuchi kashira: shakudo, gold
  • Menuki: shakudo, gold
  • Saya: Red and black urushi lacquer
  • Tsuka: Black leather

Era/jidai: late Edo

Dimensions:

  • Saya: 77.5cm
  • Tsuka: 23.2cm
  • Total: 101.5cm

Price: €3600 / $3999

Koshirae for a long katana in pristine condition without any dents.

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Categories
Koshirae

Katana Koshirae

Koshirae for a Katana

Signature/mei: mumei

Materials:

  • Tsuba: iron, gold
  • Fuchi kashira: shakudo, gold
  • Menuki: shakudo, gold
  • Saya: Red and black urushi lacquer
  • Tsuka: Black leather

Era/jidai: late Edo

Dimensions:

  • Saya: 77.5cm
  • Tsuka: 23.2cm
  • Total: 101.5cm

Price: €3350 / $3690

Koshirae for a long katana in pristine condition without any dents.

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Categories
Menuki

Shonai “Wasps”

Menuki: Wasps

Signature/mei: mumei

School: Shonai

Material: copper, gold, shakukdo

Era/jidai: Edo period

Dimensions: (left): 17.9mm x 18.8mm x 3.6/6.44mm

Dimensions (right): 25.0mm x 15.6mm x 3.5/5.4mm

Kiri box

Price: €888 / $980 / ¥150000

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.
Currently, there is no attribution by the NBTHK, but I guarantee at least for hozon.

Categories
Koshirae

Katana Koshirae Kawari Nuri

Koshirae for a Katana

Signature/mei: mumei

Materials:

  • Tsuba: iron, gold and silver nunome
  • Fuchi kashira: iron, gold
  • Saya: Kawari nuri in swirl design
  • Tsuka: Black lacquered same

Era/jidai: late Edo

Dimensions:

  • Saya: 76.8cm
  • Tsuka: 25.0cm
  • Total: 102.2cm

Price: €3700 / $4070 / ¥600000

The tsuba of this koshirae depicts a dragon in a cloud comes with a NBTHK hozon paper which attributes the tsuba to Wakashiba.

The design of the tsuba matches the fuchi kashira which also show dragons in clouds and continue the workman ship of the tsuba.

This type of finish is called kawari-nuri and the condition is absolutely pristine with no dents or cracks. A truly magnificent and rare piece of craftsmanship in this condition.

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Categories
Koshirae

Koshirae for a tanto or wakizashi

Koshirae for small wakizashi or large tanto

Signature/mei: mumei

Materials:

  • Tsuba: shakudo, gold
  • Fuchi kashira: shakudo,
  • Kozuka: shakudo
  • Saya/tsuka: red lacquered

Era/jidai: late Edo

Dimensions:

  • Saya: 47.0cm
  • Tsuka: 15.5cm
  • Total: 63.0cm

Price: €3200 / $3500

The tsuba of this koshirae comes with a NBTHK hozon paper which attributes the tsuba to Aizu Shoami.

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Koshirae

Koshirae with engravings

Koshirae for a Wakizashi

Signature/mei:

Materials:

  • Tsuba: shakudo, gold
  • Fuchi kashira: shakudo,
  • Kozuka: shakudo
  • Saya/tsuka: red lacquered, engraved

Era/jidai: late Edo

Dimensions:

  • Saya: 39.0cm
  • Tsuka: 14.1cm
  • Total: 53.5cm

Price: €2500 / $2750

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