Kozuka: Mumei Kozuka with Samurai
Metrial: shakudo / hira-zogan in gold and silver / katakiribori
Dimension: 9.67 cm x 1.39 cm
No papers (Guarantee Hozon)
Price: 1.200 Euro
What intrigues me about this piece is the subject and design, which is carefully carved and inlaid on all sides of the kozuka – except of the opening for the kogatana (koguchi).
On the right part of the front side we see a samurai equipped with his tachi and bow, standing on some kind of porch, gazing out to the upcoming thunderstorm. The veranda and the associated house is carved in the shakudo plate, the railing and our samurai is inlayed in gold, silver and copper and detailed with even finer katakiribori. We can even see a plant, which I think is a small bamboo tree. Alone this section of the kozuka could be a painting of its own.
On the left side the upcoming thunderstorm is placed. Big heavy clouds and guts of wind are carved out in bold and deep katakiribori, lighting strikes are inlayed in gold, heading in the direction of our little samurai.
Like I wrote before, parts of the design, the clouds, porch and house reach into the other sides of the kozuka. Sure, for two to three sides this can be seen on other pieces as well, but I think that all sides are decorated you can see less often.
Finally, we come to the backside. Instead of some yasurime, the motive is picked up. Meanwhile it’s night and the moon has come up which is inlayed in silver. The storm has come down a bit, lightning stopped, but there are still some clouds – carved out in katakiribori – which can be seen through the moonlight. Here again, a samurai is watching out, standing on some kind of fence, starring at the distance. As it’s a dark night, no colors are visible. Therefore the samurai is also represented in katakiribori without any colorful inlays. This represents the nightly scene very well.
I’m not sure if it’s the same samurai as on the front. He also has a tachi and some arrows on the back, but now he is wearing some kind of armor and the family crest doesn’t match the mon the samurai on the front side is wearing.
Unfortunately, the kozuka is mumei, but where should you place a signature when the design is everywhere covering everything?
Anyway, we wish our Samurai good luck on their duty.