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Heianjō Tsuba

This Heianjō school (平安城) brass-inlay (shinchū zōgan 真鍮象嵌) iron tsuba is in simply excellent condition, with no loss of inlay, and great patina.  The tsuba has an unusual shape (kawari-gata 変り形), consisting of 4 alternating Chinese bell flower crests (Kikyō kamon 桔梗家紋) and saddles (kura 鞍), along with inlayed arabesque vines (karakusa 唐草) and a dragonfly (tonbō 蜻蛉).  The brass-inlay is fully preserved on both sides, stands higher than the plate, and retains a nice yellow patina. The lead plug in one of the hitsuana provides further color contrast.  The iron quality and color are good.  The motif retains a martial quality, and reflects the more vibrant artistry popular in Japan ca. 1600.

The tsuba comes with Tokubetsu Kicho papers, written by Hosokawa Moritatsu (細川護立), the first president of the NBTHK.  The papers attribute this tsuba to the Yoshirō school (与四郎), a very similar and contemporary group to the Heianjō.  Since all the examples I have found in literature of this type of tsuba attribute it to Heianjō, I am using this designation.  In the final analysis, the school is largely irrelevant, in light of the quality of the work.

 

Translation of the Tokubetsu Kicho paper description follows:

象嵌透鐔 (Zōgan sukashi tsuba)

鉄地 変形  (Tetsu-ji kawari-gata)

真鍮象嵌 (Shinchū-zōgan)

無銘 (与四郎) (Mumei Yoshirō)

Showa 40th year (1965) October 13th

 

Measurements: 7.9cm x 7.9cm x 0.5cm

Momoyama to start of Edo Period (桃山 - 江戸時代初期), ca. 1580-1620

$1,250

 

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