One of the most important parts of the Katana has got to be the Tsuba. This Katana part protects the hand of the sword owner from sliding into the blade, helps to balance the sword and is used when drawing the sword from its saya. There are actually many different kinds of Tsuba that you can choose from using our app, we offer quite a selection of beautiful artworks and themes, which you can find one or many to match your style. The handguard is handmade and because of this it is widely valued and collected by those who love Japanese swords. There are also special schools that teach the crafting of making a Tsuba. In our app, there are several kinds of material you can use for Katana handguard: iron, brass, copper or metal alloys.
Hoju means jewel while Toran Kei means upside-down egg shape. These are the earliest designs of the tsuba that came after. Tachi was worn by Samurais while Uchigatana was worn by foot soldiers. There are remarkable differences between these two handguards used by different people from different levels of Japanese society. Tsuba is not merely a part of the blade but, is an art form by itself. There are many different types of Tsuba designs that you can use for your sword, the best way to find one is download the app and see how it looks with the other parts of the sword, and how each part compliment the other, among the selection you can find the following themes:.
During the late EdoMeiji and Showa period in Japan, there are many cast copies made of Tsuba for the export market. These are not originals like those found on early designs.
Cast copies have casting flanges on the inner edges of the hitsu-ana and sukashi regions. Munesuke is generally regarded as the founder of the great Myochin family of armourers. He was, in fact, the 20th representative, the founder having been Munemichi, who flourished in the 7th century. But Munesuke stands so far above all his predecessors that he justly deserves to be called the father of Japanese armourers.
He is the 1st of the Judai, or ten great generations of Myochin experts, ending with Muneyasu in Many of his iron guards are fine examples of the 'mokume-ji', or wood-grain forging.
Munesuke marked these guards 'Shinto gotetsu-ren' or "five-times-forged iron of the sacred way" and it may be added that the ideographs used in his inscriptions for guards are of the kind called 'kabuto-ji' or "helmet characters", that is to say, the grass script sosho with curled strokes; an ornamental style of writing always employed in marking helmets.
From the time of Munesuke down to the Edo era the production of wood-grain effects has been among the remarkable achievements of Japanese workers. The Myochin master used iron only. As to guards having designs chiselled in 'sukashi-bori', it is generally believed that up to the close of the 15th century they were more or less roughly executed.
Some connoisseurs claim that Myochin Nobuiye, who worked during the early part of the 16th century, was the first to carry this method of decoration to a point of really high excellence. Nobuiye was third of the Myochin family, or "Three Later Masters", of the Myochin family, and it is scarcely credible that his two immediate predecessors, Yoshimichi and Takayoshithe other two of the renowned trio, can haved failed to produce fine guards in the sukashi style.
All of the guards of the Myochin experts, from Munesuke to Nobuiye, are slightly rough to the touch, though they present the appearance of finely finished work.
This peculiarity, called by the Japanese 'moyashi' fermentationis the result of the patina-producing process. It need scarcely be said that the patina was a point of the greatest importance. The most prized variety had the color of the azuki bean, or dark mahogany. The oldest tsuba in existence are made by them, but most of them are later than the 7th Myochin. There is a tsuba with a dragonfly in sukashi which is unsigned but is attributed to Muneyasu.
With tsuba, many are signed Nobuiye and almost none by Yoshimichi and of those with the Takayoshi signature only one is known. Many of Nobuiye's are different from those of the armor makers; the shape is generally mokko and they are thick, so that you can see a change in style in the work of katchushi mono.
In general they gave up their armor makers style; some of them imitated Nobuiye but remained inferior to him. The specimens are very thick ita tsuba with simple perforations. The work of the 22nd generation, Munesukeexists in larger quantities than those of the other people which, when compared with others, show large differences. They became very thick and small, roughly forged, with figures in high relief, and many of these have mokume ji in iron. The other Myochin School workers scattered throughout the provinces also changed their style.
The term "Onin tsuba" is well known. The full definitions for the two types of Onin tsuba are: Onin shichu suemon-zogan tsuba, and Onin shinchu ten-zogan tsuba. These two names refer to the style of inlay employed in the decoration of Onin tsuba. Both types were made at Kyoto prior to the making of Heianjo-zogan tsuba in Kyoto from the Onin era to the Tenmon erathough there are cast brass tsuba inlayed tsuba of the Edo age which seem to be the last vestiges of this school.
Since tradition decrees that brass was first imported from China in the Eikyo erait is natural that it should be employed in the decoration of tsuba shortly thereafter.
It was both new and novel, and because of its great monetary value was regarded as rich and valuable material for the enrichment of tsuba. At the height of its production, the Onin tsuba was the most sought after style.
The color of the brass of the Onin tsuba is most important. It is rich and deep in color, not the shallow yellow color of the native metal used in the Edo age.
The imported metal is far superior in quality to the later native brass of the Edo age. The seppa-dai and both original hitsu-ana are marked by the thin inlaid brass wire. The designs are different on each side consisting of animals, plants and mon's. This piece is both prolific and extravagant, yet is very pleasing to the eye. The majority of the designs used in its decoration are but an infinite variation of a similar theme.
Dating to ca. The seppa-dai and original hitsu-ana are marked by the thin inlaid brass wire. The second hitsu-ana is a later addition. Of almost round shape and to be mounted on a very large tanto, sometimes seen in the Muromachi period.
The design is of branches of kiku with five on each side, large open blooms and three large buds, also on each side. This brass inlay is pre-cast, with flange edges and then inlaid in precut areas of the plate and the flanges then covered with plate metal to secure them in place. This style of work is most notably seen in the work of the Higo Jingo school, but almost two hundred years later. None of the inlay has fallen out and the color is original. This idea was suported by Akiyama, Wada Tsunashiro and others.
However, the work of the Kyo-sukashi and Heianjo sukashi schools was not this early. They seem to have originated in the Eisho era The work produced in this gap of time has not been found as yet.
The tsuba that Akiyama used as his example of the earliest Kyo-sukashi tsuba, made in the middle Muromachi age, in reality is not as old as he had thought. It is most certainly an example of the first period of Kyo-sukashi tsuba. It must be concluded that the first period of the Kyo-sukashi tsuba is from the late Muromachi to the early Momoyama age.
The Heianjo sukashi tsuba, though made at the same time as the first period Kyo-sukashi work, is slightly different in style but the two schools might be confused in some cases. There is undoubtedly some relationship between them but what it might be is not known.
The openwork of both schools is complex and by the Edo age, the two styles had merged until it is impossible to distinguish the work of one school from the other. Naturally the Heianjo sukashi school is closely related to the Heianjo zogan school. In fact, it would seem that the same artists produced either style interchangeably. From this fact it can be seen that a separation of the work in these two styles can be made only on the basis of the tsuba alone.
In the second period of these two schools it is almost impossible to say which school might have made a given piece. In many cases it would seem that artists of both schools worked on a single tsuba, each restricted to his speciality; Kyo-sukashi the plate and Heianjo the inlay decoration. For this reason the brass inlaid tsuba of this group are all called Heianjo work and the openwork pieces are all called Kyo-sukashi regardless of who might have made them.
It is believed that the combination of Musashi-no and abumi is designed to honor the fallen Samurai and their horses which would have littered the Musashi plains during the many centries of civil war in Japan. Unlike most Kyo-Sukashi tsuba which are round, this particular example is nade-kaku-gata square with rounded corners shape. The deep chisel marks around the nakago-ana could indicate the work of a specific tsuba artist in or around Kyoto.
The quality of the metal and the mood indicate this guard dating to about Ginger leaves decorate the top and bottom while wild geese fill both sides. The delicate carving, thin lines, rounded rim and half-moon shaped hitsu-ana are all characteristics of the Kyo-Sukashi school. Dates to ca. In excellent condition. There are obvious traits of various schools: Akasaka, Owari, Shoami, and others.
We may never know who actually made this highly refined and simple piece. Kamakura tsuba of the first period date from the early Muromachi age to the end of that age. The second period was an imitation of the first period. The style became more naturalistic and complicated in design in each successive period.
It was the samurai class who kept this style alive for more than two hundred years. The samurai saw in the Kamakura tsuba his own ideal of taste and reserve. In most cases the iron is not high quality even though there are exceptionsthey are thin ita tsuba with large-dimensioned pattern carved out in sukidashibori, often accentuated with kebori and the carvings are not very crisp.
Tsuba Casting - Part1
He said, "Kanayama's name may be either the name of the family or the place they lived, I am not sure, but these tsuba are much admired and are very excellent and rare. They were greatly appreciated, by all, for their simplicity, noble designs, and great strength.
This school would seem to be the earliest to use ji-sukashi positive silhouette. The Kanayama tsuba is an excellent example of the best quality in the fundamental aesthetic principles of the tsuba. The best examples of this school stand in the first rank of the art of the tsuba.
The surface is glossy black soft steel. The smooth surface is due to the high heat used in the forging.
Getting to Know Katana Tsuba
The quality of the iron is excellent. The shape is known as yatsu mokkogata eight lobe shape. The design as ji-sukashi, is naive in a simple naturalistic style.
Dates to Momoyama period. Later Edo works of Shoami tsubashi are all too well known to tsuba collectors simply because there were so many workers in very many places in Japan who followed the established traditions of Shoami. This makes it possible to find Shoami tsuba everywhere you go, if you can read the signs, but it has to be admitted that, with some remarkable exceptions, late Edo works are a change of what the School began to produce in the late Muromachi period.
The first tsuba of the Ko-Shoami type appear in the late Muromachi age.
From that time to the end of the Momoyama age constitutes the period in which tsuba of the Ko-Shoami type were produced. Since this term means "old Shoami it simply refers to the beginning of the Edo age.
In the Edo age this school is simply called Shoami. There do not seem to be any signed examples of Ko-Shoami tsuba. In contrast to this, the majority of the Shoami tsuba made in the Edo age are signed. The reason why this school did not sign in its early stages can only be surmised.
MAJOR PARTS OF TSUBA. Tsuba (sword guards) are used to protect the hand from sliding onto the blade of a Japanese sword. They are art works in their own right and are widely collected. Some koshirae (sword mounts), mostly tanto, were made without tsuba (aikuchi koshirae).Tsuba were mostly made by specialized kodogu and tosogu (sword fittings) artists (see schools of tsuba artists), although. Daisho TSUBA For Japanese Sword - 20th Century Made With Multi Metals. Horse & willow design f/k, Family crest menuki! Waves & autumn leaves design, Great openwork carving! Design of pine & crane, gold & silver inlaid! Two small crosses are hidden by openwork! Signed Furukawa Mototaka Kao. Design of dragon & wave, great plow carving! "A Kagami-shi tsuba dating about ca. The motif is very interesting comprising of various flora (aoi, omodaka, sakura), sake container, inro, and kettle being far from typical. This representational design of landscape with flowers and objects has a classical presence that is both naive and noble in concept.
There are diverse opinions concerning the origin of the Ko-Shoami style. Some say it was derived from the Onin school. Others say it came from the Heianjo school. Both of these ideas would seem to be invalid. The forging, edge, web, and hammering point to the origin of the Ko-Shoami in the katchushi workers of the Muromachi age.
The ability of the Ko-Shoami exceeds that of either the Onin or Heianjo workers of that period. This ability in forging a good plate would not have been possible unless this school had been a group of katchushi workers who took to decorating their plate with inlay work.
Near the end of the Momoyama age the Ko-Shoami school split into several groups. Each group moved to a different area. After settling in the new area they started independent schools with their own characteristics, not necessarily depending on the style of the Ko-Shoami for their basis.
Naturally the decorative style will be seen in the early examples of these divergent schools, much as it was in the Ko-Shoami period. These provincial branches of the main school were to greatly influence the style of the native artist in each area. To some extent the style that developed in each branch school was to have characteristics that distinguish it from one another.
During the Edo age the size and power of the many Shoami schools was to grow until by the end of that period it was the largest family group of all the tsuba workers. The outstanding capabilities of the Ko-Shoami workers will be seen in their subtile designs, good shape, fine tempering, and strong forging. The graceful appearance of their designs shows the sophistication of the capital where they worked. There is harmonious beauty between the fine inlay and the quiet plate metal.
The Ko-Shoami nunome inlay shows the finest skill in this technique of any group. They secured the nunome to very strong cross-hatching, using sheets of metal a little thicker than those of the nunome inlay of the Edo age.
Even though the Ko-Shoami inlay is earlier than the majority of the nunome work, it is often in far better condition. In the Edo age the Shoami were often not as skilful in applying their nunome and it has been wholly or partially destroyed through their ineptitude.
In most cases the Ko-Shoami tsuba will be in better condition than the Shoami tsuba made a hundred years later. From the end of the Muromachi age, to the begining of the Edo age we have the decline of the tosho and Katchushi schools, the last of the Owari sukashi, and the origin of the Bushu, Higo, and Akasaka schools; but the largest and most powerful of all was the Shoami school.
The majority of the Shoami workers had moved to provincial areas but a few stayed on in the capital, as the descendants of the Ko-Shoami; these artists were the Kyo-Shoami workers of the Edo age.
The early Edo age was the greatest period for the Shoami and the Kyo-Shoami surpassed all their provincial relatives. Their designs were richer,more detailed, and far more sophisticated than the other schools who worked in iron plate.
They begin to sign their work in some cases, and their fame grew throughout the country for their elegant style and superior craftsmanship. This glory was to last until the Kyoho erawhen such schools as Higo, Akasaka, and the kinko surpassed the Kyo-Shoami in the race to opulence and dominated the field.
For the rest of the Edo age the Kyo-Shoami show a steady decline to the point where their work in its last stages bears hardly any resemblance to its renowned style of two hundred years previous. From recent information and a study of the actual tsuba it is clear that there are two styles of Awa Shoami tsuba. One is inlaid decoration in gold and silver nunome on a brass plate.
The designs are flowers, birds, fretwork and scroll work. These are usually in geometric patterns. Some carving of lions, flowers, and other objects will be found. The second style is iron plate usually with fan shaped or diamond shaped plates of soft metal inlaid on the surface.
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These inlays are decorated with gold and silver nunome or carving. The designs are flowers and landscapes. In some cases suemon zogan is used instead of carving. The inside surface of the carved lines may be covered with nunome inlay.
Japanese sword mountings
Those Awa tsuba of iron plate are of later workmanship than those of brass plate. The first style is not as common as this second style. Those of iron plate were probably made at the time of the fifth generation and after. This family of artists was regarded highly by Lord Ikeda of Bizen Province. For their services they were given an allowance from the castle stores. From the provincal records and those of the Ikeda family, the history of the Bizen Shoami school is very well annotated.
These records are in good order and reveal a wealth of information heretofore unknown to the authors of the past. The style of the Bizen Shoami school is rich in its decorative quality. The designs are naive but very tasteful. It has a resemblance to the Kyo-Shoami tsuba of the same period but it is not as delicate nor sophisticated as the work of the capital. The subjects of the designs are more applicable to the countryside, having a strong and bold quality.
The majority of the subjects of the designs are of openwork in ubuzukashi style. One hears that the Iyo-Shoami school existed from very early times.
They are thought to have struggled with the Kyo-Shoami workers for leadership of the Shoami family. There does not seem to be any documentation to support the idea that the Iyo-Shoami school is older than any other branch school. It is more likely that it was formed at the same time as the other schools that were dispersed to the provinces.
If any branch school may be considered anterior to the others it would have to be the Kyo-Shoami school, for they were the direct descendants of the Ko-Shoami and remained at the capital.
All other Shoami schools were formed slightly later than the Kyo-Shoami in the early Edo age. The majority of work of the Iyo-Shoami school is in low relief carving, line carving, flat inlay, large areas of raised inlay, or mixed inlay. The common characteristic of most Shoami schools, i. In essence the style is simple, naive and has a country feeling.
Nevertheless, it is not without interest. There are numerous opinions to explain the origin of the Aizu-Shoami school.
The most logical of these theories was the one put forward by the late Nagaoka Tsuneki, author of the Shonai Kinko no Kenkyu. In this kenkyu, Nagaoka stated that Jirohachi was the founder of the Aizu Shoami school. There does not seem to be any tsuba by Jirohachi bearing his place of residence.
In fact, we are not sure that he ever worked in Aizu. He seems to have been an independant artist without apprentices who might have carried on the style of his school in the Aizu area. Thus we cannot state for certain the origin of this school, for there do not seem to be enough facts to tell us anything of the early period of the Aizu Shoami. By the Genroku era and after, the style was a combination of Shoami and later Umetada school styles.
Aizu Shoami tsuba mostly have an iron ji, and kinko works are very rare. The shinmaru gata true circle shape is encountered regularly. Most round tsuba are a bit taller than they are wide. Both hitsu-ana are often shaped like kogai-hitsu as opposed to the standard kozuka kogai configuration. A motif showing a person or thematic object with a natural landscape in the background is common.
Motifs such as a bird or a group of birds, an animal or animals, or insects, are also often seen. This effect implies visual distance, draws our eye to the main section of the work and gives the illusion of depth to the overall design. It is common to see some details in gold nunome as with all Shoami works. Also, often small design elements such as foliage, branches, etc.
Aizu shakudo inlay is often of good quality with a deep luster. Sukashi work executed on the entire tsuba is rare to non-existant with the exception of the 'cloud' motif favored by Shigenobu.
Some makers liked to use small sections of sukashi as a design element, but it is normally a secondary embellishment to the main theme of the work. Iron ji can be encountered in several varieties.
One is a thick plate with a dark brown patina and strong variations in the surface, having a rough appearance.
This type of ji is often highly tempered and will show abundant hard martensite crystals on the surface. A second type is a more polished ji with a chocolate brown patina. Another type has a deep rich purple-black patina on a thick plate having a similar luster to first tier iron sukashi works from Genroku times. Shonai is located in the remote northern part of the main island of Japan. This detachment from the rest of the country has given the work of this school a simple elegant feeling.
The quiet sincerity of the work of the Shonai Shoami rarely fails to be interesting. The Sakai family controlled the extensive lands of the Shonai area and for this received one hundred and forty thousand koku of rice annually. This school originated from the great-grandson of Jirohachi, Shoami Matahachiro, he was a retainer of the Sakai family after he came from Edo in Kambun 4 The earliest style of work from the Shonai area is that of the Ko-Shoami school.
This style was used by the Yoshida family of the Shonai Shoami. Their work is later than the Ko-Shoami tsuba produced in Kyoto, but it has about the same feeling.
It may be separated from the Kyoto work if one observes the iron plate which is considerably later than the Ko-Shoami. The school of Matahachiro was greatly over shadowed by that of the first Yasuchika, who was a native of Shonai. When the style of Yasuchika became popular he greatly influenced the schools of Edo and, in turn, those of Shonai. This cross current of style and influence was very strong at this time and the winds that blew the popular styles of the early Shonai Shoami toward Edo were to be reversed later and the Edo style with Shonai influence returned to Shonai in later years.
It is interesting to note when comparing the work of Kiyonari and the first Yasuchika that Kiyonari was twenty-three years older than Yasuchika.
Though he was senior in years, Yasuchika was to influence his work as his fame grew. Another school of the Shonai area is that of Sato Chinkyu, and his father Shirozaemon. It is not known if they were members of the Shoami family, even though they worked in pure Shoami style. Little is known of Shiozaemon, but Chinkyu is famous as the teacher of the first Yasuchika and of Arinari. Their early style closely resembles that of Chinkyu and is strong in the Shonai Shoami style.
This was before Yasuchika created his own style after moving to Edo. The work of the Shonai Shoami is diverse, but with a common bond in the old Shoami style. A clue to the work of this school will depend on a feeling for the mood of the area and an understanding of the influences and trends of the age.
In the past there have been four opinions as to the origin of the Akita Shoami school. One says Dennai was the originator of this school when he camefrom Edo. Another says that he founded this school coming directly from Shonai. A third idea put forward by Nagaoka says that "Dembei was the creator of the Akita school. The fourth idea seems to be the most logical.
The name Yoshinaga is to be found from an early period in the Akita area. He is said to have been the teacher of Dembei, but their full relationship is not known. Nor do we have any names of artists before that of Yoshinaga. However, from an examination of the work of these men it would seem clear that Yoshinaga introduced the Shoami style into the Akita area, and if anyone can be called the father of the Akita Shoami school it would have to be he.
Dembei is the most important artist of Akita and his master works resemble fine Umetada tsuba or Ko-Shoami work. He occasionally worked in a style closely resembling that of Oda Naonori of Satsuma. His work is about equal in rank to that of Kiyonari of Shonai. By the Kansei era the work of the Akita school cannot be found.
From that time forward it seems the school disappeared without leaving a trace of the artists who had lived there. Subsidiary Schools of the Shoami. There were a number of other Shoami workers in various provinces who were either independent artists or members of such small groups that their existence has been overlooked.
The late Akiyama doubted that there had ever been a Shoami school in Edo, but after careful investigation he found evidence indicating its existence.
This school is now called the Bushu Shoami. These workers must have been the descendants of Jirohachi who had remained in Edo. The work of this group is in the Kyo-Shoami style or that of Jirohachi.
This may be avoided by an examination of the iron plate. The Bushu Shoami plate is not as old or rich as that done in Kyoto. The Bushu Shoami school existed at a later date than did the Kyo-Shoami school. Another school of note is that of the Sakushu Shoami of Mimasaka Province.
Their style resembles the Inshu Suruga school work.
In this respect the work of the Sakushu Shoami differs from that of all other Shoami schools. With this adopted style a provincial feeling is also to be found. By the middle of the Edo age the Shoami style had lost much of its popularity. They were forced to copy the style of these more popular schools until the original Shoami style was lost altogether.
Only the Bizen Shoami school retained its original style to the end of the Edo age. Throughout the entire history of tsuba one name stands supreme: Kaneiye. It is most curious that the name of Kaneiye was not widely known until the Temmei erawhich was already late in the Edo age.
There is much conjecture that attempts to explain this belated recognition, but it would seem that there are only two answers. The first will be found in the taste and personal finances of the samurai of the early Edo age. Their taste ran to such austere types as the Katchushi, Tosho, Kyo-sukashi, Owari-zukashi, and the Yoshiro and Heianjo-zogan styles, followed by the Higo and Akasaka schools. The second reason was the rise of the kinko school in the middle of the Edo age.
First the Nara school appeared and shortly after came Yokoya Somin, followed by the vast group of late kinko. They were to vie with the old established styles, and soon they won out. During this onslaught the nobility, high ranking samurai, and connoisseurs adhered to the style of such workers as Kaneiye and Nobuiye.
Because the work of Kaneiye was so highly regarded by the upper classes it never came into the hands of the masses. With their existence virtually unknown they never were popularized by the early Edo artists. When the upper classes took to the new kinko styles the work of Kaneiye and Nobuiye was put away and forgotten, but by the end of the late Edo age the nobility began to tire of the beautiful kinko work and they wanted something to take their place.
The merchant class was very strong and had the opportunity to see the work of Kaneiye, at this time, when it was brought forth again by the nobility. They appreciated his style and wanted his style for their own tsuba. They thought the quiet good taste was most applicable to this period of peace and prosperity. They made the name of Kaneiye famous in all classes causing the late school of Tetsunin and the Saga Kaneiye into production to fulfill this great demand.
By the Temmei era the fame of Kaneiye was spread far and wide. Today we cannot give credence to any generations but the first two. All later work must be classed as the product of the Saga Kaneiye school, or later imitators.
There are various stories concerning a number of generations with this same name of Kaneiye. Three distinct Kaneiye who worked before the eighteenth century are thought to have existed, judging from the technique and decoration of specimens determined as originals. By tradition he is called the 'Great First Kaneiye'.
The work of the first Kaneiye was not known to the connoisseurs of tsuba until the Tempo era. At that time Akiyama saw three tsuba that were unquestionably the work of the same hand. To this day these three tsuba are the only work known to be by the first master.
Since his work is so rare we may conclude that he began the making of tsuba late in life. In addition much of his work must have been lost in battle or through the many disastrous fires of later times. It is not certain when the first Kaneiye began to make tsuba. The few facts we have are these: From close observation of the three extant tsuba it is clear that he must have descended from one of the katchushi schools.
We may find precedence of his style in such early work as the fine inlay of the hoju tsuba or in the brass inlay of the Onin style. It is not unreasonable to suppose that a superior worker of the katchushi school could have combined the best qualities of the schools of the past and created a superior style of his own, and this would seem to be just the case.
Each facet of his work, after careful examination, will be found to be finer than anything the past had to offer. Kaneiye the first is commonly thought to have worked in the middle of the Muromachi age, but this is too early.
It would be safer to say that he worked about the Eiroku to Tensho period, that being the heigth of the Momoyama age. The style of the first may be called engraved pictorial style.
In design, he followed the style of Mokkei, a Chinese painter Sung dynastyand Sesshu, a Japanese painter, who worked after the Chinese style during the 15th century. He used high relief in his decoration combined with inlay of various metals. His iron is of the oroshigane type.
It is of the highest quality, forged to perfection and remarkable for the brown or reddish color of the iron and their wonderful finish, unsurpassed by that of any other tsubako. He commonly used the final-two-fold method of the katchushi to form his plate, but with such perfection that one cannot readily see the line of the final folds. His tempering is exceedingly fine. The iron bones are similar to those found in the later Kanayama school.
The ground of the plate has an irregular hammered surface well under his control. It shows careful work with close attention to detail. The small hammer marks are in groups and patterns that give variety and change to the surface. This attention to the aesthetic beauty of the plate surface sets the time of production in the Momoyama age. His style closely resembles the old katchushi with a mixture of Heianjo-zogan and Ko-shoami styles of inlay.
The decoration is a summation of the best of the best of the Heianjo-zogan and Ko-shoami schools. From this we may deduce that he was slightly later in time than the high point of these schools in the Muromachi age. He brought to perfection the styles they had originated, thus giving us the indication of his period being the Momoyama age. It might be said that he was the climax of the true aesthetic feeling, for later artists were only rarely to touch his genius.
His work was known long before that of the first Kaneiye, which is the reason why he was originally called shodai. An analysis of the styles of the second based upon extant examples tells the true story. He used many designs, always of a noble nature. They are quiet, graceful, and show somewhat the contemplative feeling seen in the work of the first master. Occasionally he used openwork designs such as the tomoe shape or undetermined shapes. It has been said that the inspiration for his designs came from the work of the famous painter Sesshu.
If this is so it was not a direct relationship, for Sesshu died in Eisho 3 It is more likely that he took some designs from the work of Tohaku and others of the Unkoku school, especially the second, Unkei. His designs are commonly of naturalistic landscapes in the Chinese manner, or a few religious subjects. These themes were the accepted fashion of the Muromachi and Momoyama ages.
He no doubt took his early themes from the subjects used by the first Kaneiye, for a few of his pieces show the direct inspiration based on the first, such as the Bishamonten tsuba which is a close replica of the one by Dai Shodai Kaneiye. His work is not as strong or bold as that of the first nor as great in feeling, but there is no doubt he must have received his training from the first master.
His relief carving is not as high as that employed by the first, and his inlay work shows a more direct connection with the contemporary Heianjo-zogan school. Even more important is the technique used in the application of his inlay. This will be found to be firmly grounded in the style of the Goto school of his period. Some say he was the preparer to the first and second Kaneiye. He was thought to have forged the plates that they decorated.
Others say he was a student of the second Kaneiye. All that can be said for sure is that he was to use the style of the second Kaneiye as his own and probably developed a school based on that technique.
We do not know when he moved from Fushimi to Higo, or if he ever lived in Fushimi. It is more probable that he only studied there for a short time.
He seems to have moved from Higo to Saga in Hizen Province, or at least his school did. The majority of the pieces turned out by this school are signed with a facsimile of the signature of the second Kaneiye. Occasionally we see the signatures of the artist who actually made the piece. The best of the Saga Kaneiye work is either unsigned or with the artist that actually made the piece.
The unsigned pieces, in later work, sometimes show the best craftsmanship. Signed: with Dr. T box. Torigoye as Dai-sho-dai. Torigoye,pgs. The number of artists who might have been involved in the making of these tsuba, and their time periods, is still open to conjecture. The question is, "What is the relationship between the artist of this tsuba and the Daishodai Kaneiye? The silver and brass ten zogan and fine copper inlay represent kelp, seaweed and other vegetation found on the shoreline of Japan.
Subtle tekkotsu appears on the rim. They are of varying quality and period. They seem to have been made in the same workshop, as the technique is the same on various examples, such as iron on iron inlay, and the gold and silver inlay of quality and ability.
An excellent piece with work as equal to the work with 'Joshu Fushimi ju' signature. There are a large number of tsuba with this signature. There are enough variations in the signatures, that Akiyama Kyusaku thought there might be several generations.
The seppa are washers used in front of and behind the tsuba to tighten the fittings, seppa can be ornate or plain. It has the double purpose of locking the tsuba guard in place, and to maintain the weapon in its saya scabbard. The importance of the habaki is seen in drawing the katana from the scabbard. The blade, being freed, can be drawn out very quickly. It is similar in connotation and effect as drawing back the hammer of a handgunchambering a round on a pump-action shotgunor pulling back and releasing the charging handle on other firearms.
The expression " tanka o kiru " is now widely used in Japan, in the sense of "getting ready to begin something", or "getting ready to speak", especially with an aggressive connotation. The habaki will cause normal wear and tear inside the scabbard, and either a shim or a total replacement of the scabbard may be needed to remedy the issue as it will become too loose over time.
Removing the habaki and oiling it after cutting or once every few months is recommended. Then the tsuba is inserted too. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Redirected from Tsuba. Housings and associated fittings that hold the blade of a Japanese sword. A typical shirasaya with sayagaki attribution or appraisal written on a shirasaya. Archived from the original on July 28, Retrieved January 5, Tuttle, P. Martial Arts Weapons and Training. August 6, Archived from the original on September 20, Japanese weapons, armour and equipment.
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