Page Last Updated: Friday, 14 June 2013 11:21 EDT, © 1964, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013

ARMS AND ARMOR OF ANCIENT JAPAN

An Historical Survey

Dean S. Hartley, Jr., President Nanka Token Kai

Fred Martin and Bob Haynes, Exhibition Co-Chairmen

Co-Sponsored

by the

Municipal Art Patrons of Los Angeles

and the

Southern California To-Ken Kai

Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park

February 19th Through March 22nd, 1964

 


Grand Opening: Two unidentified women,
Mayor Sam Yorty, Mrs. D. S. Hartley, Jr.


Dean Hartley

Fred Martin

Bob Haynes


Hartley & Japanese Consul General (Los Angeles)


Opening Banner


Willis Hawley & Hartley


Armor on display


Fritz Miller, Hartley, George Vitt, Carolyn Frankenheimer,
& Willis Hawley


Mr. Taromatsu Okano & a Dai-Sho of fabulous mounts to a pair of fabulous
swords, both by Sukehiro.


Armor on display


Bob Wainwright, Dean Hartley, Charles Cowdery, & Willis Hawley


The show in progress

 

  Cover: Painting by Walther G. von Krenner

 


 

CONTENTS

    Introduction with pictures of the armor displays

    The Sword with pictures of the sword displays

        Kofun Bunka Period
        Heian Period (794 - 1185 A.D.)
        Kamakura Period (1185 - 1333)
        Yoshino Period (1333 - 1392)
        Muromachi Period (1392 - 1596)
        Edo Period (1596 - 1868)

    Tsuba Section with pictures of the tsuba displays

        Tsuba Prior to 1400
        Swordsmith (Tosho) Tsuba
        Armorsmith (Katchushi) Tsuba
        Satome (Armorer) School
        Tempo Tsuba
        Kamakura (Style) Tsuba
        Onin (Style of Brass Inlay) Tsuba
        Heianjo (Kyoto Brass Inlay) Tsuba
        Other Brass Inlay Schools
        Heianjo (Kyoto Openwork) Tsuba
        Kyo-Sukashi (Kyoto Openwork) and Daigoro Schools
        Kaneiye (Style) Tsuba
        Nobuiye (Style) Tsuba
        Myochin (Armorer) Tsuba
        Yamakichibei (School) Tsuba
        Owari (Openwork) Tsuba
        Hoan (Family) Tsuba
        Other Owari Schools
        Nara Kaji (Nara Smiths) School
        Kanayama (Style) Tsuba
        Yagyu School Style
        Kagami-Shi (Mirror Makers) Tsuba
        Tachikanagu-Shi (Tachi Fittings Maker) Tsuba
        Ko-Kinko (Old Decorative Style) Tsuba
        Goto School Tsuba
        Mito Area Masters
        Tsuchiya Yasuchika and School
        Ko-Nara (Style) Tsuba
        Hamano School
        Umetada School
        Shoami Schools
        Akasaka School
        Kinai School
        Hirata Hikozo
        Hayashi Matashichi
        Nishigaki School
        Jingo School
        Kamiyoshi Family
        Other Higo Schools
        Ko-Hagi Style Tsuba
        Choshu Tsuba Schools
        Sendai Tsuba
        Suruga Armor School
        Shonai School
        Various Artists and Schools
        Soten (Style) Tsuba
        Sahari Inlay Style Tsuba
        Hirata Cloisonné Tsuba
        Namban Style Tsuba
        Kinko Style Tsuba
        Mislabeled Illustrations

    Glossary

        Types of Swords
        Sori (Curve)
        Mei (Signature)
        Nakago and Nakago Tip (Jiri) Shapes
        Blade Shapes
        Boshi Shapes (Hamon at Tip of Blade)
        Hada (Skin) Patterns
        Hamon Shapes
        Vocabulary

    Bibliography

    Members of Southern California To-Ken Kai and Lenders

    Patrons with additional pictures of the exhibition

 


 
 

INTRODUCTION

In Japan the sword and its associated fittings have for centuries been regarded as an expression of the highest art, worthy of the consideration of an Emperor and, in fact during the early thirteenth century, the Emperor Go-Toba participated in the creation of masterpieces which approach the zenith of sword excellence. The west has commonly regarded them as curiosities, the products of a craft, and equated them with other swords. It is the hope of the Southern California To-Ken Kai that this exhibit may in some measure contribute to a better understanding of the Japanese sword and a more correct evaluation of its artistic values.

The descriptive terminology in this catalogue is the language of the sword and recourse to the glossary of terms will, for the uninitiated, be absolutely necessary. From very early times expertise on the sword was the exclusive property of families of sword experts, principally the Honami, who maintained their knowledge as a closely guarded secret. Thus, the language was intended to obscure rather than reveal. Further, the idiom is one which does not lend itself to easy translation, there being no equivalent terms in the English language.

Chronology is arbitrary since there is no close agreement even among historians. The chronological divisions are in the main political, the single exception being connected with sword history. Most divisions in sword history coincide with political divisions, there being a strong interconnection between the two.

It is to be regretted that all of the material exhibited could not be included in the catalogue. Examples were chosen not only on the basis of quality but as specimens representative of a particular time and school. Selection was made from an aggregate total of over two hundred swords and seven hundred tsuba exhibited.

The study and collection of the Japanese sword and its fittings is attracting a growing list of followers from widely assorted backgrounds. Their common interest is an appreciation of the unique skills and creative talents which rank the master swordsmith and the ciseleur with the enduring artists of this and future times. Their rights to such distinction are evident in the pieces chosen for display in this exhibit. Many are rare examples, many are seldom seen masterpieces ... all are fine examples of the art.

Our deep appreciation is extended to those institutions and individuals who so generously made their collections available to us, to the people without whose unselfish aid this achievement could never have been, and to the Los Angeles Municipal Art Patrons for their unremitting support of our hopeful effort.

F.C.M.

Editor's note: The actual catalog contains the Japanese characters for the smiths' signatures, which are not reproduced here. Also, some of the pages have been rearranged to take advantage of the web format versus the page format of the original catalog.


1. Standing figure of a warrior in full armor,
Kofun Bunka Period.

 

2. Armor: red laced Oyoroi (great harness) of the Edo period in an early style.

Armor on display at the exhibit.


Color photo of Figure 2 above

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THE SWORD

Preserved within the confines of Todaiji temple in Nara is an ancient storehouse founded in 756 A.D. as a memorial to the Emperor Shomu. In this relatively fragile structure all of the Emperor's personal possessions, together with gifts of the court, have remained inviolate to this day. Included among the treasures dedicated were swords, armor of plate and scale, bows, arrows, pole arms of several types, and other military equipment. During the Oshikatsu rebellion in 764 A.D. the weapons were removed to the palace by imperial command and much was lost in the subsequent fighting. The precious remainder serve as the principal source of information about the weapons of the period. Among the rest, forty nine long swords were left, their blades bright and shining today. These swords exhibit every important characteristic found at the culmination of the swordsmiths' art five centuries later. Although the sword underwent modifications during the succeeding centuries, the shape and underlying principle remained the same. Thus, old swords remained serviceable until the last and were carefully preserved, both for their utility and because of the deep reverence which the Japanese feel for the blade.

All swordsmiths, regardless of the place or time, have been confronted with the problem of creating a blade which would neither bend nor break and yet would cut well. The unique Japanese solution to this problem was the development of what may be called a composite blade. The basic principle of the Japanese sword is the support of an extremely hard edge steel by means of a tough resilient back. This was achieved by enclosing the edge steel in a mild steel back, by wrapping a mild steel core with edge steel, or by complicated constructions utilizing appropriate steels.

Traditionally, Japanese swords are classified into five schools or methods named after the province in which they originated: the Yamato, Yamashiro, Bizen, Soshu, and Mino, listed in the order of their historical appearance. They were, simply, different paths to the same goal differing only in technique. The basic principles were identical. All Japanese swords are composed of steels which were forged, folded, and reforged a number of times consistent with their utility, edge steels fifteen to twenty times and the milder steels six to eight times. Sometimes during the folding the grain of the steel was crossed. Heat treatment was accomplished by coating the blade with refractory clay which was thinner at the edge, bringing to heat, then quenching in water. The area at the edge, having less insulation, cooled rapidly and became hard. The back, covered with thicker clay, cooled slowly and became tough. At the same time the differential cross-sectional thickness in the blade caused it to assume a curve.

The spectacular polish found on Japanese swords not only enhances their beauty by making visible the tempered edge pattern and the details of forging which are so important to an aesthetic appreciation, but makes possible a visual evaluation of the essential qualities of the sword. If the grain created in the forging process is small and the heat before quenching high, as can be determined by the presence of a wide tempered edge and coarse nie (mirror-like particles of Martensite), the blade will be brittle. Conversely, if the grain is large and the tempered edge narrow and composed of nioi (cloud-like Martensite) then the blade will be soft. All of the elements involved in the making of the sword must be compatible, the grain of the steel, the temperature of the water, the thickness of the clay, and the heat. An infinite number of correct combinations are possible. Steel, the fabric of which the sword is composed, possesses important values of its own entirely separate from other considerations. It may be translucent deep and clear, a thing of transcendent beauty, or coarse, hard and dry, a product of haste and opportunity. Here the work of the smith stands most clearly revealed and his work defined.

The Japanese, as a people, are unique in their awareness of beauty. The society is permeated with this consciousness and there is a constant preoccupation with the aesthetic. Blades can be expected to reflect this sensitivity. The first consideration in the judgment of a sword is the shape: regardless of the period and the changing styles, it must be aesthetically satisfying. Swords made during the Heian period, with its strong overtones of effeminacy, and those made during the virile masculine Kamakura period were and are subject to the same rigorous aesthetic canons, although their shapes may be vastly different. Swords lacking form and style, such as those mass produced during the latter half of the Muromachi period for common use, are passed over by the discriminating collector. Similarly, the phenomena seen in the surface of the steel must be in taste. Pictorial representations in the hamon found during the Genroku era are considered to be merely examples of a limited virtuosity and lack depth and sincerity. The collector must differentiate between swords which are kept as representative of a type and those which are worthy of an aesthetic appreciation.

Although swords disappeared from daily use in 1877 with the promulgation of the Haitorei edict which prohibited their wear, some few smiths continued to work and, binding the present to the past, blades are being made today in accord with the highest traditions of this ancient art.

Frederick C. Martin

Swords on display at the exhibit, beginning with stages in the creation of a sword.

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Kofun Bunka Period

The era from the fourth century B.C. to the seventh century A.D. is called the Kofun Bunka period from the method of interment of the chiefs and important people of that era in stone crypts, or dolmens, which were located in burial mounds. Encircling the mound and the moats which sometimes surround the tomb are rows of fired clay cylinders the purpose of which is not known. They are called "haniwa" which means "circle of clay." At the crests of the mounds are found clay figures called "tsuchi ningyo" which represent retainers formerly immolated upon the death of their lord. Aside from their obvious aesthetic value, these figures are chiefly valuable for the information derived from them concerning the dress and habits of the people of those remote times.

The most important objects found within the tombs are iron swords. There are several types differentiated mainly by variations in the form of the pommel and the haft. All have single edged blades, the backs of which are straight. the mounts of these swords are generally copper richly gilded and often with patterns in repousse. The tsuba are of copper covered with sheet gold, iron with inlayed decoration, or simple iron. Most have pierced trapezoidal openings. With the swords are found iron plate armor of an advanced conception, horse trappings, bows, arrows with complex points, and other warlike paraphernalia as well as many objects of a more domestic utility. All bear witness to a sophisticated culture highly advanced technically and artistically.

  1. TSUCHI NINGYO Standing figure of a warrior in full armor (illustration above). Differing from most figures of the period, the armor is conventionalized and lacks detailing. It conveys a most spruce and elegant feeling. Found near Fujioka in Gumma prefecture.

  1. KEITO TACHI (not illustrated)

  1. KABUTSUCHI TACHI 

  1. KOMA TSURUGI 

  1. HOJU TSUBA (not illustrated) Circa 6th century A.D. Iron, much incrusted; hoju form with eight trapezoidal openings; width 3.1 inches; length 3.5 inches; thickness at edge .25 inches, at center .12 inches.

 

Kofun Bunka swords, figures 3 and 4

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Heian Period (794 - 1185 A.D.)

The formalizing of the shape and style of the Japanese sword which occurred during the early tenth century was followed by the emergence of the first schools, prominent among which were the Sanjo and Gojo of Yamashiro, the Mogusa of Mutsu, the Ohara of Hoki, the Naminohira of Satsuma, and the Ko-Bizen smiths. A certain ambivalence of style is very noticeable. There are the slender and exceedingly graceful blades that seem well suited to the court which may be contrasted with the heavier and more manly blades which smell of the battlefield. Towards the end of the era the Genpei wars between the Taira and the Minamoto clans created a demand for weapons which caused the appearance of more schools and stimulated the advancement of the art. Swords made before the advent of the Kamakura period (1185 A.D.) were made principally by the Yamashiro method, although the Yamato was the first in order of historical  appearance.

  1. TANTO

  1. TACHI

  1. TACHI

  1. TACHI

  1. TACHI

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Kamakura Period (1185 - 1333)

During the early part of the thirteenth century the ex-Emperor Go-Toba called the most prominent smiths in the country to Kyoto to work with him in the fashioning of swords. This unheard-of distinction initiated a golden era in sword history which lasted for approximately one hundred years. Never again was this zenith to be approached. The Shogun Yoritomo founded his camp-capitol at Kamakura, a small fishing village, in order to avoid the debilitating decadence of the court and set a fashion simple and manly. Even the court aped this mood. Two of the traditional five methods made their first appearance during this era. The Bizen method, founded during the early years by the ban-kaji Norimune and the Soshu method, which was founded during the latter part of the period by the Yamashiro Awataguchi smith Shintogo Kunimitsu who was followed by Yukimitsu and the great Masamune. Shifting centers of power caused the migration of smiths to new sources of patronage and many new families of smiths appeared. During the closing years, the wars between the followers of Ashikaga Takauji and the adherents of the Emperor Go-Daigo, whose headquarters were at Yoshino in the province of Yamato, caused the resuscitation of the practically defunct Yamato method. The great majority of swords now classed as national treasures or important art objects were made during the Kamakura period.

  1. TANTO (not illustrated)

  1. TACHI

  1. TACHI

  1. TACHI

  1. TACHI

  1. TACHI

  1. TACHI

  1. TACHI

  1. TACHI (not illustrated)

  1. TACHI

  1. TANTO (not illustrated)

  1. TANTO

  1. TACHI (not illustrated)

  1. TACHI

  1. KATANA (not illustrated)

  1. TACHI (not illustrated)

  1. KATANA

  1. TANTO (not illustrated)

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Yoshino Period (1333 - 1392)

The schism between the Ashikaga Shogun, Takauji, and the Emperor Go-Daigo resulted in the flight of Go-Daigo to Yoshino in Yamato and the establishment of a new Emperor in Kyoto. The period is sometimes called the 'Nan-Boku Cho Jidai' or the 'Age of the North and South Courts.' It was an era of heroes and scoundrels, of the proto-typical loyal samurai Kusunoki Masashige and Nitta Yoshisada and the proficient but brutal and treacherous brothers Ko. It was an age of incessant warfare and battles. The great demand for weapons naturally caused a general deterioration of quality in the sword, although master-smiths continued to produce work of the highest quality. Of particular note were the migrations of smiths to the province of Mino and the establishment of the last of the Gokkaden. The most important were Kaneuji and Kinju of Soshu (Masamune ju-tetsu) and a numerous group of Yamato smiths including Zenjo Kaneyoshi. Another important center which continued an ancient tradition was at Osafune in Bizen. These two provinces produced the major portion of the swords made in Japan.

  1. WAKIZASHI

  1. WAKIZASHI

  1. TANTO

  1. TANTO (not illustrated)

  1. KATANA

  1. TACHI

  1. TACHI

  1. WAKIZASHI

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Muromachi Period (1392 - 1596)

With the reconciliation of the two imperial houses and the re-unification of Japan, the Nan-Boku Cho came to an end. Political power continued to be vested in the Ashikaga Shoguns, but the inherent weakness of the system prevented the establishment of political unity. Petty warlords seized local power and the slight control exercised by the Ashikaga diminished until the Onin period (1467) when the country again exploded into civil war. The next one hundred years is known as the 'Sengoku Jidai' (Age of the Country at War). During this century, the country was utterly devastated and reduced to poverty. Kyoto, the ancient capital, was burned, an irretrievable loss. There are relatively few schools producing good work during the Muromachi period. The majority are kazuuchi mono (ready made) or were even mass produced. As always, however, some conscientious smiths continued to follow a tradition of excellence.

  1. KATANA (not illustrated)

  • Signed Muramasa.

  • Date early Muromachi;

  • Length of 31.6 inches;

  • Shape shobu zukuri, very wide and long;

  • Hamon o-midare hamon of ko-nie in nioi;

  • Ha-hada;

  • Jitetsu has a feeling of softness and is clear;

  • Boshi is hakkake with long kaeri;

  • Hori on omote is Fudo and stylized cloud with bo-hi, ura is dragon with bo-hi;

  • Nakago is ubu of typical tanago bara form;

  • Comments: Muramasa blades excite a great deal of interest because of the numberless stories concerning their bloodthirstiness. They were supposed to have been particularly unlucky for the Tokugawa. Shirai Gompachi, the street killer, is said to have used a Muramasa blade. There were several smiths of the same name who followed the Mino tradition at Sengo in the province of Ise..

  1. WAKIZASHI (not illustrated)

  • Signed Norimitsu, in gold.

  • Date early Muromachi;

  • Length of 20.7 inches;

  • Shape shinogi zukuri, fumbari;

  • Hamon suguba of ko-nie, hotsure, no activity in the ha;

  • Jihada o-mokume, few ji-nie;

  • Jitetsu open but not coarse;

  • Boshi maru;

  • Nakago o-suriage;

  • Comments: An early example of the Norimitsu line who worked at Osafune in Bizen. There were many smiths who used the name, some of very good quality. They were swords for practical use. This sword is of chu-mon uchi (special order) quality.

  1. TACHI

  • Signed Bishu Osafune no ju Norimitsu.

  • Date 1471;

  • Length of 28.3 inches;

  • Shape shinogi zukuri, koshi zori, strong fumbari;

  • Hamon choji midare of nie, kinsuji, inazuma, ha-hada;

  • Jihada is mokume, yubashiri, profuse ji nie, hada is strongly marked, the pattern outlined with bright silvery lines;

  • Boshi maru with hakkake;

  • Nakago is ubu;

  • Comments: There were seven smiths of this line, the second and third being the most important. This sword is most probably by the third.

  1. KATANA (not illustrated)

  • Signed Bizen Osafune Katsumitsu.

  • Date 1494;

  • Length of 21.6 inches;

  • Shape shinogi zukuri, strong sori;

  • Hamon is suguba ko-midare of nie hotsure, kinsuji;

  • Jihada is mixed itame mokume;

  • Jitetsu is fine;

  • Boshi is midare komi (Bizen boshi) with hakkake;

  • Nakago is ubu;

  • Comments: Typical  mid-Muromachi blade of the later Bizen mode with its roots in the style of Oei Bizen. There is nothing extreme and it may be called 'koroai' or 'just right.' A sword for practical use.

  1. TANTO

  • Signed Bizen Kuni no ju Osafune Yosozaemon no Jo Sukesada.

  • Date 1529;

  • Length of 7.3 inches;

  • Shape moroha zukuri;

  • Hamon is suguba of nie, sunagashi, inazuma, kinsuji, hotsure;

  • Jihada is ko-itame, slight utsuri;

  • Jitetsu is dark and the yakiba very luminous;

  • Nakago is ubu Bizen;

  • Comments: There are forty one smiths of the Sukesada line recorded - and many more unrecorded. The first Yosozaemon is one of the most important of this line. The date on this blade is correct for the first.

  1. TANTO (not illustrated)

  • Signed Bingo Mihara no ju Masachika.

  • Date 1533;

  • Length of 7.8 inches;

  • Shape hira zukuri, take-no-ko-zori;

  • Hamon is suguba ko-midare, ko-ashi, yo, nie are coarse and brilliant, wide ha-buchi;

  • Jihada is ko-mokume, approaching nashiji, ji-nie, yubashiri;

  • Boshi is ko-maru;

  • Nakago is ubu;

  • Comments: .

  1. KATANA

  • Signed Kanesada.

  • Date mid-Muromachi;

  • Length of 27.4 inches;

  • Shape shinogi zukuri, koshi zori;

  • Hamon is suguba of nie in nioi, fushi nie in the ha-buchi are very brilliant;

  • Jihada is very subtle ko-mokume;

  • Boshi is maru;

  • Bo-hi on both sides;

  • Nakago is suriage;

  • Comments: One of the early Kanesada of Mino, the first two smiths being the most important. An excellent blade with a firm and strong shape.

  1. KATANA (not illustrated)

  • Signed Bishu Osafune Sukesada saku.

  • Date mid-Muromachi;

  • Length of 25.8 inches;

  • Shape shinogi zukuri, koshi zori, strong fumbari;

  • Hamon is choji midare with valleys of nioi, some formed like crab claws, typical Bizen togare tipped with nioi, koshi hiraita midare (open hipped);

  • Jihada is ko-itame;

  • Jitetsu is soft feeling and fine;

  • Boshi is midare komi;

  • Nakago is ubu of Bizen form;

  • Comments: This is a classic example of the mid-Muromachi blade of the Sukesada school made for practical use.

  1. WAKIZASHI

  • Signed Hirosuke.

  • Date circa 1555;

  • Length of 15.5 inches;

  • Shape hira zukuri, slight sori;

  • Hamon is gunome choji of nie, sunagashi, small kinsuji, ha-hada;

  • Jihada is ko-mokume which is very prominent and which may be used as an exact example of mokume;

  • Jitetsu is bluish, somewhat open texture;

  • Boshi is midare komi;

  • Bo-hi on both sides;

  • Nakago is ubu;

  • Comments: Hirosuke is a smith of the Shimada school of Suruga.

  1. TANTO

  • Signed Kanemichi.

  • Date late Muromachi;

  • Length of 10.6 inches;

  • Shape hira zukuri, slight sori;

  • Hamon is o-gunome, profuse nie in the area of the ha-buchi which is wide and brilliant;

  • Jihada is ko-mokume becoming masa close to the mune;

  • Jitetsu is fine and very clear;

  • Boshi is ko-maru (Mishina boshi);

  • Gomabashi-hi on omote, ura bo-hi;

  • Nakago is ubu;

  • Comments: Kanemichi was the founder of the prolific Mishina school of Mino which migrated to many parts of Japan during the succeeding period. Their blades are very numerous in western collections because of their rather obvious attractive qualities.

  1. KATANA

  • Signed Bizen Kuni no ju Osafune Shichibei no ju Sukesada.

  • Date 1580;

  • Length of 26.1 inches;

  • Shape shinogi zukuri, koshi zori;

  • Hamon is midare mainly nie, ashi, yo, sunagashi, same ara nie;

  • Jihada is primarily mokume;

  • Jitetsu well forged with prominent hada;

  • Boshi is hakkake;

  • Nakago is ubu, Bizen form;

  • Comments: One of the better smiths of the Sukesada school. Chu-mon uchi (special order).

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Edo Period (1596 - 1868)

Shinto and Shin-Shinto

Although the true Edo period comes a little later, Keicho is taken as the date separating Koto (Old Swords) from Shinto (New Swords). Before Keicho, swords were made in the traditional style of the place where the smith worked. After 1596 the relocation of the Daimyo and the movement of their vassal smiths with them makes the identification of place by method extremely difficult. Additionally, the use for the first time of factory steels causes swords made using them to look alike and to lose their distinctive identity. Traditional methods were violated and the swords of the Shinto Tokuden have fine grain, wide hamon, and ara nie. They are brittle and will break.

As was so often true, the period began with a tremendous surge of inspired creativity. A large number of talented smiths studied with the great metal worker Umetada Mioji at Nishijin in Kyoto and with his co-worker Kunihiro at Ichijo Horikawa. Most of the great master smiths of the Edo period were derived from this school.

Inspired largely by the efforts of Suishinshi Masahide, we find at the beginning of the 19th century a movement to return to the early traditional methods and shapes. Unfortunately, the models chosen were many times early, shortened examples. The shape, therefore, leaves something to be desired. Several outstanding smiths came out of the Suishinshi school. these swords are called 'Shin-Shinto' or "Newer-New Swords.'

  1. TANTO

  1. TACHI

  1. WAKIZASHI (not illustrated)

  1. KATANA

  1. TACHI

  1. KATANA (not illustrated)

  1. WAKIZASHI

  1. WAKIZASHI

  1. WAKIZASHI (not illustrated)

  1. KATANA (not illustrated)

  1. KATANA

  1. WAKIZASHI

  1. WAKIZASHI

  1. KATANA

  1. TACHI

  1. KATANA

  1. TANTO

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TSUBA SECTION

The fittings for the Japanese sword were designed for both functional and aesthetic purposes. The artist value of these fittings has survived not only the edict prohibiting the wearing of the sword, but the passing of the artists as well. In spite of this disappearance of the artisans, their contributions to the beauty of the mounted sword have become a distinct art form. This form has gained popularity in the western hemisphere - possibly because of the numerous facets which comprise the various mountings.

There are techniques and skills to satisfy the most exacting connoisseur as well as striking colors and designs to intrigue event the casual observer.

The fittings may be enjoyed on several levels. Some collectors acquire pieces for the obvious visual beauty of the decoration. Others collect as many various types or as many of a single type as possible. Those who go more deeply into the subject may be strongly influenced by the arbiters and judges of fashion in Japan and will at first adhere to their dictates, later he may follow his own path. What ever way the student chooses, the enjoyment and study within this field will offer both satisfaction and a challenge seldom to be found in any other.

This exhibit is primarily intended to illustrate the chronological development of the sword and its fittings. Since examples of tsuba prior to 1400 are very rare, even in museums and shrines in Japan, we are primarily confined to the 500 year span from 1400 to 1900.

Particular attention has been paid to the selection of examples which are typical of individual schools and the eras in which they enjoyed their greatest success. The styles of design and execution are sharply defined in many instances; but the influence of one school on another or a then-current fashion for particular subjects or techniques has provided the students and the experts with endless opinions and grounds for forming them.

All descriptions, datings and information in this catalogue are based on an exhaustive review of the literature on the subject. This research is further amplified by individual contributions from those who have made lifetime studies in the areas represented in this collection.

It will be noted that some pieces in the tsuba section have the annotation that they are certified pieces. This means that these pieces have been examined by one of the experts in Japan and they have passed judgment on the authenticity and quality of the piece. These certificates are written on the inside of the box lid in which the pieces are stored. The experts who have written these certificates mentioned in this exhibit are:

  • Kuwabara Yojiro, one of the leading experts in the early part of this century.

  • Ogura Soemon (Amiya Soe), author, dealer, and prime source of fine tsuba in the same period.

  • Torigoye Kazutaro (Kodo), author of many works on both the blade and the tsuba, now living in Okayama city. He is today the leading expert in the field of tsuba and is the mentor of the growing group of students in the west.

  • The Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai, the society for the preservation of Japanese art swords in Tokyo, headed by Mr. Hosokawa and Dr. Homma. They issue certificates in several grades from Tokubetsu Kicho (white paper), Marutoku (green paper), to higher grade certificates, which are issued only after a board of experts has passed on objects submitted for their consideration.

Robert E. Haynes

Tsuba on display at the exhibit.

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The earliest extant tsuba were made prior to the eighth century. They are the HOJU type, either iron plate, rarely decorated with silver inlay, or copper plate, usually covered with sheet gold. The iron plate example (described as number 5 in the sword section) is typical of the later style of Hoju tsuba.

Examples of tsuba made in the Nara period (710-793) are almost nonexistent outside of Japan. A few examples of tsuba of the Heian period (794-1185) are to be found in the West, such as number 65 (not illustrated).

A copy of the leather plate style of tsuba (Nerikawa tsuba) is displayed and shows what the original type of this tsuba made in the Heian period resembled. The rim cover of gilt copper and the black lacquer surface are typical of the old leather fighting tsuba. Another leather tsuba, probably of the Kamakura period (1186-1333) has a center core of iron and a raised lacquer decoration on the surface. This is a very rare example.

  1. (Not illustrated) A typical fighting tsuba of iron plate made in the late Kamakura period (circa 1300) illustrates this rare type. The raised design (a wide relief line) was at one time covered with sheet gold; only vestigial specks remain. The two side perforations (hitsuana) were added at a later date. the reverse side is flat and without decoration. This is a very rare example of the Kamakura katchushi tsuba. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Illustrated in the Tsuba Geijutsu Ko (1960), top of page 7. Thickness at center, 3.25 mm; at edge, 3 mm.

  5

Not illustrated.

 

65

Not illustrated.

 

66

Not illustrated.

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Swordsmith tsuba made prior to 1450 are exceedingly rare. The few examples extant are treasured by shrines and private collectors in Japan. From 1450 forward, examples are more numerous, but do not become common until the nineteenth century. At that time many of the famous Shinto and Shin-Shinto swordsmiths turned their hand to the making of tsuba in the popular style of the day or in the Nobuiye revival style.

  1. Signed Hata Naoaki, worked about 1860. Student of Shoji Naokatsu I. the shape of this tsuba represents the Daruma. Thickness 4.5 mm.

 

  67

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Large tsuba of thin plate with simple perforations are commonly called armorsmith tsuba, though there is no proof that the were actually made by the ancient armorers. It is more likely that they are the work of the earliest professional tsuba makers, though their individual identity is unknown. Examples date from about 1350 to 1900.

  1. Unsigned. Rare example of the early Muromachi (1425) style of armorsmith tsuba. The shape of the hitsu-ana has been changed at a later date. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center 2.75 mm, thickness at edge 6 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Typical example of middle Muromachi (1450) armorsmith tsuba. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 2.5 mm; at edge, 3.75 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Rare design of middle Muromachi tachi armorsmith tsuba. Thickness at center,  2.25 mm; at edge, 3.25 mm.

 

  68

69

70

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The genealogy of this family is recorded, though it is thought to be in error since it is now known that there were several generations who used the same name, such as Iyesada and Iyetada.

  1. Unsigned. A typical early example of the work of this school. Thickness at center, 2.75 mm; at edge, 4.5 mm.

  1. Signed Odawara (no) ju Saotome Iyesada. This tsuba is considered to be a masterpiece of the Saotome school. It was made about 1625. A gold tag affixed to the ring on the back of the helmet has the name Fujiwara Morifusa inscribed. This is probably the name of the owner. Thickness at center, 2.5 mm; at edge, 3 mm.

 

  71

72

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The artists of this school were students, or followers, of the Saotome masters. The majority of their work is of common quality; though in rare cases they created a few noble pieces. Signed work, such as Yamashiro (no) ju Tempo, Sanada, or Sanoda Tempo, is slightly better than the average example. This school worked during the Edo period (1600-1850).

  No illustrations.
 

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The name for this style of tsuba is said to be derived from a type of lacquer decorated with a similar style of carving, known as Kamakura-Bori lacquer. There is a theory that a few examples of the tsuba of this style may actually date from the Yoshino period (circa 1350), though there is no proof of this at this time. This style of tsuba went out of fashion in the early seventeenth century. There are no signed examples.

  No illustrations.
 

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The name for this school style is taken from the Onin era (1467-68). It is thought that this style of tsuba was made at least fifty years prior to this date and for a hundred years after. A few examples were made during the Edo period. Individual artists are unknown and there are no signed examples.

  1. Unsigned. Classic style of brass inlay Onin tsuba, intended for mounting on a tachi, but later used on a katana. Thickness 3.5 mm.

 

  73

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The name for this school is derived from the area of which Kyoto is the center. The individual artists signed their work in rare cases, but no family or school seems apparent. The school style is characterized by the decorative inlay of brass, either flush to the plate surface, or slightly raised above it, or a combination of the two. Ninety percent of all brass inlay tsuba are the work of this school which was active from about 1450 to 1850.

  1. Unsigned. Classic style of brass inlay Heianjo tsuba. Circa 1580. Thickness at center 5 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Later work of this school, circa 1700. Flush inlay of brass, copper, and silver. A masterpiece of this type. Illustrated in the de Haviland collection catalogue, page 53, number 29.  Thickness at center, 4 mm; at edge, 3 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Brass inlay style of about 1600. Good example of pictorial style. Thickness at center, 3.5 mm; at edge, 4.75 mm.

 

  74

75

Not illustrated.

76

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In addition to the above two schools there were the Kaga and Koike Yoshiro schools of brass inlay style. A few members of the Koike school moved to Okayama in Bizen. They worked there for a few generations during the Edo period. The Kaga school extended through the entire Edo period.

  1. Unsigned. Kaga crest inlay style of the earliest type, very rare. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness 3.25 mm.

  1. Signed, Izumi (no) Kami Yoshiro Koike Naomasa. One of the masterpieces by this artist. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 4 mm; at edge, 3.5 mm.

  1. Signed, Yoshiro saku. A typical example of the Bizen Yoshiro school. Illustrated in the Mosle collection catalogue, number 470. Thickness at center 4.25 mm.

 

  77

78

79

Not illustrated.

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This school had a parallel development to the Heianjo brass inlay school. By the seventeenth century, the two schools were completely integrated. The early style of this school is characterized by designs in bold positive openwork with occasional sparse brass inlay. A few signatured examples exist but they seem to be independent artists.

  1. Unsigned. Earliest style of this school. There are three brass dots of inlay on the face and two on the reverse side. Thickness 3.5 mm.

 

  80

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The development and growth of the Kyoto openwork school was parallel to, but slightly later than, the Heianjo openwork school. Its beginning was about 1550 and it reached its peak by 1580. The style was made until late in the Edo period; but the quality was in continuous decline during this time. The Daigoro school was a branch development of the Kyoto openwork school shortly after 1700. Their style gave new impetus to the then stagnant designs of the parent school.

  No illustrations.
 

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Kaneiye tsuba may be divided into many classes. First are the few extant examples by the first master, who signed Joshu Fushimi (no) ju Kaneiye. Then there are the examples by the first artist, who signed Yamashiro Kuni Fushimi (no) ju Kaneiye. In addition there are a few signed and unsigned examples made by students and followers of the second artist. Next there is the Saga Kaneiye school work. These are the work of the later followers after the school had moved to Saga in Hizen. They were made from 1600 to about 1850. In addition to the Saga style, there are numerous examples made at Aizu or on the docks at Yokohama as imitations for sale in Tokyo or to the foreigners. These imitations of the Saga style comprise more than eighty percent of the existing signed or unsigned Kaneiye tsuba.

  1. Signed Yamashiro Kuni Fushimi (no) ju Kaneiye. A fine example of the earliest student work, about 1625. The quality of the inlaid gold and the iron plate are both excellent. This tsuba is illustrated in the G. H. Naunton Collection catalogue (1912), plate XI number 21. Thickness at center, 3.75 mm; at edge, 4.25 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Early example in Saga style employing a design found on the work of the first and second Kaneiye. Thickness at center 4.25 mm.

  81

Not illustrated.

82

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Tsuba signed with the name Nobuiye are rather common. They may be divided into the following types: the first and second Nobuiye who lived during Momoyama to early Edo period (1550-1625); the dozen or so artists who used this name from 1625 to 1850 and worked in various provinces, such as Kaga, Kozuke, and Akasaka; the many forgeries in the style of the first Nobuiye made by Iwata Norisuke (first and second) and lesser imitators, who cashed in on the revival of the Nobuiye style about 1850. These forgeries account for the majority of the Nobuiye tsuba that are seen today.

  1. Signed Nobuiye. A typical example of the work of the first master, about 1575. The carving of the design is very delicate and the edge and feeling of the plate surface show the taste of this period. Illustrated in the Tsuba Geijutsu Ko, top of page 35. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 2.5 mm; at edge, 4.5 mm.

  1. Signed Nobuiye. A Typical example of the work of the second master, about 1600. Shows the power and strength usually to be found in the work of this artist. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 4 mm; at edge, 5.5 mm.

  83

Not illustrated.

84

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There are no known examples of tsuba by Myochin masters signed with the family name that were made before the early Edo period. After 1700, tsuba by this school were made in great quantities and followed the style of various prevailing schools of the later Edo period. One cannot say there is a typical Myochin style. The quality of the later work of this school is rather common.

  1. Signed Myochin Ozumi (no) Kami Ki Muneto. This is the second generation of this name, worked about 1750. In the family genealogy he is listed as the twenty-sixth master. This is a fine example of later Myochin work and shows this school at its best during the later Edo period. Thickness at center, 5.25 mm; at edge, 7 mm.

 

  85

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Authentic examples by the first two masters of this school are very rare, though forgeries of their work may be found by the dozens, most of which were made by the first and second Iwata Norisuke, (at least the better ones were). This school of Owari province particularly appealed to the samurai class. Tsuba of this school are usually signed.

  1. Signed Yamakichibei. An excellent example dating about 1600. The shakudo inlay and rim were added at a later date. Thickness at center 3 mm.

  86

Not illustrated.
 

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The first examples of this style of tsuba were made during the period from 1450 to 1550. The second period of production is from 1550 to about 1625. The third period, consisting mainly of imitations of the first periods, extends from 1625 to about 1800, then the style disappeared. The majority of the extant examples are from the third period.

  1. Unsigned. Rare example of the early work of the second period, dating about 1550. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 4.5 mm; at edge, 6 mm.

 

  87

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The style of this school is very difficult to define. The early work resembles that of the Yamakichibei school; but after the third generation the style became mixed with that of other schools. The only characteristics of the school are thick plate and many examples with acid etched designs. The Hoan divided into several groups and at least two of these moved from Owari province to start new branch schools.

  No illustrations.
 

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There were several independent small groups who worked in the Owari area in addition to the three schools mentioned above. The first and second Sadahiro were independent artists whose work is almost invariably of good quality and shows fine treatment of the iron plate, with strong decoration, and small amounts of inlay.

  1. Signed Sadahiro. A typical example of the first master. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center 4 mm.

 

  88

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Little is known of the artists who signed Nara Kaji, except their names, and the approximate period in which they worked. The best examples show a strong resemblance to good Owari style work, rather than Nara style. Examples of this school are exceedingly rare.

  1. Signed Nara Kaji Iyekuni. This is a good example by the best artist of this school. Date about 1600. Thickness at center, 4.75 mm; at edge, 5.5 mm.

 

  89

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The style of tsuba made by this Owari school was very popular with the samurai as early as the middle of the Muromachi period (1450). This popularity continued until late in the Edo age. First period examples date from 1450-1550. Second period examples date from 1550-1650. Third period examples, after 1650, are imitations of the first two periods.

  1. Unsigned. Good example of the late second period style, about 1600. Thickness at center 6 mm.

 

  90

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The Yagyu style did not appear until the middle of the Edo period (1750). It was very popular for about one hundred years. Originally the designs used for these tsuba were thirty six in number (san-ju-roku kasen); later this number was expanded to more than a hundred and fifty designs. There were also imitations made by other schools in the Owari area.

  1. Unsigned. Typical example of classic style of this school. Thickness at center 6.25 mm.

 

  91

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The date of origin of the first mirror maker tsuba, of cast bronze, is not known. At this time the date is fixed as about 1400 or slightly earlier. Examples of Yamagane plate were made until the early Edo age. Examples in brass were made from 1600 to about 1750.

  1. Unsigned. Cast bronze with center pattern resembling those used on very early bronze mirrors, dating about 1400. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Illustrated in the Tsuba Geijutsu Ko bottom of page 17. Thickness at center, 2 mm; at edge, 3 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Cast bronze with pictorial style of design. Excellent example of this type. Date about 1450. Thickness at center, 2.75 mm; at edge, 4.75 mm.

 

  92

Not illustrated.

93

 

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Tsuba and other mountings made by these artists date for the most part from the middle of the Muromachi period (1450). They were continuously made for the next three hundred years; but the quality steadily declined.

  1. Unsigned. Shakudo plate with sheet gold inlay on flower pattern. The style resembles the iron plate tsuba of about 1450, when this tsuba was made. The tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 3 mm; at edge, 7.5 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Solid silver plate with stamped raised dot surface (nanako) deeply carved flower design. The edge covered with scroll work in line carving. The hitsu-ana are typical of this style and the period (about 1450). This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 4 mm; at edge, 4.5 mm.

  1. Unsigned fuchi-kashira. Tachikanagu-shi style of 1450. Yamagane plate with inlay of copper and silver.

  1. Unsigned menuki. Yamagane plate, no inlay. Tachikanagu-shi style, about 1400.

 

  94

95

96

97

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Tsuba of this type were made by unrecorded artists who worked in the period from 1400 to 1600. Some were students of the Goto school and there is an uncertain relationship to the later Kinko schools which developed from these earlier styles.

  1. Unsigned. Shakudo plate with carved wave design. The rim is brass and the only one of its kind known; date about 1400. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 2 mm; at edge, 5mm.

  1. Unsigned. Shakudo plate with raised dot surface (nanako); made about 1450. Typical example of Ko-Kinko work of Goto derivation. Thickness at center, 4.5 mm; at edge, 5 mm.

  1. Unsigned fuchi-kashira. Ko-Kinko style of 1450. Shakudo nanako plate with gold inlay.

 

  98

99

100

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The Goto developed in Mino province during the Muromachi period (ca. 1400). Goto Yujo (1440-1512) and his followers were the main line of this school after moving from Mino to Kyoto about 1460. The Kyoto school became the dominant group and gave birth to the many branch schools of the Edo period. The Kaga school was independent of the Kyoto school during the Edo period.

  1. Unsigned. Shakudo plate with gold decoration dating about 1650. A typical example of the Mino Goto school. Thickness at center 3.25 mm.

  1. Unsigned fuchi-kashira. Mino Goto style, about 1675. Shakudo plate with gold surface over deep carving.

  1. Signed Teitogu (resident of the capital) Masaoki (Goto Seijo III), with gold seal: Homeido. Shakudo plate with surface decoration in imitation of Portuguese stamped leather. The third Seijo lived from 1747 to 1814. Illustrated in the Mosle Collection catalogue number 382. Thickness at center 4.75 mm.

  1. Unsigned kogai. Attributed to Goto Kojo (1529-1620), fourth master of main line, first son of third master, Joshin. In this example, Kojo was imitating the style of the first Goto master, his great-grandfather Yujo (1440-1512). This kogai is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Total length 21.1 mm.

  1. Signed Yamazaki Ichiga and kao. Worked about 1750. Shakudo nanako plate with inlay of gold, copper and silver. Ichiga is thought to be a student of the twelfth main line, Jujo (1695-1742). Thickness at center, 2.5 mm; at edge, 3.75 mm.

  1. Menuki signed Yamazaki Ichiga and kao (ca. 1750). Shakudo with gold and silver inlay.

  1. Signed Goto Mitsuyoshi (Shinjo) 1783-1834, fifteenth master of the main line. First son of the fourteenth master, Keijo (died 1804). Shibuichi plate, flat inlay of gold, copper and silver with surface carving. Design signed, "from a painting by Norinobu." The style of this piece was made popular by Hosono Masamori about 1700. This example is superior to Masamori workmanship. Illustrated in the Mosle Collection Catalogue number 267. Thickness at center, 4.5 mm; at edge, 2 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Shakudo plate with flush inlay of copper and gold. Typical example of old Kaga Goto school work, about 1650. Thickness at center 4 mm.

  1. Fuchi-kashira signed Yanagawa Naomasa, 1692-1757. The second son of Masatsugu and student of Yokoya Somin I (1670-1733). Contained in box certified by Kuwabara Yojiro and with certificate paper from Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai of the Marutoku grade (green paper). Illustrated in The Samurai Sword Handbook (1958) page 88.

  1. Signed Yanagawa Sairenko. Unrecorded name but probably that of one of the leading masters of the Yanagawa school, about 1750. Shakudo nanako plate with heavy gold border. Thickness at center 4.5 mm.

  1. Signed Omori Teruhide and dated 1777 (1730-1798). The adopted son of Terumasa. The third member of the Omori family. Shakudo plate with undercut wave design. Thickness at center 4.5 mm.

 

  101

102

103
 

Not illustrated.


104

105

106

107

Not illustrated.
Possibly found in the Mislabeled section below.


108

109

Not illustrated.

110

111

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During the Edo period the Mito area became one of the largest centers of production of various styles of tsuba. The majority of the schools and independent artists made mass production pieces of stereotype designs that may be seen in vast quantities. A few masterpieces were produced despite the general mediocrity of the work of this area.

  1. Signed Mito ju Tsuju saku (1698-1768). Student of Gunji Koami and Nara Toshinaga I. The design and style would indicate that this piece is either a copy or in the style of the first Toshinaga. It is considered to be the masterpiece of this artist. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center 4.5 mm.

  112

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The first Yasuchika is considered to be one of the three great Nara masters (Nara San-saku), with Nara Toshinaga and Sugiura Joi. the style of Yasuchika owed more to his heritage in Shonai as a student of the Shoami than to his tenuous relationship with Toshinaga and Joi.

  1. Signed Yasuchika (1670-1744). Iron plate with inlay of shakudo, gold and silver. A brass plate tsuba with this subject has been known in Japan for many years. This iron example was only recently discovered and is considered to be one of the masterpieces by the first Yasuchika. Thickness at center, 4.25 mm; at edge 5 mm.

  1. Signed Kikan. This is Noda Kikan (ca. 1700). Until recently only two or three examples of the work of this artist were known to exist, such as the famous tsuba with snake design in the Furukawa Collection, number 194. In the last few years, a few additional examples have been discovered, leading one expert to believe there were several generations of this name. Thickness at center 5.5 mm.

  1. Signed Morichika. This is a student of Tsuchiya Yasuchika VI (ca. 1835). Kozuka copper plate with inlay of shakudo and gold. Illustrated in the G. H. Naunton Collection catalogue, plate L number 1260.

 

  113

114

115

Not illustrated.

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The Nara workers were master decorators in the Goto style in their early development. To distinguish their work from that of the Goto school, they chose to inlay their decoration on iron plate rather than on soft metal plate. The best of their work in this style will have inlay of Goto quality on iron plate of superior forged and hammered texture.

  1. Unsigned. Typical example of the early Edo age (1625). Inlay of shakudo, gold and silver on iron plate that resembles Owari work. Illustrated in Legend in Japanese Art, opposite page 126 (bottom left hand corner). Thickness at center, 4.75 mm; at edge 6 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Rare example with poem carved on iron plate mentioning the exploits of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) in Korea. Seems to have been made shortly after the death of Hideyoshi. Illustrated in the Transactions of the Japan Society of London, Volume 15, plate III, number 16. Thickness at center, 4 mm; at edge, 3.5 mm.

  1. Signed Fujinaka Bensuke (ca. 1700). Inlay of copper, gold and shakudo. Illustrated in the Mosle Collection Catalogue number 591. Thickness at center, 6.5 mm; at edge 5.25 mm.

  1. Fuchi signed Toshinaga and kao. Brass plate with inlay of silver, shakudo and gold. This is the first Toshinaga (1667-1737).

  116

Not illustrated.

117

Not illustrated.

118

Not illustrated.

119

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The Hamano artists seem to have branched from the Nara school. Some examples that are now labeled Ko-Nara are in fact Ko-Hamano work. This school was very extensive and during the Edo period produced readily identifiable examples of better than average quality for the most part.

  1. Signed Miboku. Most probably an early example of the work of Hamano Shozui (1696-1769) while he was a student of Nara Toshinaga I. The eyes are inlaid gold and shakudo; the earrings are silver. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 3.75 mm; at edge, 3 mm.

  1. Kozuka signed Hamano Hiroyuki (ca. 1780). Illustrated in the Mosle Collection catalogue, number 1017.

  1. Kozuka signed Hamano Yasuyuki and seal (1763-1937). Illustrated in Mosle Collection catalogue, number 1028.

  1. Kozuka signed Hamano Haruyuki (ca. 1825). Illustrated in Koji Hoten, plate XLIV.

 

  120

121

Not illustrated.

122

Not illustrated.

123

Not illustrated.

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The origin of this school is unknown. It is now thought that they were a branch of the Ko-Shoami school who broke away sometime in the late Muromachi period (about 1550). The earliest work that bears a signature are those pieces signed Mitsutada. In the past it had been thought that Myoju was the founder of this school; but his true position is not known. He may have founded one style as a branch of the main school.

  1. Signed Mitsutada (ca. 1550). Brass plate with gold and silver inlay (nonome) decoration. Thickness at center, 3mm; at edge, 6.5 mm.

  1. Signed Umetada Shichiza (about 1750). It is not known which generation of this name produced this piece. Inlay of silver and gold. Thickness at center, 3.75 mm; at edge, 3.5 mm.

 

  124

125

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The name Shoami (which may be translated, "true, or original, men of the arts") is the oldest family name we have recorded who were professional tsuba makers. The origin of this family is unknown but they have left unsigned examples in armorsmith style that date about 1450. The first signed examples do not appear until early in the Edo period (1625). At that time the school dispersed from Kyoto to many of the provincial capitals, from Hiroshima to Dewa. There are several hundred recorded artists in this school.

  1. Unsigned. Awa Shoami work of one of the first three generations. Brass plate with inlay of gold and copper. This school did not work on iron plate until after the fifth generation. Thickness at center 3.5 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Early Bizen Shoami style, without inlay, about 1650. Shows power and strength of provincial Shoami work. Thickness at center, 4.25 mm; at edge, 4.75 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Shonai Shoami, copper plate with shakudo inlay, early example about 1650. Quality of plate resembles the surface of iron. Thickness at center, 5 mm; at edge, 3.75 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Work of Shonai Shoami Kiyonari (ca. 1700). Student of Shoami Yoshihisa. Illustrated in Shonai Kino Shu, number 29 (ex. Ichibara Heisaburo collection). Thickness at center 4.75 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Hiroshima Shoami style about 1700. There are no signed examples of this branch of the Kyoto school but their work resembles the style of Bizen Shoami school. Thickness at center 5 mm.

  1. Signed Shoami (ca. 1750). Work of Aizu Shoami Ikko. Good typical example. Thickness at center, 3.25 mm; at edge, 4.2 mm.

  1. Fuchi-kashira signed Sanshu ju Shoami Nobuiye (ca. 1750). The work of this artist is very rare. He made a few tsuba that resemble the work of the first Nobuiye. Illustrated G. H. Naunton Collection catalogue, plate XVIII, number 260.

  1. Fuchi-kashira signed Matsuyama Shoami Moritomi (ca. 1700). Shakudo plate with gold inlay. Iyo Shoami school.

 

  126

127

128

129

130

131

132

Not illustrated.

133

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The Akasaka were students of the Kyoto openwork school who moved to Akasaka in Edo, about 1625. They were under the employ of Kariganeya Hikobei, a shop owner and artist, who created the designs and a few pieces. This school had many students and flourished until the end of the Edo period.

  1. Unsigned. Typical example of the work of Akasaka Kariganeya (ca. 1600). His work is very rare. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 4 mm; at edge, 6.5 mm.

  1. Signed Bushu (no) ju Akasaka Tadanori. Very good example in later Akasaka style, about 1700. Thickness at center 4.5 mm.

 

  134

135

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The Kinai school in Echizen originated early in the Edo period. There are eight recorded generations, all of whom signed "Echizen (no) ju Kinai." Extant examples of the first Kinai are almost nonexistent, though the later work of this school is very common.

  No illustrations.
 

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Though the true origin of this artist is unknown, it seems obvious from his style of work that he was a student of the Tachi fittings makers of the late Muromachi period. When he moved to Higo province, under the patronage of Hosokawa Tadaoki (1564-1645), he became the teacher of the first Nishigaki and the senior artist of the Higo group.

  1. Unsigned. Yamagane plate with shakudo Odawara style of rim cover. Excellent example of the first Hikozo. He died in 1635. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Illustrated in Tsuba Geijutsu Ko, bottom of page 62. Thickness at center, 4.25 mm; at edge, 5 mm.

  136

Not illustrated.
 

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It has been stated that Matashichi came from Owari to work for Hosokawa Tadaoki. The quality of his iron plate and the designs he employed would indicate that his origin was more likely from Kyoto, rather than Owari. He is the most renowned artist of the Higo group. The Hayashi family extended through eight generations.

  1. Unsigned. Typical example of Hayashi Matashichi (1613-1699). He is thought to have been the originator of this plum branch design. Certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Illustrated in Tsuba Geijutsu Ko, bottom of page 67.  Thickness at center, 6 mm; at edge, 5.5 mm.

  1. Signed Hayashi Matahei and dated April, 1810. Fifth master of Hayashi family. Very rare signed and dated example. Thickness at center, 5 mm; at edge, 4.5 mm.

 

  137

Not illustrated.

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The first Nishigaki Kanshiro (Yoshihiro) was a student of Hirata Hikozo; but he owes his style more to Matashichi than to Hikozo. There were eight generations of this family. The later generations were students of the Kumagai school of Higo.

  1. Unsigned. Example of the first Nishigaki Kanshiro (1613-1693). This is a very early example of his work. Certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 5.5 mm; at edge, 5 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Typical example of the first Kanshiro. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Illustrated in Tsuba Geijutsu Ko, bottom of page 72. Thickness at center, 5.25 mm; at edge, 4.5 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Brass plate example of the first Kanshiro. This wave design was originated by Hirata Hikozo; but the waves are more vertical. Certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Illustrated in Tsuba Geijutsu Ko, top of page 74. Thickness at center, 4.5 mm; at edge, 3.5 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Typical example of the second Kanshiro (1639-1717). This design was borrowed from the Hayashi school. Certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Thickness at center, 5.75 mm; at edge, 5.25 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Typical example of the second Kanshiro.  Thickness at center, 5.5 mm; at edge, 5.25 mm.

  1. Signed Nishigaki Kampei at age 73 (ca. 1675). Kampei was the brother of the second Kanshiro. Typical example of his later work. Thickness at center, 5 mm; at edge, 4.25 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Later Kanshiro style, copper plate, gold covered, with raised inlay of shakudo, gold and silver. Rare style. Thickness at center, 3.75 mm; at edge, 3.5 mm.

  1. Unsigned fuchi-kashira. Higo work of Kanshiro school about 1700. Shakudo plate.

 

  139

140

Not illustrated.

141

Not illustrated.

142

143

144

145

146

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Shimizu Jingo I lived at Yatsushiro (often misread Hachi Dai, 8th generation), as did the succeeding generations. The style of the first two Jingos owes a great deal to the brass inlay Heianjo school of Kyoto and no doubt the first Jingo was a student, or member, of that school. This school also did damascene inlay (nunome) work.

  1. Unsigned. Eagle in brass inlay style of second Jingo (ca. 1650). Thickness at center, 5 mm; at edge, 4.5 mm; inlay thickness, 2 mm.

 

  147

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There were four members of this school. The work of the first, Masatada (1766-1820), is unsigned and very rare. The work of the second, Fukanobu (1798-1851), is competent and rather common. The third master, Rakuju Masayasu (1817-1884), was an exceptional artist in nearly every style. His best work is considered second only to that of Hayashi Matashichi. The younger brother of Rakuju, Chuhachi (died 1886) made a few tsuba in the style of his brother.

  1. Unsigned. Typical example of Rakuju style of gold inlay on iron plate. Thickness at center 4 mm.

 

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There were a number of smaller schools and many independent artists working in Higo province through most of the Edo period. The most important of these are: the Toyama family, Nakane Heihachiro, Miyamoto Musashi, Manichibo, the Suwa family, Misumi Koji, Kumagai, the Tsuboe school, and the Edo Higo.

  1. Unsigned. Typical example of tsuba style, yamagane plate, of Miyamoto Musashi 9ca. 1590). Thickness at center, 4.75 mm; at edge, 4.5 mm.

  1. Signed Kushu Higo (no) ju Toyama saku (ca. 1620). Rare example with crest of Hosokawa family. Illustrated in the Mosle Collection catalogue, number 842. Thickness at center, 5.25 mm; at edge, 4.75 mm.

  1. Signed Yatsushiro Shi (samurai of Yatsushiro) Sadayei saku (ca. 1700). Illustrated in Legend in Japanese Art, opposite page 76, top left hand corner. Thickness at center, 5.25 mm; at edge, 4.75 mm.

  1. Signed Suwa Katsumasa at age 75 (ca. 1850). This probably is the work of the last Suwa master, Daisaku. gold inlay of broken twig design, openwork of Hosokawa crest. Thickness at center 4.75 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Good example of the work of Kumagai Yoshiyuki (ca. 1830). Thickness at center, 5.25 mm; at edge, 4.5 mm.

 

  149

150

Not illustrated.

151

Not illustrated.

152

153

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Ko-Hagi tsuba (meaning tsuba of early Choshu style) are in reality Kyoto openwork tsuba and have only a tenuous relationship to the old Choshu style. Tsuba of this design were made during the entire Edo age.

  1. Unsigned. Early example (1625) of typical "Ko-Hagi tsuba." Thickness at center, 4.5 mm; at edge, 5.5 mm.

 

  154

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There were many families of tsuba artists living in Choshu province. The Kawaji, Nakai, Okamoto, Okada, Nakabara, Inouye, Yaji, Kaneko, Itoga, in addition to a number of lesser schools and independent artists. The best examples of their work are excellent; but the majority are very common.

  1. Signed Nagato Kuni Hagi ju Nakai Zensuke Tomotsune (1669-1723). Excellent example by the first master. Illustrated in the G. H. Naunton Collection catalog plate XXXV, number 872. Thickness at center 4.5 mm.

  1. Signed Nagato Kuni Hagi ju Umetada Nobushige (1660-1722). Third master of Okada family. Thickness at center 4.25 mm.

  1. Signed Matsudai (ni) Kore (wo) Kosu (made by the last of the family). Example of last member of the Okamoto family, rare signature. Illustrated in the G. H. Naunton Collection catalog plate 37, number 902 (ca. 1875-1900). Thickness at center, 5.5 mm; at edge, 5 mm.

  155

Not illustrated.

156

157

Not illustrated.
 

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There were several schools and independent artists working in the Sendai area. The two most important of these are Sendai Kiyosada and Sendai Zembei.

  1. Signed Sendai (no) ju Kiyosada (ca. 1775). Shakudo plate with flat gold inlay. Illustrated in Mosle Collection catalog, number 154, and in Koji Hoten, figure 837. Thickness at center 4.25 mm.

  1. Unsigned. Gold and shakudo inlay on iron plate. Excellent example of the work of Sendai Zembei. This tsuba is certified by Dr. Torigoye Kodo. Illustrated in J. C. Hawkshaw Collection catalogue plate XXVII, number 1507 (erroneously attributed by H. L. Joly as Kyoto work). Thickness at center 5 mm.

  158

Not illustrated.

159

Not illustrated.
 

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The first master is recorded as working in armorsmith style. The later generations tended to follow the styles that were popular during their respective periods.

  1. Unsigned. Style of first Suruga (ca. 1625). Note copper plugs at top and bottom of central opening, typical of this school. Thickness at center, 3.25 mm; at edge, 4 mm.

 

  160

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In addition to the Shoami of Shonai, a number of other schools and independent artists worked in the Dewa area. Two of the best masters were Ikeda Kazutsugu and Katsurano Sekibun, first and second.

  1. Signed Shonai (no) ju Ikeda Kazutsugu (ca. 1850). Typical example of this artist's work. Illustrated in Shonai Tsuba Shu, number 205 (ex. Ito Kozo collection). Thickness at center, 6.5 mm; at edge, 9 mm.

  1. Signed Yurakusai Sekibun (ca. 1870). Rare example of design taken from a famous tsuba by the first Yasuchika. Thickness at center 3.75 mm (slightly cupped shape).

 

  161

Not illustrated.

162

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Various Artists and Schools

  1. Signed Horai (ca. 1750). This design is associated with this school of country smiths. Thickness at center 4.75 mm.

  1. Signed Yasaka Eikan (ca. 1775). Gold inlaid edge, large example. Thickness at center, 5.25 mm; at edge, 5.75 mm.

 

  163

164

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The true story of Soten style tsuba is unknown; but it can be said that better than 95% are later work in imitation of what must have been one style made during the lifetime of the first and second Soten. Most of these imitations were either made in Kyoto by the Hiragiya school, at Aizu by the Shoami school, or at the docks of Yokohama intended fro sale to the Europeans and Americans.

  No illustrations.
 

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Sahari is a very hard alloy that was originally used as a decorative metal inlay on gun barrels. It was applied later by the Kunitomo family and the Hazama workers to the decoration of tsuba on either iron plate or soft metal plate.

  1. Signed Seishu Kameyama (no) ju Sadahide saku (ca. 1700). Sahari inlay on iron plate, very fine example. Thickness at center 5.5 mm.

  1. Signed Hazama (ca. 1700). Typical example of this style of Sahari inlay on iron plate. Thickness at center 4.25 mm.

 

  165

166

Not illustrated.

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Early examples of Hirata gold Shippo (cloisons of gold wire) with translucent enamel paste are very rare. The majority of the extant cloisonné fittings were made in the 19th century for export purposes, either incorporating old iron plates or using contemporary plates made by other artists.

  1. Unsigned. Style of Hirata Narikazu, second master (died 1652). Gold wire cloisonné, inlay of green background with red, purple, white, yellow, and blue. The rim is similarly inlaid. Thickness at center, 5 mm; at edge, 6.75 mm.

  1. Signed Narisuke, seventh master (died 1816). Gold wire inlay with translucent paste raised above the surface of the iron plate. Thickness at center 5.75 mm.

 

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In the strict sense of the word, Namban should refer only to those fittings which have foreign subjects, other than Korean and Chinese (which were not considered to be foreign). Similar tsuba with Chinese style designs, of symmetrical proportions, are Kanton tsuba. Those with native subjects, of asymmetrical proportions are Kagonami tsuba. In addition to these styles, there were several schools at Nagasaki, such as Jakushi, Mitsuhiro, Kunishige, Umetada of Hizen, and a native inlay school. They flourished through the entire Edo period.

  1. Unsigned. Namban tsuba of old armor smith style plate. The two crosses were added later, but seem to show age in the perforations. Thickness at center 3 mm.

  1. Fuchi-kashira signed Hirada ju Kunishige (ca. 1725). Brass plate with gold inlay.

  1. Signed Hikone (no) ju Jakushi (ca. 1800). Rim cover of shibuichi with gold and silver inlay. Illustrated in Behrens collection catalogue, plate LIV, number 1105. Thickness at center, 5.5 mm; at edge, 2.5 mm.

 

  169

170

171

Not illustrated.

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Though the iron plate tsuba artists still exercised their skill throughout the Edo period, it was the Kinko who dominated the age. From a slow beginning, as students of the Goto school about 1600, they expanded to the position where by 1850 nearly every school was obliged to emulate the soft metal plate or at least to imitate their style. It was the merchant class who patronized their art and made their style so popular. A slight revulsion against this opulence was expressed by the revival of the old spirit of the simple iron tsuba; but this lasted but a few years and was soon engulfed by an even gaudier style and technical virtuosity that came to its zenith in the period from 1900 to 1920. This style was more akin to naturalistic painting in metal, with a full palette of colors and three dimensional carving. They had lost the spirit and the utilitarian aspects of the true sword guard; but then, the sword was not intended for use at this time and these pieces must be admired for their technical perfection. And thus they brought the age of the tsuba artist to an end.

  1. Signed Nomura Masamichi and kao, at 81 years of age (died 1757). Copper plate, inlay of shakudo and silver. Thickness at center 4.25 mm.

  1. Signed Ozaki Naomasa and kao (died 1782). Iron plate with inlay of gold, copper and silver in high relief. Thickness at center 5.25 mm.

  1. Signed Ishiguro Masatsune carved this (and) Kato Naotsune made the nanako. Kato Naotsune (ca. 1750) was the teacher of Masatsune (1760-1829), the founder of the Ishiguro school. This set of fittings, with the two signatures is very important and was probably made while Masatsune was still a student of Naotsune. Thickness of tsuba at center, 5 mm; at edge, 3.75 mm.

  1. Signed Unsansai Hironaga (ca. 1825). Shakudo nanako plate with inlay of copper, gold and silver. Thickness at center 5.25 mm.

  1. Signed Hosono Shazaemon Masamori and kao (ca. 1750). Illustrated in the Mosle Collection catalogue, number 1306. Thickness at center 4 mm.

  1. Signed Chohan Okatomo Seidai bori, Kenyei and seal (ca. 1825). Shibuichi plate with inlay of copper, shakudo and silver. Thickness at center 4.5 mm.

  1. Signed Iwamoto Ryokan and kao (ca. 1725). Fourth master of line and teacher of Iwamoto Konkan. Silver plate with rubbed gold surface. Illustrated in Mosle Collection catalogue, number 1415. Thickness at center 4.25 mm.

  1. Signed Echizen (no) Daijo Ichinomiya Nagatsune and kao (1722-1787). Iron plate with high relief inlay of gold, silver and shakudo. Thickness at center, 3.75 mm; at edge 4.25 mm.

  1. Signed Goto Hokkyo Ichijo and kao (1791-1876). Pair of tsuba (dai-sho). Shakudo plate with stamped surface design. These tsuba are certified by Amiya Soe (Ogura Soemon). Thickness at center 3.5 mm.

  1. Signed Katsuhei at age 76, from a drawing by Icchoshi (1804-1886). Shibuichi plate with gold, silver and shakudo inlay. Thickness at center, 4.5 mm; at edge, 5.5 mm.

  1. Signed Hagiya Katsuhei and kao (ca. 1900). Shibuichi plate with shakudo, gold and silver inlay. Son of the above artist. Thickness at center, 3.75 mm; at edge, 5 mm.

  1. Signed Natsuo and kao (1828-1898). Iron plate with low relief carving and gold inlay. Thickness at center 4.75 mm.

  1. Signed Sadakatsu and kao (ca. 1915). Shibuichi plate with gold, silver, copper, and shakudo inlay. (Door can be opened and closed.) Thickness at center 5 mm.

  1. Fuchi-kashira signed Ishiguro Koreyoshi saku (ca. 1850). Shakudo nanako with inlay of copper, gold, silver, and brass.

  1. Fuchi-kashira signed Mitama Joshi (ca. 1775). Daughter of Murakami Jochiku. Shibuichi with inlay of shakudo and gold.

 

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173

174



175

176

Not illustrated.

177

178

Not Illustrated.

179

180

181

182

183

184

185

186

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Mislabeled Illustrations

Tsuba is labeled at 96; however, item 96 is described as fuchi-kashira, with appropriate illustrations.

 

 

 

 

 

Tsuba is not labeled. Possibly should be item 107.

 

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GLOSSARY

The Glossary consists of figures that illustrate the terms and a vocabulary list.

 


Types of Swords

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Sori (Curve)

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Mei (Signature)

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Nakago and Nakago Tip (Jiri) Shapes

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Blade Shapes

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Boshi Shapes (Hamon at Tip of Blade)

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Hada (Skin) Patterns

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Hamon Shapes

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Vocabulary

(Hyphens are sometimes used, sometimes omitted, sometimes replaced with blanks. Some terms are added to those in the catalog.)
 
ANA: hole.
ARA-NIE: coarse or large nie (see Hada Patterns above for other patterns).
ASHI: "legs" extending into hamon (see Hamon Shapes above).
BOHI: straight simple groove.
BONJI: debased Sanskrit characters.
BOSHI: pattern of hamon in point (see Boshi Shapes above).
CHIKEI (jikei): shining line of martensite in the ji.
CHOJI: clove shaped hamon (see Hamon Shapes above).
CHUKAN ZORI: straight short blade (see Sori above for other shapes).
CHU-SUGUHA: medium width straight hamon (see Hamon Shapes above for other shapes).
DAI-SHO: long and short pair of swords, with matching fittings and sometimes matched blades.
FUCHI-KASHIRA: metal collar around base of hilt & cap of hilt (see Types of Swords above for illustrations).
FUMBARI: narrowing of blade from hilt to point.
FUNAGATA: boat-shape nakago (see Nakago and Nakago Tip Shapes above for other shapes).
FUSHI: irregularity in hamon, like knot (see Hamon Shapes above for other shapes).
FUTATSU JI-BI: double groove along full length of blade.
GOMABASHI-HI: short double groove resembling chop sticks.
GUNOME: repeated series of controlled irregularities in hamon (sambon sugi) (see Hamon Shapes above).
HA: edge of sword.
HADA (jihada): the figures formed by the juncture of welds in the ji (see Hada Patterns above).
HA-BUCHI: the area of transition between the ha and the ji.
HA-HADA: figures formed by the juncture of welds in the ji (see Hada Patterns above).
HAKIKAKE (hakkake): broom-swept pattern in the boshi (see Boshi Shapes above).
HAKKAKE (hakikake): broom-swept pattern in the boshi (see Boshi Shapes above).
HAMON: pattern of the tempered edge (see Hamon Shapes above).
HITATSURA: pattern of the detached areas of hardened steel over entire blade.
HI: any groove.
HIRA ZUKURI: flat blade without shinogi (see Blade Shapes above).
HIRO: wide.
HITSUANA: openings on either side of central opening in a tsuba.
HORI: carving.
HOTSURE: an unraveling or looseness of the hamon seen in habuchi (see Hamon Shapes above).
ICHIMAI-BOSHI: composed entirely of hard steel (see Boshi Shapes above).
INAZUMA: shining line of martensite in the ha resembling lightning.
ITAME: hada like elongated or irregular wood grain (see Hada Patterns above).
JI: area between hamon and the shinogi.
JIHADA (hada): the figures formed by the juncture of welds in the ji (see Hada Patterns above).
JIKEI (chikei): shining line of martensite in the ji.
JI-NIE: nie in the area between the hamon and the shinogi.
JIRI (shiri): tip of the nakago (see Nakago and Nakago Tip Shapes above).
JI-TETSU: the steel itself, with special reference to its qualities
JUKA-CHOJI: double choji (see Hamon Shapes above for other shapes).
KAERI: (return) turn-back of the boshi (see Boshi Shapes above).
KAGONAMI: tsuba with native subjects, of asymmetrical proportions.
KAJI: a smith.
KAKIHAN (or kao): personal carved cipher following the name.
KANTON: tsuba with Chinese style designs, of symmetrical proportions.
KAO (or kakihan): personal carved cipher following the name.
KATANA: long sword of pair, worn edge up (see Types of Swords above for illustrations).
KATANA MEI: signature on the omote side for a katana (see Mei (Signature) above).
KAWAZUKO-CHOJI: tadpole shaped choji.
KEN: an ancient, straight, double-edged sword (see Blade Shapes above for other shapes).
KINKO: "gold workers," artists who made decorative fittings in Edo period.
KINSUJI: short curved shining line of martensite in the ha.
KISSAKI: the point of the blade.
KO: small - ko-ashi, ko-choji, etc.
KOSHI-BI: short groove in waist of blade.
KO-ZORI: small curvature (see Sori above).
KOSHI-ZORI: large curvature with maximum deviation from straight line closer to the nakago than to the tip (see Sori above).
KOZUKA: "small hilt," utility knife handle stored in pocket in sheath (see Types of Swords above for illustrations).
KUICHIGAI-HI: groove of complex form.
MARU: round (see Boshi Shapes above).
MASA (masame): straight parallel grain (see Hada Patterns above).
MASAME (masa): straight parallel grain (see Hada Patterns above).
MATSUKAWA: hada like pine bark (see Hada Patterns above for other patterns).
MEI: signature (see Mei (Signature) above).
MEKUGI: pin that secures the handle to the blade (see Types of Swords above for illustrations).
MEKUGI-ANA: holes in nakago for pin that secures the handle to the blade (see Types of Swords above for illustrations).
MENUKI: metal ornaments on either side of the handle to improve grip (see Types of Swords above for illustrations).
MIDARE: hamon that is irregular in shape (see Hamon Shapes above).
MOKUME: hada like burl-grain-wood (see Hada Patterns above).
MON: family or clan crest or symbol.
MONOUCHI: approximately first 6 inches of blade from the point back.
MOROHA ZUKURI: double edged blade form in tanto (see Blade Shapes above).
MUNE: back of the blade.
NAKAGO: tang of the blade (inside handle) (see Nakago and Nakago Tip Shapes above).
NAMBAN: fittings which have foreign subjects, other than Korean and Chinese (which were not considered to be foreign).
NANAKO: decoration of small raised dots on plate of fittings.
NASHIJI HADA: fine grained hada like the skin of a pear (see Hada Patterns above for other patterns).
NIE: bright particles of martensite like tiny mirrors in the steel (see Hada Patterns above).
NIE SAKI: opening in the hamon like a tear.
NIJUBA: double hamon (see Hamon Shapes above for other shapes).
NIOI: martensite resembling a cloud (see Hada Patterns above).
NOTARE: hamon of elongated undulations (see Hamon Shapes above).
NUNOME: damascene inlay of sheet metal fastened to a cross-hatched ground.
O: large - o-midare, o-choji, etc.
OMOTE: front side of ... . On a sword, this is the side of the blade that is away from the body when it is worn.  This means that the omote side on a tachi is opposite from that of other swords. The signature is on the omote (see Mei (Signature) above).
ORIGAMI: certificate of authenticity.
RENGE: lotus.
SAHARI: alloy of copper-87%, tin-8.3%, lead-4.3%, katashirome-0.4%.
SAN-JU-ROKU KASEN: 36 most renowned poets who lived before 11th century.
SHAKUDO: alloy of nigurome (katashirome and copper) plus 6 to 7% gold.
SHIBUICHI: alloy of copper-60% and silver-40%, to produce best grade.
SHINOGI: ridge line in the flat of the blade, along its length.
SHINOGI ZUKURI: blade form made of three planes (see Blade Shapes above).
SHIRI (jiri): termination of tang (see Nakago and Nakago Tip Shapes above).
SORI (zori): curve of the blade (see Sori above).
SOYE-BI: small groove beside long groove.
SUGUBA (suguha): straight hamon (see Hamon Shapes above).
SUGUHA (suguba): straight hamon (see Hamon Shapes above).
SU-KEN: single form of ken blade.
SUNAGASHI: nie like pebbles in bed of stream (see Hada Patterns above).
SURIAGE: shorten. Swords were shortened by cutting off part of the nakago.
TACHI: long sword, worn edge down (see Types of Swords above for illustrations).
TACHI MEI: signature on the omote side for a tachi (see Mei (Signature) above).
TAKE-NO-KO-ZORI: form of blade resembling a bamboo shoot (see Blade Shapes above for other shapes).
TANAGO BARA: tang shape of belly of the tanago fish (see Nakago and Nakago Tip Shapes above).
TANTO: very short sword (hunting knife size). Term includes several shapes. (see Types of Swords above for illustrations).
TOGARE: pointed configurations in hamon (see Hamon Shapes above).
TORI-ZORI: large curvature with maximum deviation from straight line near the center (see Sori above).
TSUBA: metal plate mounted on sword between handle and blade (see Types of Swords above for illustrations).
TSUKA: handle (see Types of Swords above for illustrations).
TSURE-BI: small groove following upturn of point on long groove.
UBU: original, unshortened tang.
U-NOKUBI ZUKURI: form of blade shaped as head of cormorant (see Blade Shapes above).
URA: back side of ... . The other side from omote (see omote above).
UTSURI: faint misty pattern in ji.
UTSUMUKU: straightening of the blade toward the point.
WAKIZASHI: short sword of pair, worn edge up (see Types of Swords above for illustrations).
YAKI: hardened steel - tobiyaki, etc.
YAKIBA: hardened steel of the edge.
YAMAGANE: "mountain metal," unrefined natural copper as taken from the ground.
YAKIDASHI: straightening of hamon close to the tang.
YAKIZUMI: boshi without turn-back (see Boshi Shapes above).
YO: detached ashi resembling a dot in the hamon.
YUBASHIRI: cluster of nie in ji.
ZANGURI: texture of steel resembling a pear cut across the grain.
ZORI (sori): curve of the blade (see Sori above).
 

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Berger, Dr. Karl. Japanske Svaerdprydelser. Hugo Halberstadts Samling af-Skaenket det danske Kunstindustrimuseum. Copenhagen, 1963. (Small catalogue of one of the best collections outside Japan.)

Furukawa Toranosuke. The Furukawa-Wada Collection of Swordmounts. Tokyo, 1913. (One of the finest collections in Japan.)

Hara, Shinkichi. Die Meister der Japanischen Schwertzieraten, with Anhang. Hamburg, 1931. (Lists about 3,000 of the 10,000 known artists.)

Homma Junji. Masterworks of Japanese Swords by Masamune and His School. Tokyo, 1961. (Partial English text.)

Homma Junji. Masterpieces of Japanese Swordguards. Tokyo, 1952.

Joly, H. L. Legend in Japanese Art. London, New York, 1908.

Joly, H. L. Japanese Swordmounts in the J. C. Hawkshaw Coll. London, 1910.

Joly, H. L. Japanese Swordfittings in the G. H. Naunton Coll. London, 1912.

Joly, H. L. W. L. Behrens Collection Catalogue. Part III. London, 1913-14.

Joly, H. L. Shosankenshu. London, 1963. (The recorded Kao are valuable.)

Kozan Sakakibara, revised and edited by H. Russell Robinson. The Manufacture of Armour and Helmets in 16th cent. Japan. London, 1963.

Mosle, A. G. The Alexander G. Mosle Collection. 2 volumes and supplement, with 2 portfolios of plates. Leipzig, 1932.

Robinson, B. W. A Primer of Japanese Sword Blades. London, 1956.

Robinson, B. W. The Arts of the Japanese Sword. London, 1961. (The most recent work in English on both blades and fittings.)

van Daalen, Jr., J. Japanese Swordfurniture Collection of the Late General J. C. Pabst. The Hague, 1956. (Technical data & bibliography.)

Vauntier, P. Japanische Schwertzierten der Sammlung G. Oeder. Berlin, about 1920. (One of the best collections in the West, now lost.)

Yumoto, John M. The Samurai Sword, a Handbook. Chs. E. Tuttle Co., 1958.

REFERENCES WITH JAPANESE TEXT

Fujishiro Yoshio. Nihon Toko Jiten (Koto & Shinto Hen). Tokyo, 1939. (Accurate reproductions of signatures of swordsmiths.)

Homma Junji. Nihon Koto Shi. Tokyo, 1958. (A study of blades prior to 1600.)

Homma Junji. Nihon Meito Zukan. Tokyo, 1963. (Famous blades of the ages.)

Honnami Koson. Nihon-to no Jokoto Tokuchi. Tokyo, 1955-61. (Treatise on all aspects of the history and appraisal of blades.)

Horikawa Kunihiro Toso no Deshi. Tokyo, 1962. (Photographs and descriptions of swords made by Kunihiro and his students.)

Juyo Token Nado Zufu. Published by the Nihon Token Hozon Kyokai. Issued periodically, volume I, 1958, volume XI, 1963. To be continued as new authentications appear and are compiled.)

Kawaguchi Noboru. Tsuba Taikan. Tokyo, 1935. (Compiled from exhibition held 1934.)

Kawaguchi Noboru. Kinko Soran. Tokyo, 1959. (List of about 6,000 artists.)

Kuwabara Yojiro. Nihon Soken Kinko Shi. Tokyo, 1941. (Best work on soft metal workers.)

Remei Kai Meito Zuroku. Tokyo, 1960. (Swords of the Tokugawa collection.)

Shimizu Fudaku. Ko-Kon Kinko Zenshu. Tokyo, 1959. (List of artists.)

Shimizu Fudaku. Tosho Zenshu. Tokyo, 1963. 2 Volumes. (Lists of swordsmiths with information on styles and relative value given.)

Torigoye, Dr. Kazutaro. Tsuba Geijutsu Ko (Aesthetic study of tsuba). Okayama, 1960. (New research and study on tsuba. English ed. proposed.)

Tsunehira, Okochi and Shibata Mitsuo. Shumi no Nihon To. Tokyo, 1963. (A study of the forging, appraisal and handling of the sword.)

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MEMBERS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

TO-KEN KAI AND LENDERS

Paul Allman     Muneto Maruyama  
Akira Asakura     John T. McCrosson  
Joseph Bott
Founding Member
  Fritz Miller
Boston Museum of Fine Arts     Charles Mitchell
Avery Brundage   Robert Moes (Tokyo)  
Hans Conried
Founding Member
  Gaylord Moss
Charles Cowdrey   Tetsuo Nomiyama  
Bernie Craig
Founding Member
    Robert Otoi  
Jack A. Decker     Jack Paras  
Dr. V. A. de Mignard     Lilla Perry  
Paul Dinant
Founding Member
    Harry E. Pincus  
Milton Donals     Jack Rains
Bert Elkind     B. W. Robinson (London)  
Elton Ericson     Dr. Nathan Rosenbloom  
Elaine Ericson     Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto)  
Ed Hamilton Falk     Bert Sherman  
Field Marshall Sir Francis Festing (G.B.)   Donald Sonderling

 

 
Fujimura Kunitoshi (Iwakuni)
Swordsmith
  Donald Stoehr

 

 
Victor Goldis     Sam Takechi  
John Harding (London)     Robert Takata  
Dr. Vance C. Hall     Togo Tanaka  
Colonel Dean Hartley
President
  Dr. Kazutaro Torigoye (Okayama)

 

 
Dean S Hartley III   Toshimitsu Imaizumi (Osafune)
Swordsmith

 

Charles I. Haughton     Victoria & Albert Museum (London)

 

 
W. M. Hawley
Founding Member
  George Vitt
Founding Member

 

Robert E. Haynes
Founding Member
  Robert Wainwright
Founding Member
Yashitaka Higashi     Hubert H. Weiser  
Frank Ikeda     Joseph Wernig  
E. I. Itani     Robert Wright  
F. K. Kageyama     Robert Yamaguchi  
Yasu Kizu   Walter Yamaguchi  
Richard Knight     Keichi Yamashita

 

 
Walther G. von Krenner   John Yumoto

 

 
Frederick C. Martin
Founding Member
Past President
  Zenon Ziolkowski  

Nanka To-Ken Kai Presidents

Jean Paul J. Peutet
Frederick C. Martin
Dean S. Hartley, Jr.
Robert Wainwright
John Grimmitt
Daniel Furuya
Jim Kurrasch
Richard Suran

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PATRONS

SAMUEL WM. YORTY

Mayor

LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL

L. E. Timberlake, President
Ernani Bernardi
James Harvey Brown
John S. Gibson, Jr.
John C. Holland
Billy G. Mills
James B. Potter, Jr.

Rosalind Wiener Wyman, Vice-President
Thomas Bradley
John P. Cassidy
Harold A. Henry
Gilbert W. Lindsay
Louis R. Nowell
Karl L. Rundberg

Thomas D. Sheppard

 

MUNICIPAL ART COMMISSION

Paul R. Williams, President
Eddy S. Feldman

Ward S. Keller, Vice-President
Milton B. Scott

Ludlow Flower, Jr.

 

MUNICIPAL ART DEPARTMENT

Kenneth Ross, General Manager

Curt Opliger, Art Coordinator

 

MUNICIPAL ART PATRONS

Mrs. Homer Toberman, President
Richard Livingston, Vice-President
Ralph J. Eubank, Secretary
Theodore Braun
Mrs. Thomas H. Crawford
Mrs. Joseph Harper
Edwin Janss, Jr.
Bernard Kotkin
John Mock
Walter Van de Camp

Joseph Lipman, Vice-President
Elwood J. Robinson, Vice-President
Kenneth Ross, Treasurer
Mrs. Edward F. Call
Mrs. Charles E. Ducommon
Mrs. Leland Atherton Irish
Ward B. Keller
Charles Lick
Mrs. Russell Smith
Mrs. Stuart E. Weaver, Jr.

Mrs. Samuel Wm. Yorty

 


Additional pictures from the exhibit.

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