Item Name: Kōdai Shimizu Jingo Tsuba (後代志水甚吾鐔)
Japanese Title: 芭蕉図鐔 (bashō no zu tsuba)
Material: Iron (tetsu 鉄)
Age: Late Edo Period (江戸時代後期)
Size: 7.8 X 8.5 cm, 4.6 mm at rim, 5.0 mm at seppa-dai
Signature: mumei (無銘)
Shape: Aori-gata (障泥形)
Surface Finish: Tsuchime Ji (槌目地)
Attachment: None

The large brass inlays (shinchū suemon-zogan 真鍮据紋象嵌) on this tsuba are leaves of the banana palm (bashō 芭蕉). The banana palm can only grow on (Kyūshū 九州) the southern island of Japan. The damage from folding and the natural wear of the leaves along the edges display nicely the artist’s attention to detail and the Japanese aesthetic of (wabi-sabi 侘寂). The quality of the iron and the nice surface texture of the plate also display the skill of the tsuba maker. This tsuba was likely made after the 5th generation Shimizu (志水) Shigenaga (茂永) who died in 1854 by one of his many skilled students. This influence of the 5th generation master is reflected in the design subject, forge of the iron, and how the nakago-ana is finished. The Shimizu (志水) family of the Jingo (甚吾) school was by the time of the 5th master located near the castle complex (Kumamoto-jo 熊本城) the capital of Higo Province (肥後國) in central Kyūshū. The school began as silversmiths also making sword fittings for the ruling lord of Higo Province. They were well known for their elaborate brass and silver inlays on very well forged iron plate. The tsuba has a accessory opening for a kozuka (kozuka hitsu-ana 小柄櫃孔穴). The opening for the blade (nakago hitsu-ana 中心櫃孔穴) is fitted with lacquered copper spacers (sekigane 責金).

Provenance:
Fred Geyer Collection

Price: $725 (plus shipping and PayPal)

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