7 comments on “Kanayama Sukashi tsuba 金山透鍔

  1. Beautiful piece, the height of simplicity and elegance. I wonder of there is some play on words in the design – my immediate thought was that it is a Kama (Sickle) – interesting that they see it as the character の – makes me think there is some wordplay there that may now be lost to us.
    Regardless this is the shizitt, very pleased to have seen this.

    • Hi Tom, yes I see where you are going with this. I also saw it immediately as a Kama and questioned the attribution (actually made by both the previous owner and one of my Japanese mentors, no kanteisho as yet) but upon further study I like the concept of No “の” better though. It fits with that odd aesthetic that the Kanayama tsuba always have, at least where the designs of the nice ones just do not make that much sense or are very artistic expressions of a theme more common.

      The word play being between No and the Kari ? yes perhaps, but of course the Owari artists put geese in nearly everything. Perhaps the original owner was a satirist of sorts ? or the craftsman wanted to keep people guessing ?
      In any case, I guess the bottom line is, no matter what we think it portrays, it is indeed a lovely tsuba.

  2. Hi Rich,

    A beautiful, classic Kanayama tsuba here. The work on the kari is exceptional. I can’t see this guard being any later than late-Muromachi (or VERY early-Momoyama), given the power of the design. Excellent piece. Thank you for presenting it… ;o)



    • Hi Steve, thanks. Yes it is a lovely item and I agree about the age. The iron is very nice and I am always finding something new with it. I need to get a better photo of the tekkotsu though.


  3. Hi Rich and Tom,

    Actually, this is the second or third Kanayama guard I’ve seen which employs the “no” kana. This is the most powerful example I’ve seen, however. There are some scholars out there who believe that the “Kanayama School” boiled down to a very small handful of individuals who produced all of the very fine Kanayama pieces (such as Rich’s here). There are, in fact, some subtle details in the structure, tagane marks, etc. which do seem to point to individual artists, and not many of them at that. As concerns the “no” kana design, it would not surprise me if the same artist created all of those I’ve seen, though of course I’d have to look carefully at each to have a better idea.

    Really like this tsuba a lot, Rich. Congratulations, mate… ;o)



  4. That’s very interesting Steve. I wonder, did you see these in books or in the flesh ? I have never seen this them before but I should have a good look through my library and see if there is anything similar.


  5. Hi Rich,

    I’ve seen one in the flesh, and one other that a collector friend sent me an image of some years ago (sorry, I don’t have that image any longer). As I say, though, yours is the best of the three, mate. A real beauty… ;o)



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