The dimensions are Height 77mm x Width 75mm – Center 4mm – Mimi 5mm.
The theme is that of Yatsuhashi (八橋・やつはし) which literally means “8 bridges”. Yatsuhashi are wooden bridges that are staggered or set at angles, often seen in Japanese gardens and it is a motif found in many Japanese art forms. With regards to this tsuba’s design the bridge rests over a pond displayed gracefully by the curved lines of waves, Surrounding the bridge are 8 Kasa or geese. At the very bottom, the new shoot of an Iris starts to grow. The bringing together of these elements depict a winter theme in Japan.
On either side of the seppa dai are two small circular shapes. These I think may be a gourd that has been split in two to accommodate the design. The gourd is a common element used to bridge small spaces in early sukashi works.
The term Yatsuhashi also references a specific bridge where the poet Ariwara Narihira stopped in his travels to compose a poem about his wife. The poem alludes to the irises growing at the side of the bridge and uses the character for iris at the beginning of every line. This is the poem:
殻衣きつつなれにしつましあればはるばるきぬるたぼをしぞ思ふ。 Karakoromo kitsutsu narenishitsumashi arebaharubaru kinurutabi oshizo omofu. A Chinese robe I have worn so often, I know it as I do my wife. Having come so far, this journey rests heavy on my thoughts.
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