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Early Muromachi period, ca. 1400. (Long)


A tachi-style, mokko shape tsuba for a tanto belonging to a high ranking Samurai. Dates to ca. 1400 or early Muromachi period. Copper center with Shakudo fukurin, both seppa's are shakudo with inlays of gold, silver, copper, and shakudo. (Haynes & Long)
"Extant Edo neri tsuba tend to date to the late Edo through Meiji periods, and in terms of production were often the domain of lacquerers who used them as an alternate medium to exhibit their skills. They tend to be detailed and show a great skill in execution. They are often crisp and retain most of the lacquer which is often in excellent condition and can exhibit a wide range of colors and techniques." (Haynes, Long, Markhasin)


"Write-up to follow" (Long)

"Attribution and write-up to follow." (Haynes)
(H 01973.0)
Provenance: Elliott Long
Write up to follow.

'Chrysanthemum Mei' 

"Write-up to follow" (Long)


"Write-up to follow" (Long)

HOSOKAWA Family   


"Write-up to follow" (Long)

A exceptional tsuba attributed to the First Master TADAMASA, H 09096.0. The quality of this work is, as Dr. Torigoye said, "a masterpiece."
The only illustration I can find is in the 'TOSO SORAN', 1978, by Dr. Torigoye, page 241, bottom illustration. At that time it belonged to Tetsu Kariya.
This tsuba should have never left Japan, as I cannot find a better example of the work of the First Tadamasa illustrated in any book." (Haynes)

"A rounded square shape with the motif of bamboo in the wind. The seppa-dai is pointed, there is linear tekkotsu in the rim, the metal is of very good quality, the surfaces appear polished, and the forms are thick and full-bodied. The guard has a look of antique elegance. It gives sufficient evidence of the style of the first master Tadamasa."(Long)

"Slight oval shape iron tsuba with sukashi of Musashino subject design of marsh plants, pampas grass with a dew drop, and alighting goose forming kozuka hitsu.
Dates from ca. 1650.
Though unsigned, appears to be the work of the 2nd Tadamasa (H 09097.0). The style of the 2nd Tadamasa resembles the later work of the 1st Tadamasa, however, the shape of the seppa dai is koban. The refined iron, and sophisticated design and finish define the skill and talent that is typical of the 2nd Akasaka Master Tadamasa." (Holbrook & Long)

7.15cm x 7.4cm x 0.4cm

"A plum tree forms an irregular shape of the whole, with branches within the rim. The base iron is well forged. A carefully finished appearance gives a calming and quiet visage. The attribution is by 'TOEN SHA', dated March 24, 1974. The named club is Murakami Tadasuke. The owner at this time was Kawatsuchi." (Long)


"Dates to ca. 1500 or earlier. Write-up to follow. " (Haynes)

7.32cm x 7.19cm x (face) 0.27cm.


"Dates to ca. 1400 or earlier. Write-up to follow. " (Haynes)

7.14cm x 7.04cm x (face) 0.33cm.


"Dates to ca. 1400. Write-up to follow. Attribution by NBTHK." (Haynes)

9.00cm x 9.60cm x (face) 0.20cm x (rim) 0.35cm.

A circular brass plate guard originally from South Asia, possibly Vietnam. The carving and engraving is far better than most Chinese kebori pieces. The rim is gold gilt over brass. The surface of both sides elegantely carved with two dragons chasing the flaming jewels and many auspicious symbols.
Upon arriving in Japan (Hirado, Kagoshima, Nagasaki), a tsubaco used an iron insert to accommodate the nakago of a katana sword. The hitsu-ana added at the time of the placement of the iron insert.
7.30cm x 0.40cm.

"A tapered mokko shape iron tsuba that represents the greatness of Nioh. At the bottom there is a pagoda or a pagoda-like shadow, which contrasts with the carving of the palm and arm. The fine carving of the honeycomb structure is a representation of the gate of Todaiji Temple.
Signed: 'YOSHIMICHI'. Refer to Haynes H 11831.0."

7.10cm (upper) / 8.00cm (lower) x 8.56cm x 0.40cm

"Design sukashi of a 'paper doll'." (Haynes)
7.07cm x 7.07cm x 0.45cm.

"Oval iron plate carved and inlaid with a Chinese sage under a pine tree with plants and rocks and the reverse with a waterfall. Inlaid with gold, silver copper, and shakudo.
The left side of the seppa-dai, on the face, is signed: 'Arikawa Sanemasa' and kao. See H 07976.0. The signature on this tsuba would seem to be that of the founder of the Arikawa family school. His work is very rare and there needs to be a great deal more study of the artists of this family school." (Haynes)
6.4cm x 6.8cm x 0.30cm

Umetada Gohei & Map of Japan


"Umetada school iron tsuba. Motif of a Shinto spiritual implement called a Gohei, used for ritual blessings on one side, and an old map of Japan on the other. The Gohei is inlaid in silver and gold. The map shows the old provinces of Kyushu, Shikoku and Honshu, each with their names inlaid in gold. Hokkaido was not yet part of Japan at that time. Finely inscribed waves surround the islands - a nice touch. The inlay on both sides is executed in nunome-zogan. The carving on both sides is done in sukidashibori, meaning that the plate has been carved down slightly from the mimi and seppadai to define the motifs, with finer carving tools used to add details and scribe lines for the inlay. The tsuba is in excellent condition, with almost no loss of inlay.
Measurements: 8.4cm x 7.8cm x 0.4cm.
Early Edo Period, 17th century." (Long)


7.0cm x 7.3cm x 0.42cm
"A very fine Hoan school tsuba of maru-gata shape with a hira dote mimi (flattened embankment rim). This tsuba is from the strong and powerful Owari Hoan school. This tsuba supports a wonderful rich dark patina as you can see by the images. This school is known for its strong designs. The smith has used the Tomoe-sukashi (comma cut outs). This would be a very typical tsuba used by the fighting class samurai of the period. Form and function and simplicity were the hallmarks of the warrior class samurai."(Long)
8.40cm x 8.40cm x 0.30cm (seppa)

"A well forged iron plate with a motif of the Taise Tsuho coin. The sukidashi-bori and very apparent yakite-kusarashi treatment points to excellent Hoan work.
Considering the NBTHK paper, the example in the KTK catalog and the Nakamura attribution, there seems to be a sort of consensus that these are Hoan tsuba." (Waszak & Long)
7.20cm x 7.20cm x 0.45cm
HOAN  ?Proto?  
"Well forged soft iron plate with sukashi design of four drawer handels. The kozuka hitsu is original. The plate shows many tekkotsu (iron bones) of various sizes and shapes.
Examination of the plate in good sunlight shows this work to date ca. 1450-1500. This is at least 100 years before the HOAN school was formed. Who might have made this tsuba is unclear." (Haynes)



PROVENANCE:    Robert E. Haynes
                                            Elliott D. Long
Collection Tsuba, Please Inquire
"A large round copper plate of katana size with the face showing Hotei riding on a horse, that looks much like a mule, or perhaps a Mongolian pony. His staff and fan are carved and inlaid on the reverse side. The plate surface is ishime of very fine grain. The horse, robe and staff are in pure shishiai style. The head, body and arm of Hotei are above surface inlay, as is the fan on the reverse side. The clouds are carved well below the plate surface and have gold inlay touches and a silver moon on the back side. The amount of detail carving is hard to see in some cases, as it is so fine. The quality of this tsuba is far superior to that of many others with this same subject, and shows the true ability of the work of Joi.
Read complete descriptive article by Robert Haynes titled 'The M. Arthur Kay Sugiura Joi Tsuba HERE.


One of the most noted pupils of Toshinaga I was Shozui or Masayuki (1695-1769), who founded the Hamano school, whose members created some of the finest objects of metal-work, primarily in fittings for the sword. Like those of his master, most of Masayuki's designs are taken from the history and folk-lore of the country, although he and his followers show great originality, as well in the portrayal of nature subjects.

PROVENANCE:    Robert E. Haynes
                                            Elliott D. Long
                                            Lawrence Neirmeyer

See complete write-up and images HERE
"Oval shakudo plate with a deep blue hue. The face with the legend of Choryo and Koseki, at the time Choryo was retrieving the shoe of Koseki from the river inhabited by a dragon. Koseki is on horseback, top left and Choryo is bottom right, with a gold shoe in hand, beside the dragon (read the legend HERE). The inlay is of copper, gold, and silver. The carving style and the subject remind one of the work of the Hamano school at this same time. The reverse of the plate has a water fall, clouds, rocks and plants in the river very boldly carved and inlaid in gold and silver.
The face is signed on the right side of the seppa-dai: 'Yurakusai Sekibun', H 08118.0.
This is the rather early work by the first Sekibun, born in 1790, and died in 1872. In 1790 he was adopted by the Hamano family of artists and was a student of that school until he went to Shonai in 1824. So it would seem that this tsuba was made by him before 1824, when he was still working with the Hamano family school. This just might be his earliest work so far recorded.
There were three generations of the name Sekibun and the last two worked in Shonai. This example of the very early work of the first Sekibun is very rare and shows his great ability at a very early age." (Haynes)


Shodai Bizen Suruga Master
Early Edo period.
Round iron plate with characters 'Haku-Raku-Ten' pattern in positive and negative sukashi.
Sup: Hakkyoi, a great Chinese poet, lived in Middle T'ang from 8th to 9th century. He is known under the pen name 'Hakurakuten.'

Early Edo period.
Round iron plate with ten sword beans in positive sukashi.
Kaku mimi ko niku.
Thickness: 2.79mm.
Sup: Notice Kuchi-beni.

In the style of first Suruga (ca. 1625).
Note copper plugs at top and bottom of central opening, typical of this school.
Thickness at center, 3.25mm; at edge, 4.0mm.
Robert E. Haynes owned this tsuba in 1963.

From TSUBA KANSHOKI, 1965. pg. 27
(seal belongs to Robert E. Haynes)
"Round iron plate with kaku mimi ko niku, ji sukashi of two rings, and lead-filled hitsu-ana.
Signatures both sides are being studied (very faint) to confirm evidence of being made by TAKATSUGU (in early life called Haruta Chuzaemon)."(Haynes)
Accompanied with N.T.H.K. Kanteisho Certificate No. 6053 dated 2017.

Nidai Bizen Suruga Master
"Round iron plate with sukashi design of five boat paddles. This is the work, though unsigned, of the 2nd Bizen Suruga Master. He is Haruta, later Suruga, IETSUGU (H 01834.0). He worked in the Momoyama to early Edo period at Okayama city in Bizen Province for the Ikeda Daimyo, as did a number of the later generations of this family school. Besides the style and subject matter we can see the hand of this master in the copper plugs that he insert at the top and bottom of the nakago-ana, which his father had used before him, as did several of the later generations. The bottom copper plug has been removed in this example. This master often used the designs of his father, such as we see in this example, but in later life he created many designs of his own. A very fine classic example of the early work of this artist." (Long)

Sandai Bizen Suruga Master
"Round iron sukashi tsuba with design of a rudder. Symbolic meaning of steering a boat and guiding a samurai. An excellent example of the work of the 3rd Suruga Master. The surfaces have no flaws or any signs of rust or corrosion and appear as if polished (meigaku-ji). There are few iron bones (tekkotsu) present in the rim. The sekigane is in classic Suruga style and in tack. This style of sekigane is called kuchi-beni - "open mouth red lips".

The signature (mei) reads 'INSHU JU SURUGA SAKU'. He is the 3rd Bizen Suruga Master, H 09041.0. This family name was used by the later members of the original Haruta family school, after they moved to Suruga Province. The third generation signed Inshu Suruga or Inshu Suruga Saku." (Long)

"Iron plate shape of the Uzume mask (Otafuku), and with a bold carved rope rim. The hitsu-ana in the shape of the half Matsukawabishi mon. The ishime ground of the plate still retains some of the original black lacquer surface, mostly on the face. The original copper plugs at the top and bottom of the nakago-ana have added copper when this tsuba was remounted at a later date.

The face is signed: 'INSHU JU SURUGA SAKU'. Muneie was the third generation of the Bizen Suruga family school. He was born at Okayama in Bizen Province in 1625 as the son of the second Bizen Suruga master, Ietsugu (H 01834.0). He went, it is said on June 4, 1632 to Totori in Inaba Province, with Lord Ikeda when he was posted to Inaba, and thus he was to sign, as this tsuba, Inshu (Inaba) Suruga saku." (Long)

From 'TSUBA, An Aesthetic Study' by Kazutaro Torigore & Robert E. Haynes.

In its early stages the Suruga school was a branch of the Haruta school living in Suruga Province. In the past it had been thought that the first Haruta did not make any tsuba. Now there is good evidence to show that the first Haruta did make tsuba, but probably not before moving to Bizen. His work is exceedingly rare and no known signed pieces.
The genealogy of this family is certain. The first, Takatsugu lived at Fuchu (now Shizuoka) in Suruga Province about the Tensho era (1575-1592). He was a samurai in the service of Lord Ikeda, and from Suruga followed his master to Yoshida in Sanshu (Mikawa Province). In Keicho 5 (1600) he again followed his master to Himeji when Lord Ikeda became master of Himeji Castle. In the first year of Genna (1615) he came to Okayama Castle when Lord Ikeda was made governor of Bizen Province. The second master of this family was Iyetsugu (Haruta Chuzaemon). In the first year of Genna (1615) he came to Okayama with his father. His signature is Suruga or Bizen Suruga, with or without "saku". The third artist of the family was Muneiye (Haruta Chuzaemon). In Kanei 9 (1632) he went with Lord Ikeda to Tottori in Inaba Province.

As stated previously, Takatsugu did not sign his work. The reason for this may be found in his origin as a katchushi style artist. The second generation signed Bizen Suruga saku, Bizen Koku (no) ju Suruga, as well as Bizen Suruga. The third generation signed Inshu Suruga, or Inshu Suruga saku. The fourth, fifth and sixth generations signed Inshu Suruga. After the seventh generation it is common to find the personal name of the artist inscribed following the province and surname. The style of the school changed during the sixth generation. Takuiye introduced the style of the Ito school of Edo into his work. By the eigth generation the production of the school was almost wholly in Ito style.

A distinguishing characteristic of the tsuba of the Suruga school is the use of kuchi-beni. The Suruga kuchi-beni are semicircles of copper inlaid at the top and bottom of the nakago-ana flush with the surface of the plate. They were inlaid by the artist who made the tsuba and are not later additions, although their shape may have been altered later in mounting. Occasionally they have been removed entirely. The Suruga were not the only school to use this style of kuchi-beni. Some of the artists of the Akasaka, Hoan, and the kinko used a very similar style of inlay. Though the Suruga tsuba always have kuchi-beni their presence does not assure a piece being the work of this school.

by Iida Kazuo, Tokyo, 1981.


H 07066.0
"Momoyama/Early Edo Period. Mokko form with high raised mimi (the rim of this tsuba shows great cleverness and ability in its foundation, displaying every kind of tekkotsu), engraved with an overall design of scrolling foliage, probably Hagi plant, in kebori above two udenuki-ana. The ryohitsu plugged with thick gilt metal." (Long)


H 07061.0
"A well forged iron plate in almost square configuration. Four inome appear at the corners and there is a twisted rope design for the rim. Both hitsu-ana are the same, one has been filled with shakudo. The carving is simple yet robust which makes the entire piece very appealing.

The mei is original and points this to the Owari 'NOBUIYE'. Dates to the late Muromachi period." (Long)


PROVENANCE:    Elliott Long  
A large shakudo plate in slight mokko shape, the four indentations almost unnoticable. The surface finish appears polished, much like the surface treatment created by Rakuju. Dr. Torigoye refers to this surface as 'crepe - silk' surface texture.

Read the legend of AMA-TERASU & SUSA-NO-O HERE.

8.40cm x 9.00cm x 0.25cm

"A perfect example and very rare tsuba by the Shodai 'YAMAKICHIBEI'. With the Tachi sukashi and the magnificent surface, this is a very important example.

Accompanied with a Shibata Mitsuo origami." (Haynes)

"Write-up to follow. The seppa-dai and both original hitsu-ana are marked by the thin inlaid brass wire. The designs are different on each side consisting of animals, plants and mon's.
This piece is both prolific and extravagant, yet is very pleasing to the eye. The majority of the designs used in its decoration are but an infinite variation of a similar theme." (Haynes & Long)

Brass Inlay Tsuba   
"A very rare and highly important brass inlay tsuba. Of almost round shape and to be mounted on a very large tanto, sometimes seen in the Muromachi period. The design is of branches of kiku with five on each side, large open blooms and three large buds, also on each side. This brass inlay is pre-cast, with flange edges and then inlaid in precut areas of the plate and the flanges then covered with plate metal to secure them in place. This style of work is most notably seen in the work of the Higo Jingo school, but almost two hundred years later. None of the inlay has fallen out and the color is original." (Haynes & Long)
6.50cm x 6.50cm x 0.35cm


"Write-up to follow." (Haynes & Long)


"Write-up to follow." (Haynes)

7.70cm x 7.36cm x (face) 0.24cm.

"Write up soon." (Haynes & Long)


"Write-up to follow." (Long)


"Write-up to follow. NBTHK Hozon Attribution." (Haynes, Long)

OWARI  School. 

"Iron sukashi tsuba with symetrical design. The N.B.T.H.K. Green Paper says OWARI. A very rare design for this school. Those who like such things will see a cross at the top center. But if you extend the cross-bar it matches the design on each side." (Haynes)


"Iron tsuba that is well hammered and formed in a deep cup shape, the repousse from inside to get higher relief design of a dragon in waves. The high relief dragon is carved from the plate and is not iron on iron inlay. Only one hitsu-ana of kogai shape.
See Haynes H 02830.0." (Haynes & Long)
8.10cm x 8.00cm x 0.7 cm deep.


"A classic work teeming with elegance of the 1st generation Hikozo. The hammered finish executed on the yamagane plate is illustrious with carved design of "old man's beard" often used by Hikozo. This design with the color tone of the piece, creates a perfected atmosphere. A sukashi of a single Tomoe shape and a carved area of unknown figure on each side add to the ambiance. The hitsu-ana is also a venerable shape of Hikoso. Adorned with solid gold rim cover and very rare solid gold sekigane in top and bottom of nakago-ana creates a contrast that is truly sensational.
Overall, the rustic simplicity and finish of this masterpiece splendidly establishes the charm of Hikozo's characteristic works.
The hakogaki by Dr. Kazutaro Torigoye is dated 1950. Box cover says: HIRATA HIKOZO." (Haynes)


"Write-up to follow. Attribution by NBTHK." (Haynes)


"Write-up coming soon. NBTHK Hozon origami." (Long)


"The mei reads: GOTO RINJO with Kao. (H 07553.0) This is the only known and rare example of his signature. He is considered the founder of the Goto Hanzaemon family line and the third son of Goto Kyujo (H 03741.0)." (Long)



"Write-up to follow." (Haynes)


"Gold Inlaid Sakurahana Navagraha Crest Tsuba.
Twenty arabesque cherry blossoms and Navagraha crest are drawn with glossycloth inlay." (Haynes)

8.10cm x 8.15cm x 0.40cm to 0.30cm thickness.


"Elegant iron Higo tsuba of a stylized single bar design. The bar motif is central, and defined by two crescent sukashi elements, which have been filled with large shakudo inserts. The plate is treated with tsuchime hammering pattern, which has created a gentle uneven surface, and accentuated the rim edge in places. The area around the seppadai has some kebori carving, but due to the addition of the two large matching hitsuana, the design motif has been cut-out and it is unclear. This tsuba has been remounted several times in its life, as evidenced by not only the hitsuana additions, but also a subtle iron insert offsetting the nakago-ana. Due to the relative thinness of the iron plate, an iron insert was deemed most structurally / aesthetically suitable, rather than extensive hammering around the nakago-ana. The work was early, as the patina is completely even witht he rest of the plate." (Haynes)

8.20cm x 7.90cm x 0.30cm


"Write-up coming soon.
Accompanied with NBTHK Hozon." (Long)

7.10cm x 7.70cm x 0.40cm(seppa)


"Write-up to follow." (Haynes)


"Write-up to follow." (Haynes)


"Write-up to follow." (Haynes)

7.34cm x 7.16cm x (face) 0.36cm.


"Write-up to follow." (Haynes)

6.94cm x 6.51cm x (face) 0.40cm.


"Write-up coming soon" (Long)


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