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Thread: Identifying Echizen Kinai Tsuba

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Identifying Echizen Kinai Tsuba

    I recently purchased this tsuba in an Antique store. I have traced part of the mei to what I think is the Echizen Kinai school but im having trouble dating, identifying what the other kanji means and just generally finding out more about this piece. I sincerely appreciate any information anyone can provide,

    Thank you for you time.

    Alana B
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Hello Alana and welcome to SFI.

    Unfortunately the nihontō discussion here has pretty much died out over the past decade. I hate to undermine the efforts of any remaining membership, but really my best recommendation would be for you to post this tsuba to the Tosogu (fittings) subforum of the Nihonto Message Board.

    Echizen Kinai school worked from 1600s to 1800s, favored themes of aoi leaves etc. Floral subjects are more likely to date later rather than earlier. The subject of this tsuba appears to be paulownia, but I am not 100% on that. I am more knowledgeable of blades than fittings, so I do not have much to add. Basic googling results in some good pages, e.g. this one and this one.

    Is the tsuba really that bright steel color? Normal tsuba of this type would be dark patinated iron. If this luster/color is accurate and not merely the result of over-exposed flash photography, then I have to posit that it is either cast (and therefore without value) or has been very improperly "polished" (and severely reduced in value). Also the workmanship looks rough at best, not as clean as would be expected from this school. I hope this is not the case; if the real color is a dark iron or other patina, I highly recommend that you photograph it in natural light (no on-camera white flash) to capture the accurate surface appearance.

    The mei is as follows:

    Omote (front):
    R: 越前住 Echizen (no) jū (Echizen resident)
    L: 記内作 Kinai saku (Kinai made [this])

    Ura (rear):
    R: 宗 Mune
    L: 久 Hisa

    Of course you knew the omote already (well done!), and I am sorry to say that the significance of the ura mei (Mune & Hisa) escapes me and seems a bit odd. I hope the NMB can help you more with this tsuba.

    EDIT: I think it is notable that this tsuba is signed on the omote (front), and from the second website link above you can find this quote: "The Takahashi Kinai family all use ura mei, except the rokudai [sixth gen.] period. The use of omote mei here seems to be for the mass produced Decchi Kinai works, but special works by the rokudai may be ura mei."
    Last edited by Gabriel L; 01-21-2014 at 01:36 PM.

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