Tsuba in the shape of a bird and with karahana, or Chinese flowers


  • Catalogue text

    Thick; of conventional bird outline; rough surface, encrusted in silver and gold with 10 karahana badges and light scrolls.

    Signed: Ki no Munemasa [Japanese text] and inscribed Hachimantarō no Hatomaru on-tachi no tsuba wo utsusu ("copying the guard of the Hatomaru or Dove sword of Hachimantarō.").

    This may be by Myōchin Munemasa II, XXVIth Master of the school, first half of the 18th century. The decoration is perhaps a later addition and in any case cannot have formed part of the ancient guard referred to, concerning which very little is known. Hachimantarō is the famous warrior Minamoto no Yoshiiye, late 12th century. Other copies of this guard are known (three in the Victoria and Albert Museum), plain or variously decorated, and bearing various signatures (not always genuine!) and often the same inscription as given above.

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