Interesting inlay

Another tsuba from the Chicago show is one that I’ve admired from my earliest collecting days. It appears in the second Haynes auction catalog from 1982 (about ten years before my time, with tsuba anyway).

8.42 cm H x 0.38 cm T Botan motif, shinchu suemon zogan

Lot 2, from the catalog: “Very rare and important Onin example”

“Iron rounded aori shape with raised carved rim, to resemble a rim cover, with good iron bones in the edge. The plate is inlaid on both sides with four peony branches of cast and carved brass, the edges secured by working the iron plate over the cast flange. The brass is the classical very rich color of the Onin period, circa 1450. The inlay is intact on both sides, but some of the flanges have pulled away from the plate. Ht. 8.4 cm., Th. 3 mm. (Note: it is rare and fortunate that riohitsu were never added at a later date.) (Est. price 500-750)

Ex. Jack Paras sale, lot 2, May 26, 1981″

Here’s a closer look at the inlay. The exposed flanges are particularly visible on the far right leaf and the bottom middle one.

I’ll have to make a closer inspection of other Onin guards to see if that is present but just not as obvious. There are some other places where the inlay is slightly lifted as Bob mentions, but here it appears tight to the plate and was probably never covered. The rest of the surrounding iron does show signs of being moved over the brass. Obviously enough was done to hold the inlay in place.

There are similar guards published, but not with enough detail visible to say for sure, but I don’t see that here.

Shishi Botan from Hyaku Tan
Shishi Botan on copper alloy ground. Source unrecorded

Many thanks to S for sending it my way after keeping it carefully for all these years.

2 thoughts on “Interesting inlay”

  1. Hi Jim…

    Gosh it all looks so wonderful….. I wonder if….. S….. stands for Superman or for Stuart?

    All three are outstanding comparative examples…. I have asked my good friend Sean .. as he is deeply interested.. that he would perhaps like to sign up for postings… he loves tsuba and knows much… far more than I… but then again so does everybody…

    The sun came out this afternoon and as it hits the floral arrangement on our newest tsuba it just explodes with warmth and fragrance…

    I just have not had enough time with it.. but I always wonder if the hitsu is orgianal.. I can see that if they were not that mounted the washer of the seppa would cover etc.. Skip says without question they were original… .. I just do not know…

    Be good, and thank you! Stuart

    Stuart E Broms



  2. PS… flattered that this has been in your eye for all these decades and now part of your lustrous collection… IF you find to do without.. please let me buy it back!

    Stuart E Broms



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