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Provenance:    James McElhinney
                             Elliott Long
"Large rectangular sword guard. Iron with gold wire inlay. The manner of execution represents a high degree of artistic hybridity, suggesting that this piece was made along maritime trade-routes, where artisans had access to decorative arts from around the globe. The indented corners, pointed Shitogi-gata seppa-dai, smooth- skinned dragons and almost caricature drawing- style points to Indochina, perhaps Tonkin. In his book Nanban Tsuba, Yoshimura Shigeta illustrates a similar piece on page 10. The caption reads, “Nagasaki-he gairai-shita Chukokujin no saku…” (Made by a Chinese person who came into Nagasaki)." (J. McElhinney)

8.15cm x 7.50cm x 0.40cm
"Cultural exchanges between China and Nagasaki became quite frequent after the Kangxi emperor reopened Qing seaports to foreign trade in 1684, and issued trading licenses to private concerns. In the 1640s a number of refugees from the collapse of the Ming Dynasty in 1644 emigrated to Nagasaki. One of them—Shoyu Itsunen became the abbot of Kofukuji temple in Nagasaki. Itsunen is also known to have taught painting to Kawamura Fukuyoshi, a samurai and customs official who is better known as Jakushi I. Another Chinese priest, Yinyuan Lonqi, was the abbot of Wanfu temple on Mount Huangbo in Fujian. He came to Nagasaki at the invitation of Itsunen. Lonqi, known in Japan as Ingen Ryuki, became the founder of Obaku Zen Buddhism. The Nagasaki school of painting was deeply influenced by the Chinese painter Shen Nanpin, who lived and taught painting in Nagasaki for several years. Nanpin’s work was heavily influenced by European scientific and botanical painting, which resonated with the intellectual community at Nagasaki, which in Japan was the center of Chinese medical studies, and Rangaku (the study of European science)." (J. McElhinney)

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