|Colloquies Concerning KANEIE of Fushimi |
by Robert E. Haynes
It was not my intention to embark on this dialogue straight way. Three recent events have impelled me to initiate this colloquy with what research I have acquired during my many years of inquiry into the vast mystery surrounding the name Kaneie. I shall begin with the latest incident of the three. It is a current exhibit of eight Kaneie tsuba in Tokyo at the Japanese Sword Fitting Museum (Nihon To Sogu Bijutsukan) which contains the Miyake, Sasano, and other collections of sword fittings. This latest exhibit is titled KANEIE NOBUIE TEN (Two Artist Exhibit). There are thirteen examples of the work of Nobuie, in addition to the eight Kaneie tsuba. The catalog is a loose leaf, single sheet photograph of each tsuba, front and back, in excellent color. They are reproduced 1 1/2 times actual size, which gives very clear detail. A few of the examples have not been published before, such as the Dokuzuri example from the Sasano collection, and one from the Miyake collection. The remainder are shown in far better photographs than we have in any other books where they are illustrated.
The other two incidents involve our intrepid translator, Harry Afu Watson. In the Watson translation of the Nihon To Koza, the now finished volume VI, Kodogu part I, you will find the section concerning Kaneie on pages 22 to 27. Watson has also just translated an article which appears in the Afu Quarterly (issue one), January 25, 1995. It is taken from the Token Bijutsu, and was first printed in July 1975. It is titled, "One Way of Looking at Kaneie", by Takeuchi Fumio. Part one, pages 34 to 46, part two pages 47 to 49. This student of Kaneie outlines his ideas of how to identify the "first" and "second" generations of Kaneie. We shall return to these ideas later. The culmination of these three events has propelled this preparturient paper well before securing answers to the host of unanswered questions concerning Kaneie that I have grappled with for these last forty years.
As Mr. Takeuchi states in his article, "However, there is almost nothing that becomes data in regard to such a great man as Kaneie • • •". To put it more lucidly, we have almost no concrete information concerning Kaneie, even though he is considered to be the pre-eminent tsuba maker of all time. Notwithstanding the fame of the name Kaneie today, he was not famous until the period from Meiwa (1764-71) to Tenmei (1781-88). In fact we find no mention of his name, as far as is known, before it was published in the Soken Kisho, volume 4, page 16b, written by Inaba Tsuryo in 1781, (published by Naniwa). See reproduction of this page above. A partial translation of this page is as follows. "Kaneie, not familiar with the surname of this artist, Fushimi ju. This school used designs of mountains, water (sansui), plants, or long grass and small birds in scenic designs. It is his unusual subjects such as a Shuzai (sozai, or shusai) Buddhist priest and the Miidera" (temple) (or Onjo-ji, a temple north west of Otsu (Omi) seat of the Jimon branch of the Tendai sect. Built in 858, it was burned 5 or 6 times. The present edifice dates from 1690.) "where his detailed designs appear." The other lines say "he was a superior artist who made refined and elegant tsuba as a master craftsman." From this at least we have found the source of the theory that Kaneie was a priest. I wonder if anyone has gone to this temple to see if any record of any Kaneie, or other tsuba maker can be found? Also you will notice that the first two kanji of the "style" of work is sansui. The term more properly is sansuiga. A style of painting that first flourished in the Muromachi period (1336-1568), influenced in terms of technique and scheme by Chinese artists of the Sung (Song) dynasty (960-1279). The two most distinguished sansuiga painters were Shubun (?-1450) and Sesshu (1420-1506), the former largely influenced by the Chinese style and the latter cultivating a uniquely Japanese style. There will be more to say about Sesshu later in this paper. It would seem that Inaba was referring to the "landscape design" Kaneie tsuba since no mention is made of the figural, religious, historical or mythical subjects. Did Inaba actually "see" any Kaneie tsuba ?
The next source of information we shall pursue is the writings of Akiyama Kyusaku (born Nov. 28, 1844 died Jan. 21, 1936). He wrote various sections of his articles published in the Token Kai-shi, the journal of the Chuo Token Kai, pertaining to Kaneie. The first excerpt presented in the Joly translation manuscript copy appears on page 85 and comes from the issue of Sept. 1907. "ABOUT THE NUMBER OF KANEIE GENERATIONS..." "There was a man who asked me once how many generations there were of Kaneie etc. I said: Kinko Tanki, Toban Zufu, Kokon Kinko Benran (1847) say that Kaneie of (Fushimi) Yamashiro or of Fushimi Joshu, Kaneie II, Tetsunin etc. may have been about Tensho period (1573- 91) 4-500 years ago, they look old Tensho to Tempo (1573 to 1843) is not quite 300 years. I think the meaning of the books is that the maker lived in Tensho and his work looks 4 or 500 years old. As I have seen genuine Kaneie signed Tetsunin, its age seems about Oda-Toyotomi period (Momoyama) to Tokugawa. The work of Kaneie with Hizen signature were made in Tokugawa period. In Kyoto and Osaka they say there were 2 Kaneie, in Edo putting Oshodai (Daishodai) first makes 3. After careful study they are both wrong because there are big queries on the period. For a while let us take the Tokyo opinion, there is a query as to the pieces with small perforations on very dark iron signed in three characters, Kaneie saku, who made those? Sometime ago in the T.K.K. (not sure of name of this book) writing about the maker of these pieces the conclusion was that he was next to Shodai, and better than Nidai so that there came to be 4 Kaneie, but as I had this new query I will explain my own opinion now: of course my experience is not sufficient but readers will allow me to explain as it is midsummer they will not be annoyed if it makes them slow or dream. The makers of Kaneie tsuba lived since the VI or VII Ashikaga ( the 6th Ashikaga was Yoshinori (1394-1441), the 7th was Yoshikatsu (1433- 1443) succeeded his father when 8 years old and died two years later by falling from a horse. The 8th was Yoshimasa (1435-90).) until later during 150-60 years (1600). The Daruma tsuba of Mr. X (He means the Joshu Kaneie tsuba belonging to the Furukawa collection to this day) and the Kasuga of Mr. Y (this is the Joshu Kaneie belonging to the Hosokawa family) both have good patina (since I saw this tsuba first in 1960 it has been "cleaned" or what ever, and now it does NOT have the great patina it once possessed, in fact in my estimation it has been ruined!) looking more than 400 years old (1450-1500), they are something like the Heianjo mono and Onin tsuba inlaid with brass. According to tradition they are attributed to Oshodai (Daishodai) Kaneie after designs by Sesshu (Sesshu Toyo, 1420-1506). After a careful examination this seems a right tradition, this is the Oshodai (Daishodai) of Edo. Meijin Shodai's will probably be like those dead tree and Daruma of Mr. X (Furukawa collection) and Kumagai Atsumori of Mr. X. (I do not believe that this tsuba belongs to the Furukawa family.) (It is illustrated in the Token Kinko Meisaku-shu by Ogura, and several others, 1936-38. See volume on Kaneie and Choshu kinko, page 30. I have never seen this tsuba published any where else, and am not sure if it survived the war.) "it is hardly possible to decide whether it is 400 years old." (The inlay of this tsuba looks more like Ko-Nara work than Kaneie.)
The work of the so called Nidai is different, in tsuchime (the hammer marks on the plate surface.) and thin iron (tsukurikomi usu de)(this is a blade form term, but in this case it must mean the dense-thin iron.) and it is very artificial in appearance. The form are neither round nor square with turned up edge. The color is azuki iro (red bean) with little whiter (paler) patches, the age maybe 300 years (ca. 1600) if we
calculate the generations of the three as father and son, period of a generation must be extraordinarily long. So we can't think they were in direct succession. About the queries with the following tsuba: (of various persons) Broken gourd and lantern (design) (this may be the tsuba illustrated on
35 of the Token Kinko Meisaku-shu from the Furukawa collection) Dead tree and monkey (there are several of this design, see 5, 6, & 8 in T.K.M.) Dragon headed boat (I can find no reference to this tsuba, does anyone know of an illustration of this design?), landscape with fisherman (there are several with this design), Bishamonten (there is the Hosokawa example, and the "Shibata" example, see T.K.M. page 4 and Tsuba Kanshoki by Dr. Kazutaro Torigoye, Tokyo 1975, page 78). Experts will vary as to whether they are by Oshodai (Daishodai) or Meijin Shodai. They are not all doubtful however - they are all genuine.
If those tsuba in many collections were made by 3 Kaneie, the Oshodai (Daishodai) works are comparatively more numerous, Meijin is very rare and nidai rarer than Oshodai (Daishodai), why? I don't know. (All of this is very difficult to follow as he does not give the illustrated examples for each of these generations so that we are sure WHICH tsuba he ascribes to which master or period.) (He continues.)
I have seen 5 different kinds of Kaneie:
It is needless to say that the workers must have been very good hands to become famous (four hundred years AFTER they lived!), but on the other hand, the selection of designs is quite important, e.g. if Kaneie stuck to his early design of brass inlay (has any one seen such an example?) he might have not become so famous, as he used Sesshu's designs, he became famous. The special tsuba maker came into being at a much later period and the fashion to sign tsuba began with Kaneie of Fushimi and Nobuie of Koshu (Eisho to Tembun period 1504-1532) (Note: If this is so how do you account for the tsuba signed by Heianjo Nagayoshi and dated the second year of Bummei, 1470. See the Bulletin de la Societe Franco-Japonaise de Paris, 1914, vol. XXXIII, Nouvelles Contributions a L'Etude de L'Histoire de la garde de sabre japonaise, par M. le Marquis DE TRESSAN, page 46, footnote 3. The information concerning this tsuba came from Akiyama Kyusaku to de Tressan ca. 1912. Unfortunately this tsuba does not seem to exist today. Does anyone know of its existence?) Another Heianjo Nagayoshi tsuba further complicates this dating problem. In issue number 361, Feb. 10, 1987 (Showa 62) of The Journal of Swords, of the N.B.T.H.K. is illustrated, in color, a tsuba signed by Heianjo Nagayoshi. The design is a classic sansui landscape, with inlay of brass and silver. If the dated Nagayoshi tsuba (1470) is correct, then Kaneie was not the only tsuba maker of his time who was doing this style of sansui landscape "from paintings by Sesshu". He did not "invent" either the pictorial style or the various inlays that were used on them. As usual we will have to rethink this whole idea.(Akiyama continues) of course even then there were few tsuba of Heianjo made with signatures. (Does he refer to the above mentioned tsuba with this remark?) (To try and separate these various generations, the following section from page 71 of the manuscript will be added.)
KANEIE: According to tradition there are, Oshodai (Daishodai), Meijin Shodai, and Nidai, but I think there must be four, most of the work by Oshodai (Daishodai) are elongated circles, specially made by him (specialty) all of them are thin, The ground show the hammer marks. The edge is kaku niku (does he mean kakumimi koniku ?) (slightly rounded square rim) some have hitsu, others not. The decoration is very simple. The elongated shape is very difficult to imitate. To judge genuine ones from forgeries in the 3 Kaneie one must take into account the tsuchime, shape, edge, decoration, holes and signature. If one has seen 2 or 3 genuine pieces it is simple enough. The work of the Meijin Shodai is similar to Oshodai (Daishodai) but a little thicker and the design more intricate (elaborate) and does not look so old. Some of his works are with round edge. The so called nidai differs little, but the relief is higher and the cutting looks somewhat strange and the hammer marks unnatural, the color of the iron is redder, the edge is turned up (uchikaeshi mimi); besides those three there is one who signed in three characters Kaneie saku. His work resembles the three previous ones but most are pierced work instead of relief, the signature in the IE have a somewhat straight down (center) stroke . There are many pieces signed Kaneie, but those made by other people than the 4, look much younger and they are very thick, with the hammer marks purposely left on, the relief of mountains etc. very low, the character IE is quite different. (I shall add here the comments of Akiyama of Tetsunin, even though we will have a full discussion of this artist later.) "Tetsunin Kaneie and Hizen Hasuike" (a town in Hizen which from 1635-1868, was the residence of a branch of the Nabeshima family (52,000 k.). (Almost all sources have said that SAGA city was where the Kaneie style tsuba were made in the Edo period.) (Saga was the residence of the Ryuzoji daimyo (1553), then, from 1590 to 18689 that of the Nabeshima (350,000 k.). (I wonder which is correct, and what difference it makes!) "Kaneie come in the Tokugawa period and were much imitated in Kyoto (Kyo shiremono) but they are called jidai nise "old imitations". Besides there are copies made by Gassan (Tsukuyama) Karoku). ( He must mean, Matsuo Gassan KIroku ). Which are also better than the other shiire and Hasuike and works by the others, by the 4 Kaneie, are not so good." (One more section of interest follows.) "Kinko Tanki mentions the second Kaneie Tetsunin of Fushimi having been appointed by the Daimyo of Higo. There are Oshodai (Daishodai), Shodai, and Nidai, in Kaneie, besides works which seem to be by a third generation, these latter are quite different from Tetsunin. The workmanship of Tetsunin is inferior and he was probably a pupil of Sho or nidai. Higo must be Hizen. There are pieces signed: Hizen no Kuni Saga no ju Ietsugu and Yoshiie." (See Wakayama, Toso Kinko Jiten, page 55 upper, 8 from the right.) "in the same school as Tetsunin. The tsuchime is very poor and the color is bad. Tetsunin was not as good a worker as the book says." This concludes the material that Akiyama wrote in the period from 1900 to 1919. We do not have a translation of his articles from 1920 to 1936 as yet, but such a project is proposed, and if it comes to pass there may be additional information about Kaneie that might be added to the above. A summery of the ideas of Akiyama would be as follows. He feels that the earliest artist who signed with this name worked about 1450. The names applied to what is thought to be the various artists, Daishodai, Meijin Shodai, Nidai, etc. are for the most part a convience and not a designation for the work of an individual artist and the period date that should be applied to these names is undetermined. Akiyama feels there are at least five "styles" of work, as outlined above. It would seem that two famous signatures of various Kaneie do not appear in these articles. One tsuba is signed: Yamaishiro Kuni Kaneie batsuyo tetsu boku saku. See N. Kawaguchi, Tsuba Taikan, Tokyo 1935, page 102-103, for this signature. There is also a tsuba signed: Yamashiro Kuni Kaneie batsuyo Igarashi tetsu boku. See Kokubo kenichi, Otsubo Kenzo, Zabo Tan Sen, Tokyo 1974, page 288, for this signature. The most famous of this group of signatures is as follows. Kaneie kyudai batsuyo tetsu boku saku. "I am the 9th generation decendant of Kaneie." Well this is the signature that was to start a whole new round of which generation is which! See the Kawaguchi entry above, though it is not this tsuba he lists the artist as the 9th Kaneie. We shall have more to say about this later in the paper.
The next entry in the available material about Kaneie, in English, brings the translations on the subject by Admiral Edwin T. Layton. He was a 1924 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and was part of the team that broke the Japanese code just before W.W.II. He had a keen interest in sword fittings and translated many portions of the major Japanese books on the subject. From these manuscripts we have the following summation.
This should give the reader the material, or the access to the material needed to study the known facts concerning Kaneie. Naturally this is only the beginning of such a study, for the "known facts", as you see, are meager at best and unreliable in most cases. It would seem that no one has given this subject the needed study it deserves since the days of Akiyama, almost a hundred years ago. I am sorry to say the remainder of this paper will not solve these problems, but it will raise the questions that are the prerequisite of any study, in any language. The hope is that such questions will achieve answers.
The second part of this paper will ask the many questions mentioned on the first page of this paper, and paramount of these is an analyses of the name that these artists used to signed their tsuba. What is the significance of the name Kaneie? It is formed of the two kanji characters KANE (KIN) and IE (KA). Even in its pure Chinese form (see: A New Practical Chinese-English Dictionary, ed. by Liang Shih-chiu; The Far East Book Co. Ltd. N.D.: page 1140, #6310 (kane) and page 232, #1127 (ie). These characters read CHINCHIA (JINJIA) and from the various readings you will see that the meaning of these kanji is the same in both languages. The Chinese dictionary gives the following English language readings for the CHIN (KIN). Gold, metal, money, wealth, weapons, arms, golden, precious, excellent, durable, name of a Tungusic Dynasty (1115-1234), a Chinese family name. In The Modern Reader's Japanese-English Character Dictionary, by Andrew N. Nelson; Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1962: page 904, radical 167, this kanji is read: Kon, Kin, gold, money, Friday. KANE money, metal; KANA metal. In Japanese Character Dictionary, by Mark Spahn and Wolfgang Hadamitzky; Cheng & Tsui Co. 1989: page 1508, 8a0.1, the reading is: KIN gold, metal, money, Friday. KON gold, KANE money; metal. KANA-metal. In Japanese Names and how to read them, by Albert J. Koop and Hogitaro Inada; Routledge & Kegan Paul 1923, reissued 1960: page 276, fourth from the top. KIN, KON; Kane, Kana-. KANE (metal, gold, money), One of the five elements (metal) and the five metals (gold). Compare with kanji page 337, fifth from the top. As you see from these various dictionary entries this character is not only a "radical" but one of the most common, being the basic element of all kanji dealing with metals of any sort. Even with this basic reference one has to decide if Kaneie was using this kanji in its most elementary meaning of metal in general and gold in particular? As you see from the Chinese definition, it can also mean money, weapons, and arms, which only complicates an interpretation of why it was chosen as the first kanji of this name. The second character of this name is as both simple and complicated as the first.
See Chinese Dictionary mentioned above on page 232, character #1127, where it is read as CHIA or JIA, and meaning, Home, house, household, family, of a household, at home, domestic, specialist (in any branch of art or science). In the Nelson dictionary, see page 321, kanji #1311. KA, KE, house, IE house, home, residence, housing, family, household, family name (surname), fortune. YA house, shop, store, seller, dealer, KE family, -KA person, profession. You will find almost the same definition in the Spahn and Hadamitzky dictionary, page 826, 3m7.1. In Koop and Inada, page 343, third from the top, KA, KE, HE, YE (E), IYE (IE), YA. As KE or KA, a suffix denoting a family, class or agent. Also see Toso Kinko Jiten, by Takeshi Wakayama, Tokyo 1984, page 108, center, he reads KIN, KON, KANE. On page 54, top, he reads the kanji as: IE, KA, KE, YA, 0, YAKA. For the name KANIE in this book see page 108, top, 8th from the right. This give the various readings and meanings for the two kanji of the name KANEIE. From the combination of these two kanji we can derive several readings and a multitude of meanings, such as: KANEIE, gold family, metal workers, residence of metal workers, goldsmiths, etc. We might, and this family might, have read these two kanji several alternate ways: KON, or KINYA, KANAYA, or a number of other alternatives. These artists, like so many others, now have an accepted reading for their name that we have no proof is the way that they sounded these two kanji themselves in the Muromachi period. So how did they read their name? Did they choose these two kanji deliberately for their meaning or interpretation, or was it a family name generations before this tsuba group appeared? If we can find any proof of the origin of the name we may have a clue as to the origin and period of these artists. Why do no other artists, before or after, use these two kanji to sign their tsuba? A few artists directly related to the school use the KANE kanji, but none use the IE kanji. You would think such an obvious, common, name for a metal school family would have been widely used, particularly since the Kaneie were not famous in their own time. One would like to know if this was a given name, or a chosen name by these artists, for the "business" name they would use to sign their tsuba. But one has to ask why did they sign their tsuba at all? Why use the name KANEIE? It is as you see from the above a very general term and does not contain an individual connotation. Is this the name of a shop, or just a group of artists? Was it bestowed on just one artist of a group, who no doubt would sign the finished product? Unfortunately the name is so general and vague that it tells us nothing except perhaps that they were involved in metals, or gold in particular, as a group or household. Were any of these propositions the case? What is the true origin and meaning of this name, and why was it used without a family name? Thus you see we have many more new questions as to the reading, origin, interpretation, and who the name applied to, as we had when we began this inquiry. The next area that must be gone into is the "FAMILY NAME", or surname borne by these artists. Wakayama, in his Toso Kinko Jiten (1984), page 108, top, eight from the right, says the family name is AOKI (green tree). This same name is stated to be the correct family name in almost all other books. The problem with this is that there are NO signed tsuba that carry this, or any other family name. The only artist associated with this family name is Tetsunin, who lived in the Edo period. There do not seem to be any tsuba that he signed with this family name either. There does not seem to be a satisfactory explanation how this family name has become associated with Kaneie. This brings up the problem of why this group of artists did NOT sign with a family name? Most of the lower classes and artists had neither the right or privilege, during mid Muromachi, of using a family name. Did Kaneie have a family name? If so what might it have been, and why did they not use such an important status symbol? It is interesting speculation on my part that it might have been Shoami, which even at this early date was so common that they did not need to employ it. The Shoami did not begin adding this name to their work until the Edo period. The research necessary to resolve this question can only be conducted in Japan, and no one seems to be interested enough to begin such an inquiry.
Thus far we have concentrated on the kanji used for the name of these artists. Now we should consider their residence, or at least the town they signed their tsuba as where they lived. There are two forms of the signature carved on the tsuba of this school. Joshu Fushimi ju and Yamashiro Kuni Fushimi ju. We will begin with the "Joshu" signature. There are only five tsuba extant bearing the "Joshu" form of inscription. Four of these have been published many times, but the only book that has all five is Tsuba Kanshoki by Dr. Kazutaro Torigoye, Okayama 1964, see pages 74-77. They are printed in this order. Page 74 top, the Furukawa Daruma design example. Dr. Torigoye thought this was the earliest of the five. Page 74 bottom, the lost Mosle Collection example (number 412). Page 75 top and bottom (front and back) the Hosokawa Kasuga Jinja (deer park) and on page 76 top and bottom (front and back) the Hosokawa Bishamonten tsuba. Page 77 top and bottom (front and back) the Wakayama, ex. Ikeda collection, the Nozarashi (weather-beaten) skull and bones example. This tsuba is also illustrated in the current exhibit in Tokyo, as number 5 in the catalog, in color front and back. It is the only one of the five "Joshu" tsuba in this exhibit. I wonder why the Hosokawa and Furukawa "Joshu" examples were not lent for this exhibit? Why are there only five tsuba with the "Joshu" signature? Were they all made by the same artist at about the same time? Also why, if these are the earlist Kaneie examples, did they sign with the "Joshu" form, and not the later Yamashiro Kuni form? Many other tsuba schools used the (province name) Kuni form in the signatures of the first master of the school, and then the later generation of the family school would use the "shu" form of their residence, i.e. schools of Choshu, Bushu and those of Yamashiro. Why did none of the later artists, branches, or groups who made Kaneie and Kaneie style tsuba ever sign their work with the "Joshu" signature? The most obvious reason is that none of the later Kaneie artists ever saw or knew about the five "Joshu" examples. We shall go into this later.
There are many other areas that will be gone into in this paper.
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