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Provenance:  Robert E. Haynes Not For Sale
"This tsuba is of shakudo plate that is 8 cm. high and 7.9 cm. wide. It is signed: BUSHU EDO JU YASUCHIKA and KAO. The surface seems in various lights to have an almost iridescent quality about it. Though the plate seems polished it does not "shine" as most mid to late Edo period shakudo plates seem to do. It is quiet and subtle in color and tone. The round shape plate has an inlaid shakudo rim that does not go over the edges. This style of rim cover is to be seen in other shakudo plate tsuba of this time, and sometimes they are of gold. The design is of a hare in kage sukashi (silhouette sukashi), turned three quarters away so we see mostly the back of the animal. To its left are three sukashi sasa dwarf bamboo leaves, a dot of dew and a heart shape opening. Remember the first iron plate tsuba that was signed Shonai Yagohachi, it also has sukashi sasa leaves and dots of dew in kage sukashi, and a kogane mushi (May beetle) in the kage sukashi technique. Next to the bamboo leaves on the face are sasa bamboo leaves inlaid in two tones of shakudo, with gold flowers and other plants. A flower stock with nine shakudo leaves and a single silver bloom with a silver bud at the top, exits the bamboo leaves. This bloom is of the Rindo flower, or gentian (gentiana) often called the bell flower. The blooms of the Rindo are part of the family mon (crest) of the Matsudaira family. This seems to be the first indication that Yasuchika might be already working for Matsudaira Daigaku no To Yorisada (1663 to 1744), which would conform to the known information that he was a retainer of Yorisada in 1711 and received 12 koku as payment. The upper section of the plate has kage sukashi clouds and a half silver moon seen through the clouds, these clouds are very much like those in the preceding ox tsuba and when one lays one tsuba over the other the similarity is remarkable. Much of the right side of the face and the upper area just under the clouds of the right side have hair line carved lines that represent grass and this type of carved line we are told Yasuchika was very famous for. The sukashi areas are the same on the reverse naturally and the plate is carved with the same hair lines but they are on the center right and upper left this time. There are gold and shakudo plants under the hare sukashi and to the right of the bamboo sukashi are three and a half sasa bamboo leaves, also in two tones of shakudo, and with the dew dot and hart shape sukashi. Next to this is a kiku bloom stalk with nine shakudo leaves and two silver chrysanthemum blooms and one bud of silver at the top. This would seem to be some type of nod to the Imperial mon. The shape of the hitsu-ana are standard and classical to those used by Yasuchika at this time. This ends the physical description of this tsuba." (Robert E. Haynes)
"The other factors that should be noted are the historical and aesthetic factors that relate to this tsuba. Its place in the history of Yasuchika and his production seems very clear when you realize this tsuba was made in 1711, the year of the hare. Also of note that on April 25, 1711 the SHOTOKU era began, which may have given him added impetus to make this tsuba. Naturally there are a number of tsuba and other fittings that he must have made at this time that have not been recorded so far. We can only hope that some of them will come to light and thus will have an even clearer picture of this master artist." (Robert E. Haynes)

A Collaboration of Robert E. Haynes and Elliott D. Long

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