A fine and unusually large tsuba. Attributed to Hizen by the NBTHK.
71 x 68 mm
6.5 mm thick
Iron, gold, copper
Late 18th century
European antiques market
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Seiryūken Eiju (成竜軒栄寿) was the art name of Tetsugendo Toryuken, also known as Naofusa (尚房). He was active in Osaka, Kyoto and later Edo from circa 1775-1800. He was a student of Okamoto Harukuni and adopted son of master craftsman and founder of the Tetsugendo school; Okamoto Naoshige.
Tsuba carrying his name and signature vary considerably in style and quality, and many even exhibit different kao (personal seals). The most likely explanation is that he ran an atelier with several craftsmen, and was only involved in some of the pieces himself. Hirado Kunishige also worked like that.
A recurring trait of Seiryuken Eiju tsuba is that they have a discoid cross-section, with chiseled iron decor and bears the signature in beautiful cursive sosho (grass script), often with a golden inlaid seal.
1. Robert Haynes; The Index of Japanese Sword Fittings and Associated Artists. Nihon Art Publishers, 2001. Entry H 06602.0.
A nice example of a Seiryūken Eiju tsuba, better executed than most. It has the typical discoid cross-section. The decor consists of a dragon, something Seiryūken was famous for. Parts of the dragon's body are protruding here and there as if it lives inside the tsuba. The eyes are separately inlaid pieces of gold.
It bears a golden inlaid personal seal with the characters Sei-Ei (成栄), his former signature.
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