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Hoan  Tsuba



A large sukashi tsuba attributed to later Hoan, beginning of the Edo period (earliest 17th century).  Mint condition, wonderful silky iron, and wonderful tekotsu.  8.5 cm x 7.9 cm  x 4.5 mm.  NTHK kanteisho, specifying first part of Edo, with seals of all five judges. 

The Hoan, also read Noriyasu, were in Kii province, a retainer to the Asano, and received a stipend of ten koku of rice.  Haynes lists eleven generations, ranging from early Edo to the beginning of the twentieth century.  H 01576.0 through H 01586.0.   Some say that there was an earlier generation, who died in 1614, and is buried at Kokuzanji Temple, however this is a point of contention.    The third generation was Hisatsugu, as were the next nine generations.  The fourth generation, also worked for the Asano Daimyo, and received a stipend of 800 koku of rice.  Starting with the sixth generation, it appears that they were no longer making sword fitting, but were ship builders.  It seems that the tenth generation, H 01584.0 did make some fittings in the Hoan style, but as primarily a ship builder. 

In order for this tsuba to be a later generation, working in the beginning of Edo, you either need to accept the premise of the earlier generation in question, making this the work of H 01576.0, or if not, then H 01577.0, the second generation as per Haynes, as the other generations are middle to late Edo, and into Meiji.    The second generation was known as Hisatsugu, Kanenobu, and Yoemon.  Born in 1600, he was the son in law of the first generation Hoan.  In 1619 he went with Asano Akiakira to Hiroshima.  He succeeded his father, as head of the family in 1645.  He went to work for a branch of the Takeda Daimyo family.   Works signed Hoan Kanenobu are not rare, but they seem younger than the dates given to the second Hoan master.  There appears to be a 72 year gap in the middle 18th century, where nobody inherited the family title, it may be possible that this might account for the many Kanenobu with a latter appearance.  This is pure speculation on my part.         



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