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Nara Shigemitsu Tsuba
An unassuming iron tsuba by Nara Shigemitsu. 7.29 cm x 6.99 cm x 3.3 mm. Dense, well forged iron plate, with bamboo and chidori in silver , gold, and shakudo. Hitsuana filled with shakudo sekigane. Signed, Nara (grass script) Shigemitsu. Museum accession number on the back in black, L32-1518.
Either a rare, and important example of Nara Shigemitsu, founder of the Omori family school.Ref. The Index of Japanese Sword Fittings and Associated Artists, Robert Haynes, H 08349.0 Two examples of signed fuchi in Toso Kodogu Dai Jiten Kei, Wakayama, Vol. I, page 136.
Shigemitsu, 1696 - December 30, 1726. He was the first son of Omori Shirobei (H 08675.0). "A student of the Nara school, such as Masayoshi H 04806.0, and the first Yasuchika H 11104.0. Said to be the founder of the Omori family school. Worked in Nara school style. Examples are very rare. " Robert Haynes, The Index of Japanese Sword Fittings and Associated Artists.
Or possibly Nara Shigemitsu, H 08348.0, a student of Nara Shigeharu. According to Robert Haynes, the signatures are so close that without a kakihan it is impossible to tell the difference. He also noted, that this is the first example that he has seen with Nara written in sosho script. After examination Robert Haynes said that he believed this to be the more import smith of the two, adding, "Without the Kakihan it can't be proven one way or the other, but you should certainly list it that way".
Since this question can not be resolved in the short term, or perhaps ever, I have the tsuba priced accordingly.
Toso Kodogu Dai Jiten Kei, Wakayama, Vol. I, page 136.