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Wave Wakizashi Tsuba
An interesting tsuba of wonderfully sculpted waves, that go upward on te face, and downward on the back. Bits of gold nunome at the end of the curling waves. An entreaty dense and black tsuba. 7.47 cm x 69.7 cm x 4.2 mm.
A similar less artful tsuba being offered out of Japan is listed as Hirado. However, I don't like that attribution for several reasons, and Robert Haynes said, "Very nice work, but I have no idea what it is". $550
My apologies for the picture of the back, it is every bit as good as the front. I am just a poor photographer.
James Mcelhiney wrote: The Matsuura clan of Hirado carried on trade with Joseon during he Edo period. It was one of those ports other than Nagasaki, like Kagoshima and Tsushima Island, that were ports of entry for foreign goods into Japan during the Edo period. IMHO a number sword guards attributed to Hirado are probably Korean. Korean sabers were almost like miniature Japanese katana. It seems that many of these that made their way to Japan are mistaken today for Tangu-no-Sekku swords.
We know that some Korean artists were working in Hirado because of the story that Hirata Dounin went there to learn enameling from them. Whether your guard was made in Korea, or by a Korean working in Hirado, or by a Japanese carver working in that milieu is impossible to say.Considering that so many Hirado Kunishige guards are small raises the possibility that some of them were made to be exported to Korea. While classifying the piece as "Hirado" would seem to cover all those bases. I would not rule out the possibility of its being Korean.