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Yagyu Distant Pines Tsuba
A classic Yagyu tsuba of pines in the distance. Great color and condition. The plate is better quality than some Yagyu that I have handled. Very fine maritensite in the plate, visible forging and a few small tekotsu in the edge. 6.4 cm x 6.12 x 4.3 mm.
Unlike schools that take their name from the area of production, Yagyu tsuba refers to their design, and were produced by several schools, predominantly Owari.
The Yagyu Shinkageryu was founded by Yagyu Sekishusai Muneyoshi (1527-1606) of Yamato. He and his descendants maintained a close relationship with the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo. The fourth master, Yagyu Renyasai Yoshikane (1625-1694) was an advisor to the Owari Tokugawa until his retirement in 1688. He is credited with developing the original set of Yagyu tsuba designs and the Yagyu style of koshirae. Renyasai's tsuba motifs are believed to illustrate specific strategies and philosophies central to the Yagyu style of swordsmanship.
Bishu (Owari) Yagyu guards are mentioned as worthy of appreciation in one of the earliest books on tsuba, "Soken Kisho" by Inaba Tsuryu (1781). In 1857, Imaizumi Gennai Harunobu recorded 163 designs in "Yagyu Tsuba Zufu". Dr. Torigoye's copy of the Yagyu design book, illustrates 123 designs. Another version of the design book, illustrates a total of 269 designs, some of which appear to be actual oshigata, with the rest drawn in oshigata style. *
A few years ago, in their heyday, this tsuba would have fetched $3,500 - $4,500, but that day, like my full head of hair and youth, has past. So we are pricing at today's market. $1,250
*Drawn from "Meito in North America and Yagyu Tsuba", 2005, American Branch of the NBTHK, text by James Gilbert.