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Brass Namban Tsuba



Brass sixteen petal, tsuba.  Slightly raised dragon and arabesque on a nanako ground. Likely an acid reduction  to create the high relief.   Sukashi mon, and two decorative additions.  One a character written in archaic style, the other a circle with a decorative swirl.   7 cm x 6.6  cm  x 3.3 mm  As soon asI can get my printer working, I'll send pictures to Robert Haynes for his input.  For now, my best guess is a Korean import for the  Japanese market, likely 17th century.  

Comment from James  Macelheney, who has done extensive study on what are loosely characterized as Namban trade items. 

I concur with your assessment that it looks KoreanóJoseon being a place where swords were very similar in form to their Japanese counterparts, only much smaller in size.

Looking at the photos more closely, there is a feeling of Hirado work; the red cooper alloy, mainland design motifs. Hirado carried on a brisk trade with Korea, long after the promulgation of the Sakoku edicts.

This piece seems to be imitating tooled leather; something for which the Portuguese were known. It might be simulaating textile desogns. Given the combination of Korean and Portuguese influences, my revised kantei is Hirado; early 17th c.


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