Spoils of Time Asian Ceramics and Works of Art Spoils of Time
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All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1900 item #1340187
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A well forged, handsome mokume tsuba in mokko-gata form with katakiri-bori landscape decoration on both the omote and ura. The mokume grain is large and well controlled reminding one of ayasugi hada. In fact, this tsuba is indeed a tosho (swordsmith's) tsuba, being made by [Kai Ju] Kiyonaga and dated the third year of Bunkyo (1863) believed to be the same as KIY 298 referenced in Hawley's, Japanese Swordsmiths. Our angled, side view photographs more accurately portray patina and color as well as the mokume grain. Good condition. 3 5/8 inches (8.4 cm) X 3 3/8 inches (8.1 cm) and 7/32 inches thick (.55 cm) at the raised mimi and about 1/8 inch (.32 cm) thick at the seppa-dai. The raised mimi and no taper across the plate are atypical of traditional tosho tsuba. But the present example being 19th century, and toward the end of the Edo period, allows latitude for creativity. Ex Arnold Frenzel collection. If both sensitivity and strength are conveyed in the smith's blades as they are in this tsuba, I would be tempted to acquire one of his swords.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1837 VR item #1339907
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An armorer's (katshushi) tsuba by Miochin Munekane (signed.) Of smaller size associated with wakizashi. Engraved katakiri-bori flowers and vine decoration (six petals on vine, possibly clematis.) Artist line active between 1818 and 1887. Ex Robert Haynes collection. Good condition. A larger, sukashi tsuba at least by the same line, also signed Miochin Munekane, is in the Brooklyn Museum. 2 9/16 inches (6.5 cm) X 2 3/8 inches (6.1 cm) and 1/8 inch (.4 cm) thick.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1837 VR item #1339900
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A Soten school iron tsuba. Openwork decoration of courtiers or scholars reading calligraphy in garden landscape. Copper alloy and gold inlaid details. Good condition, with expected wear from use, dark patina, smooth surface, mimi somewhat rubbed. 3 1/32 inches (7.7 cm) X 2 7/8 inches (7.3 cm) and 5/16 inch (.41 cm) thick.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1700 item #1339871
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A small saotome school armorer's tsuba. Chrysanthemum form suggested by the individually open worked petals defined also along the rim. Otherwise a simple presentation. A single kozuka-ana obviously original to the work. Probably later Muromachi period (16th century.) A good school and type to be represented in any serious tsuba collection. Good condition but with light pitting on the ura and mimi. We have added scans which show the darker patina more accurately, rubbed slightly on the rim, smooth to touch, no active rust. 2 11/16 inches (6.8 cm) X 2 1/2 inches (6.3 cm) and 5/16 inches (.4 cm) thick.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1800 item #1339845
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A small, pumpkin form, marugata tsuba including leaf and vine details against the lobed background. Skilled and sensitive use of shape and space. Signed, Shigeyuki, it is not the Shoami artist using a different character for Yuki but rather the same characters used by two 18th century Yamashiro province, Umetada school swordsmiths of the same name - Shigeyuki. Given the 'tosho' feel of this tsuba and the clever work by Umetada smiths, it may not be a stretch to suggest a connection with these two Yamashiro smiths. Good condition with deep, dark patina, good tekkotsu and smooth feel in the hands. About 2 1/2 inches (6.3 cm) by 2 3/8 inches (6 cm) and about 1/8 inch (.39 cm) thick.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1800 item #1338183
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A strong mokogata iron tsuba of tight mokume. I favor mokume work and this is a virtuous example worthy of any collection. Boar's eye sukashi decoration in the four corners. Uchikaeshi mimi. Tekkotsu evident along the mimi. Good condition with light rubbing of the patina. Edo period. 3 (7.6 cm) inches x 2 11/16 (6.8 cm) inches
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1700 item #1338182
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A simple, four lobed armorer's tsuba with simple pierced decoration perhaps depicting a landscape with structure. The udenuki-ana (cord holes) have the effect of completing the illusion of a Sesshu-like landscape. The saotome were armorers turned tsuba makers who worked in this manner and scale. Good condition with good tekkotsu. Sengoku era. 2 15/16 (7.46 cm) inches x 2 5/8 (6.67 cm) inches
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1700 item #1338169
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A katchushi mutsu-gata sukashi tsuba. The six lobed, thin plated armorer's tsuba with good tekkotsu and with openwork decoration was described by Skip Holbrook (ex collection) as Saotome made and depicting three birds. The Saotome were a line of armorers (katchu) turned tsuba makers. But I think a case could be made for the sukashi decoration being a wabi-sabi flower bloom or possibly paulownia leaves (rather than awkward looking "birds".) Use of the paulownia (kiri) mon could suggest Yamakichibei as those tsuba makers, from Owari, were outfitting swords for the Oda and the Toyotomi - the latter using the kiri ka-mon. Good condition. 2 7/8 (7.3 cm) inches x 2 13/16 (7.14 cm) inches
All Items : Vintage Arts : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Metalwork : Pre 1960 item #1338050
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An interesting, sharp modern Japanese murashido vase. We call this "sharp" because of the angular protrusions and recesses in the crisp lined, modernist turning. The distinct baluster form reminds us of a carver's or sculptor's mallet. Condition is good with no dents or other serious issues but with a light scratch to the patination in one small place (illustrated). Mid 20th century. Signed with two archaistic characters on the foot, by Nakajima Yasumi II (1905-86). Height, 10 inches
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Porcelain : Pre 1800 item #1337767
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A massive imari vase with decoration of the Genroku era of bijin (a beauty) and hana (flowers) on two opposing panels alternating with two more opposing panels of a structure (tea house?) in garden landscape - all in red, gold and black enamels with blue underglaze. Similar landscape decorated panels appear on the shoulder over a ground of hanabishi (flowery diamond) in repeating diamond bordered pattern. The hanabishi (sometimes also referred to as karabana, or 'Chinese flower') could be representative of a ka-mon (family crest). The prominent Takeda family and its branches used the hanabishi ka-mon onward after the Heian period. The Genroku era spanned from 1688 to 1704. The arts and luxuries reached their apex during this era of the Edo period - contributing to large, opulent expressions such as the present vase. Genroku style and influence continued for a short time after (as could this vase) while the Tokugawa Shogunate struggled with inflation after devaluing coin quality in an attempt to sustain the appearance of prosperity (sound familiar?) So in some ways the Tokugawa followed in the footsteps of the decadent Ashikaga. Good, stable condition save an old crack through the foot rim which might originate with the firing as a crazing pattern conforms along and around the crack as if from excessive heat (limited to inside the foot and the lower portion of one bijin panel.) Vase height (not including cover) is 15 7/8 inches (40.32 cm)

This vase is accompanied by a Chinese, late Qing dynasty, exquisitely carved hardwood cover. The fit is loose and the cover a bit small proportionately. As they did not start life together, we are amenable to selling the cover separately should someone have a need. The cover would best fit a large vase with interior rim diameter of no smaller than 4 9/16" (11.58 cm). The cover is 7 5/16" (18.57 cm) with the wood grain (there is substantial shrinkage of the wood against the grain with age.) The cover is in presentable condition with some glue evidence on the interior - probably from refitting after shrinkage.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Lacquer : Pre 1837 VR item #1337646
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This is one of the more intriguing lacquer objects we have owned. Adorned with maki-e Aoe (hollyhock) Ka-mon on nashiji ground (also known as the Kamo Aoi as it was sacred to the Kamo shrine), family crest for prominent daimyo families including the Tokugawa and the Matsudaira during the Momoyama and Edo periods. Even the drawer pull is fashioned as an open worked shibuichi Aoe Ka-mon with the surprise of a textured, kinko (soft metal) raised backing only if you look for it. More interesting yet is the unusual form of this object - perhaps an only opportunity to acquire an example. Resembling a food tray on stand, it nonetheless has a drawer (not common to the form.) And a tall cover comes with a screen (silk?) as if to permit viewing whilst keeping something either in or out. We have not found another example of the form and so are not certain if it might be a covered dining tray (though the drawer) if intended to keep bugs out. Or perhaps it is in fact an insect terrarium (someone suggested it might be a large "cricket cage" or for praying mantis - maybe even to observe mantis combat) keeping the bugs in as it were. We can only speculate at the moment and heartily welcome suggestions or insight - maybe something not yet considered. The covered stand is in rather good condition for a mid Edo lacquer object. Good condition with expected testimony of age and use. There are the usual small lacquer losses mostly to edging (not at all detracting.) There is some fading - varying to the extent exposed to light (see our enlargement comparing surfaces of exterior, screened interior, drawer interior.) There is one minutely small handle stop stud missing from the screened cover. 18th to early 19th century. 13 inches (33.02 cm) high, 9 5/8 (24.45 cm) inches wide, 12 inches (30.48 cm) long.

Since listing this item, someone has suggested its holding fireflies (hotaru) as a possible use.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1700 item #1333910
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An iron, Ko-Tosho (early sword smith's) tsuba. The slightest taper from seppa dai towards rim. Pierced decoration. Purchased from Andy Quirt (ex Skip Holbrook collection) at the February 2016 Tampa show, he thought it depicted gourds. I guess the beholder might see different things. I see Japanese eggplants on leafy vine (two fruit and two leaves) supported by a bamboo trellis. An uncommon and well executed, balanced decoration. The hitsu-ana appears to be original to the tsuba. Late Muromachi. Good condition - has seen some pitting in the past but now stable (chalk it up to tekkotsu, history and character - tekkotsu attractively conspicuous on the rim), well worn to the touch, and with a good, dark patina. 2 7/8" (7.3 cm) marugata. 1/8" (3.17 mm) thick at the mimi. 3/16" (4.47 mm) thick at the seppa-dai.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1700 item #1333853
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A simple, relatively thin, Heianjo tsuba with simple inlaid kinko studs and raised, beveled rim indicative of katchu work. The crenulated surface adds some contrast to the otherwise simple study. Most of the inlaid soft metal studs are missing from the iron plate - particularly on the omote. Condition is otherwise good with deep patina and great tekkotsu on the mimi which includes one conspicuous sword cut. 3 3/8" marugata. 5/32" thick at the mimi (a little thinner along most of the plate but picking up thickness again at the seppa-dai. Muromachi era.
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1700 item #1333826
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An armorer's iron tsuba, possibly for a wakizashi as it is somewhat diminuitive in size. Or perhaps more in keeping with its apparent age, an early example of a proportionately small tsuba used with an uchigatana as was first the fashion. Sukashi decoration of a conch (horagai) traditionally used for ritual practices and for signaling on the battlefield. The rare uchikaeshi-hineri rim (mimi) is significantly raised and defined almost as if to suggest a separate piece of iron around the rim (though it is one with the plate.) Though the small sukashi might suggest tosho (swordsmith), the distinct and high rim clearly indicates ko-katchushi (old armorers) work. Good condition with tekkotsu, dark patina and some inert, brown surface rust for which we are lightly applying oil when dry (we prefer not to overclean or dry out a tsuba so will not take some of the more invasive measures against only light rust.) This tsuba has an early feel - perhaps early Muromachi. 2 3/4" (7 cm) marugata. The thickness of the plate is about 1/8" (.32 cm). The thickness at the rim is about 1/4" (.63 cm)
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1700 item #1333823
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A katchushi (or armorer's) tsuba, probably Myochin, with pierced decoration of ship's rudders (the significance being a comparison of rudders steering a ship to values guiding a Samurai's life choices.) The strong, homogenous, dense iron plate with only light tekkotsu and smooth to the touch. Dark patina. Momoyama to early Edo. Good condition: Lamination folds with openings evident on the surface of one side. Ex Skip Holbrook collection. 3 3/32" x 3 1/16" x 1/8" (7.8 cm x 7.7 cm x .32 cm)
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Swords and Related : Pre 1700 item #1333535
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An armorer's tsuba, with very slightly raised rim on the strong, flat iron plate. Pierced decoration of a shrimp with pleasing, subtle swell along the antennae and legs (mostly on the ura.) Small, irregular brass inlays for the eyes (missing from one eye - not conspicuous.) The kogai-ana plugged with a copper rich alloy. Oval form about 2 7/8" (7.3 cm) by 2 3/4" (6.985 cm). Thickness at rim about 5/32" (.39 cm). Late 16th century to early 17th century - perhaps Momoyama period. Or possibly earlier with hitsu-ana added (though old). Good condition with varieagated hues in the dark, lustrous patina likely with extant lacquer adhering and accounting for some of the black color (note that the tsuba has an overall dark, mottled patina which our lighting doesn't adequately portray). Subtle tekkotsu evident - some old, worn pitting with the surface now smooth, almost soapy to the touch.
All Items : Vintage Arts : Regional Art : Asian : Japanese : Earthenware : Pre 1930 item #1328662
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A set of five, understated Kyoto-Satsuma earthenware dishes. Each with decoration of five, 16 petal chrysanthemums - two softly sketched in gosu underglaze blue and three sharply sketched in black under the glaze. The backs undecorated. The 16 petal chrysanthemum mon has traditionally been reserved for imperial use and could appear on objects given as official gifts. Each seal impressed on the back (looks like it might be "Sozan" [not Sua's but a different character for "So"].) Appears to be early 20th century. Five would be the standard traditional set size in Japan. All in very good condition. Each diameter about 6 1/16 inch to 6 1/8 inch (about 15.5 cm)
All Items : Antiques : Regional Art : Asian : Chinese : Enamel : Pre 1910 item #1328479
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An interesting pair of Chinese cloisonne bulb pots. Lotus decoratoin in red, white, green and yellow on blue. Raised, lion mask decoration on the feet. Incised key decoration along the rim. Today they may be more suited for use as cachepots or potpourris (which would also be easier on the old material.) Reasonably good, presentable condition with expected wear, perhaps most notably small losses atop and under the rim of one also with a green enamel or paint layer on the bottom. One with "CHINA" lightly scratched into the bottom with some distress. Diameter 6 1/4 (15.88 cm) to 6 1/2 inches (16.5 cm). Height about 4 inches (10.16 cm).