T468. Spectacular Kenjo Tsuba, Omi Hakkei, Nearly Perfect
T468. Kenjo tsuba: gold and silver on iron. 7.5 x 8 x .4 cm. The nakago hitsu-ana (not that anyone would mount this one) is .8 x 2.7 cm. Kenjo tsuba were made to be given as a gift, to or from a Daimyo or a wealthy or important person; this is the first I’ve ever had for my site. They are thought to have come out of the Kyo Shoami School.
The tsuba is signed with a kao. Robert haynes and Elliott Long were generous with their time and have identified it as belonging to an artist who used the name Ryu (dragon) and also Seimin Ryu and Kazunori Ryuashi. See H07612.0 in Mr. Haynes’ Index. This would date to Meiji or early 20th century.
The theme of this tsuba is Omi Hakkei: 8 popular scenes of Omi, Shiga Province, a theme often used on lacquer ware and srord fittinge. The technique and execution are mind blowing: there are at least 2 different colors of gold and much of the detail is so fine that magnification is necessary for full appreciation. And the condition is amazing: other than for the tiniest of flaws all is perfect (even the gold on the rim is 100% intact).
This tsuba comes in a fitted box with pillow and Hozon paper from the NBTHK, dated 2008 and giving it to Kyo Kenjo. The collector I purchased this from told me a former owner paid $8,000 for it in Japan. I ask $3,850.