T531. Copper Tsuba Attributed to 5th Shimizu Jingo


T531.  Kinko tsuba: copper with gold inlay. 7.3 x 7.5 x .35 cm. The nakago hitsu-ana is .8 x 2.7 cm. I bought this tsuba from a serious collector of Higo kodogu. He has shown pictures of it to Ito Mitsuru (the foremost authority on Higo and author of 3 very beautiful books on the subject); both he and Ito Sensei believe it to be work of the 5th master, Shigenaga. Here are his notes on the piece:

Design called hanare-ushi nu zu (oxen), a Zen Buddhist theme which originated from the first master of the Shimizu Jingo School. This style of oxen with its distinctive shaped eyes and hat like appearance is based on Jinbei’s earliest works of the same theme. The design represents the different stages of Buddhist enlightenment and the emptiness of the reverse with the exception of the post is very emotive of Zen contemplation. The metal used is copper which was favored by the comparatively rare soft metal works of the Shumizu Jingo School. The shape of the nakago-ana shows that this was made after the age of 70 years – this is the only soft metal hanure-ushi that I have seen to date. Mid 19th century.

He knows so much more about Higo kodogu than I do; I don’t have much to add. I can tell you that condition is pristine and that you should love this one. $2,275.

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