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A Shoami tsuba

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All Items: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Swords and Related: Pre 1700: item # 447293

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20122 Milano - Italy
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A Shoami tsuba
Diameter: 8,5 cm Sigend: Iyo (no) ju Shoami. Provenhance: W.W. Winkworth collection, Carlo Monzino collection, Alan L. Harvie collection. Iron tsuba carved and pierced in a bold manner with a ageha (butterfly) kamon from the daimyo family Ikeda; the wing patterns partly inlaid in brass. The elegant design and the extreme quality of this tsuba suggest that probably it had been commissioned by a member of the Ikeda faimily at the beginning of Edo period. At the Battle of Sekigahara Ikeda Terumasa commanded 4,500 troops in the rear guard of the Tokugawa Ieyasu army, whose daughter he married. Following the Tokugawa victory, Terumasa was given a 520,000 koku fief in Harima, but by the time of his death in 1613, the Ikeda had grown to rule over lands with a combined income of around 1,000,000 koku. Terumasa himself had come to be nicknamed saigoku no shogun, or, ‘The Shogun of Western Japan’. Shoami is translated as "one who is talented in the arts." The use of the ami kanji implies much more than mere skill; it also has religious connotations and association with "high culture." Haynes comments that Dr. Torigoye in his studies of various daimyo records, found that the only family name mentioned, in most cases was the Shoami. This tsuba comes from some of the most important collectors of the world and certainly is a good addition to any serious collection. Alan L. Harvie - its last owner - suggests that this can be the original model for this pattern, as no earlier exemplar is known. The back of the tsuba shows the same decoration.


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