Nihonto.com is extremely proud to offer this top quality example of one of the most famous of the Higo tsubako, Hirata Hikozo. This tsuba is an wonderful example of the fine work of this famous fittings maker. It is published in the second volume of Tôsogu no Kansho. Additionally, the NBTHK awarded it Jûyô Kodogu status in the 64th Jûyô shinsa held in 2018. The following is a translation of the Jûyô Kodogu zufu describing this excellent piece.
Jūyō-kodōgu at the 64th Jūyō Shinsa held on November 6, 2018
Shihō suhama-sukashi tsuba (四⽅洲浜透鐔) – Tsuba with openwork of stylized inlets in four directions mumei: Hikozō (彦三)
Measurements: Height 7.35 cm, width 8.95 cm, thickness at rim 0.45 cm
Description: Hinshitsu-keijō: tatemaru-gata, suaka, okina-yasurime, negative sukashi, Odawara-fukurin of kuroshibuichi
Jidai: early-Edo period
Explanation: The Higo-based Hirata (平⽥) family has its origins within the Shōami (正阿弥) system. Its founder, the first generation Hikozō (彦三), became a retainer of Hosokawa Sansai (細川三斎,1563-1646) in Kyōto and followed his master to Kumamoto (熊本) in Higo province when the latter was transferred there and died in Higo in Kan’ei twelve (寛永, 1635). Together with the lineages of two of his students, Shimizu Jingo (志⽔甚五) (who was his nephew) and Nishigaki Kanshirō (⻄垣勘四郎), and with Hayashi Matashichi (林⼜七), who had an Owari background, the Hirata School constituted one of the four major currents of local sword fittings making (Higo kinkō).
Hikozō often worked in a style that can be considered as a continuation of the Shōami tradition and although he sometimes also used iron, he mostly made softmetal fittings from, i.a., yamagane, brass, or shakudō. Apart from zōgan, he also applied amida and okina-yasurime, achieving so a highly elegant decorative effect.
The plate of this tsuba looks rich and soft and is decorated with exquisite, finely carved amida-yasurime. The edges of the four suhama-sukashi are chamfered and thus also of a soft appearance. An Odawara-fukurin of dark kuro-shibuichi that almost looks like shakudō is a characteristic feature of the first generation Hikozō which is both elaborate and very tasteful, reflecting so the aesthetic approach of the first master.
This beautiful tsuba comes in a custom made box with a custom made cloth cover. This is a great opportunity to own a truly great work of art by one of the top tsuba masters of all time.