Description This tsuba depicts two Taoist immortals who both had the ability to send their spirits out of their bodies. On the front is Tekkai (Ch. Teiguai [T'ieh Kwai]). He left his body for seven days to consult with Laozi [Lao-tzu] and when he returned could not reenter his old body. He had to take the body of an old beggar by the roadside who had recently died. On the right side of this tsuba he is shown in the beggar's body and holding a cane. His spirit, which he is sending out, can be seen riding on his breath above the utility knife hole on the left. On the reverse, the Taoist immortal Gama (Ch. Hia Mo) stands on the left with a three legged frog on his head. Like Tekkai, Gama's spirit once returned to his body and was unable to enter it. He put his spirit into the nearest creature, which was a frog.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signature] 真柳斎 光長; [Translation] Shinryûsai/Mitsunaga
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters
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