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Tsuba with Symbols of the Star Festival (Tanabata)
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Tsuba with Symbols of the Star Festival (Tanabata)


Description Provenance Inscription Credit
Description This tsuba refers to the story of the celestial lovers the Weaving Maiden (Jp. Orihime) and the Shepard (Jp. Hikoboshi). They are the stars Vega and Aquila. Because they neglected their work when they were together, the Weaving Maiden's father, the King of Heaven, decreed that they could only meet across the River of Heaven (i.e. the Milky Way) once a year. Their meeting is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month with a festival called Tanabata. The front of the tsuba shows objects associated with the story and celebrations of the festival. Along the lower edge are spools of thread used by the Weaving Maiden and maple leaves which form a bridge for the lovers to cross. Along the top and left edge are papers with poems. During the festival, celebrants write poems containing wishes and tie them to trees or bamboo poles. The back of the tsuba shows the stars and the Milky Way.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquistion unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signature] 埋忠數馬助 橘宗義; [Translation] Umetada Kazuma-no-suke/Tachibana Muneyoshi saku; [Date] 寛文二歳 行年六十二; [Transliteration] Kanbun ni sai/gyonen roku ju ni; [Translation] Second year of Kanbun (1662)/ Age 62
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

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Period
1662 (early Edo)
Medium
iron, gold
(Arms & Armor)
Accession Number
51.131
Measurements
H: 3 1/4 x W above and below cutout: 3 1/16 in. (8.2 x 7.8 cm); W at cutout: 2 15/16 in. (7.5 cm)
Geographies
  • Osaka, Japan (Place of Origin)
  • Kyoto, Japan (Place of Origin)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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