Description This tsuba shows Watanabe no Tsuna, a warrior who lived in the late 10th and early 11th century. One stormy night, he lay in wait at the Rashomon Gate in Kyoto to wait for one of the last demons left in the city. Very late at night, he felt something tugging at his helmet. Striking out with his sword, he cut off the demon's arm. The demon ran away and Tsuna kept the arm locked in an iron box. On the tsuba, Tsuna and the demon face off across the sword opening. The strong diagonal decorations on both the front and the back evoke the stormy night. The Rashomon Gate is the same gate that figures in Akira Kurosawa's famous film of that name.
- The Nature of Loyalty: Japanese Warrior Prints of the Nineteenth Century. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1989.
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Transcription] Inscribed:高嶺谷図 應需久貝公 慶應元年早春 觚泉勝親刻之; [Transliteration] takane tani no zu/oju kugai ko/keio gannen soshun/koizumi katsuchika kore o horu; [Translation] Inscribed: Designed in a high mountain valley/By special request of Lord Kugai/ First year of Keio(1865), early spring/Koizumi Katsuchika carved this.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters
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