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Tsuba with Kamatari and the Jewel
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Tsuba with Kamatari and the Jewel

Description Provenance Inscription Credit
Description The body of this tsuba is formed by the elements of the composition. It tells the story of Kamatari, the founder of the powerful Fujiwara family. He was a historical figure who died in 669, but this episode is from a legend. His daughter had become the empress of China and sent a boatload of treasures, including an important jewel, back to Japan to be used for a temple. The Dragon King of the sea stole the jewel and hid it in his temple. Kamatari retrieved it with the help of a diver girl, who sacrificed herself to ensure the jewel was returned to Kamatari. Kamatari is shown at the top of the tsuba in his boat just after he received the jewel. The Dragon King's body forms the lower left edge of the tsuba. Kamatari's boat and the Dragon King are connected by waves. Spaces in the waves create the openings for the hair pick and utility knife.
Provenance William T. / Henry Walters Collection, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signature] 幽明子 大地宗久製; [Translation] Yûmeishi/ Ôchi Munehisa sei; [Inscription] 江州 彦根住; [Transliteration] Gôshû /Hikone jû; [Translation] Ômi province/residing in Hikone
Credit Acquired by William T. or Henry Walters

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ca.1700-1750 (mid Edo)
iron, gold, copper
(Arms & Armor)
Accession Number
3 1/16 x 3 x 3/16 in. (7.74 x 7.56 x 0.5 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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