Mumei (unsigned): Yanagawa
Size dx: 3,5 cm x 1 cm
Size sx: 4 cm x 1 cm
Period: Mid Edo
N.B.T.H.K. Hozon Tōsōgu Certification
In Kiri box
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Here we have a solid gold menuki depicting swift horses.
The transmissions list Masatsugu (政次, 1670-1721) as the founder of the Yanagawa (柳川) school. But, because there are no extant works, his second son and heir Naomasa is today counted as the 1st generation. Naomasa (直政) was born in Edo in the fifth year of Genroku (1692). It is said that he studied at the Yoshioka school for a while and later entered an apprenticeship with the 1st gen. Yokoya Sōmin at a young age. This master-student relationship goes back to the mediation of his father who, in turn, had studied under the 1st gen. Yokoya Sōyo. Accordingly, the Yanagawa school was orientated towards the style of Sōyo, which was a shakudō ground with nanako and a takabori-iroe ornamentation. Interpretations in the later Yokoya-style of Sōmin in katakiribori on a polished surface are rather rare.
This school became famous due to the reputation of master craftsmen: Naomasa, Naomitsu and Naoharu. Craftsmen of this school were good at making Yokoya’s style tsuba. This style is takabori iroe on shakudō nanako-ji ground (high relief carving and brazing thin golden or silver sheet on red copper nanako-ji processed metal).