Satsuma school



Mumei (unsigned): Satsuma school

Size: 7,15 cm x 7,45 cm

Thickness at rim: 0,40 cm

Weight: 150 gr

Period: Mid Edo

N.B.T.H.K. Hozon Certification

In kiri box

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Tsuba showing a tiger in bamboo.

Elongated round shape, iron with polished finish, high relief worked into the surface, colour inlay, angular rim with a little roundness.

The most renowned of the tsubakō in Sesshū (Satsuma no Kuni) is the Oda (小田) Ha, next is the Chishiki (知識) Ha, and in addition, there is a small amount of tsuba made by tōkō (swordsmith).

Satsuma’s Oda school (小田)

The Satsuma fief (薩摩藩), officially called Kagoshima fief (鹿児島藩), was throughout the entire Edo period under the control of the Shimazu family (島津). With 770.000 koku it was, after Kaga (with 1.000.000 koku), the second wealthiest fief in terms of rice income alone. The kinkō artist Motonaka (資央), his civilian name was “Kabayama Kōzaemon” (樺山幸左衛門), worked for the Shimazu family. He was born in the third year of Meireki (1657), studied under Gotō Tsūjō (後藤通乗, 1663-1721), the 11th gen. Gotō mainline, and died on the 23rd day of the third month of Kyōhō 15 (1730). His student was Oda Tōshichi (小田藤七) who signed with the name “Naoka” (直香). Naoka – his name is sometimes also quoted with the reading “Naoyoshi” or “Naotaka” – in turn was a retainer of the Shimazu family and lived in Satsuma’s Taniyama (谷山). His successors and students are summarized under the term “Oda school”. The school worked primarily in iron but because some soft metal fuchigashira and other sword fittings were also made.

Naoka’s son Hachirōbei (八郎兵衛) used the craftsman name “Naonori” (直教). He studied under the local master Tanaka Moriyuki (田中盛征, 1700-1785). Moriyuki’s first name were “Ichirō’emon” (市郎右衛門) and “Hei’emon” (平右衛門) and he had studied under the 12th Gotō-gen. Jujō (後藤寿乗) in Kyōto. The 3rd gen. of the Oda school was Naomasu (直升) who was probably the same artist as Oda Naonori (直昇). Naomasu was active around Kyōwa (1801-1804). From the point of view of the artistic period the 4th gen. was probably Naokata (直堅). From him we know dated signatures of the 13th year of Bunsei (1830) and the second year of Tenpō (1831). Other Oda artists were for example Naokatsu (直勝) and Naomine (直峯).

Satsuma’s Chishiki school (知識)

The samurai Chishiki Go’emon (知識五右衛門) who lived in Satsuma’s Izumi (出水) is regarded as the founder of the Chishiki school. He signed with the name “Kanesue” (兼副) and studied according to transmission under a certain Kuroki Zenbei (黒木善兵衛). Zenbei in turn was also a Satsuma samurai who made tsuba and sword fittings as a hobby. Kanesue died on the second day of the eighth month of Kansei two (1749). Records tell us that the Chishiki also bore the family name “Ban” (伴, also read “Tomo”). Kanesue’s successor was his son Kanenori (兼矩). Kanenori’s first name was “Zenbei” (善兵衛) and he signed during his early years with “Kanehira” (兼平). He was born in Izumi in the sixth year of Kyōhō (1721), studied under Tanaka Moriyuki (田中盛征), but went also to Edo to refine his craft under the 13th Gotō-gen. Enjō (後藤延乗). Due to the promoting of his craft after his return to Satsuma, Kanenori is regarded by some as the actual founder of the Chishiki school. He died on the tenth day of the eighth month of Tenna three (1783) at the age of 63.

Kanetake (兼武) was the son or, according to some sources, the student of Kanenori. His first name was “Genzaemon” (源左衛門) and he died on the tenth day of the ninth month of Kansei two (1790).

His son Kaneatsu (兼値), who was called “Zenbei” (善兵衛), signed his craftsman name in his early years with the characters (兼強). His father died when he was 15 years old so he already went to Edo at a young age to study under Shinjō (後藤真乗), the 15th Gotō mainline gen. Kaneatsu died on the 18th day of the eleventh month of Bunka eleven (1814) at only 39. The 5th gen. Chishiki was Kaneatsu’s son Kaneoki (兼置). His first name was “Hanshichi” (半七) before he took later the hereditary name “Genzaemon” (源左衛門) after succeeding as head of the family. Kaneoki was born on the 23rd day of the eleventh month of Bunka three (1806). When his father died only eight years later, he too was sent to Edo to enter an apprenticeship with his father’s master Gotō Shinjō. He died on the tenth day of the sixth month of Meiji 17 (1884) at the age of 79. The last generation of the Chishiki-kinkō line was Kaneoki’s son Hikoichi (彦一). He was born on the 13th day of the tenth month of Ansei six (1859) and died on October 10th 1923.

Satsuma’s Kanasugi line (金杉)

Also active in Satsuma was a group of kinkō artists which bore collectively the family name “Kanasugi” and whose craftsmen names started always with “Tomo”, whereas the characters (知) and (友) were used. More well-known are the brothers Tomotsune (知常), first name “Kichigorō” (吉五郎), and Tomotoshi (知寿). Both studied in Edo under Katō Naotsune (加藤直常) who came from Satsuma too and who studied in Edo under the Yanagawa school. Another artist of the Kanasugi line was Tomonari (知業).

Other kinkō artists from Satsuma

Seki Yūzō (関勇蔵), his craftsman name was “Rinshō” (林章), went to Edo and studied there under Nakamura Naonori (中村直矩) – who was in turn a student of the kinkō master Yanagawa Naomasa (柳川直政) – and also under the 2nd Inagawa-gen. Naokatsu (稲川直克, 1720-1761). Rinshō also signed his name with the characters (隣松) and (鄰松), used the gō “Kankeishi” (関雞子 or 関鶏子), and it is said that he also signed with “Shigemitsu” (重光). He was active around Hōreki (1751-1764) and Meiwa (1764-1772).

Incidentally, we know works with the signature “Seki Morimitsu” (関守光) and “Kankeishi Morimitsu” (関鶏子守光), who was probably a student of a relative of Rinshō.

Masayoshi’s (匡義) civilian name was “Kuwabata Zenbei” (桑畑善兵衛). He was born in the second year of An’ei (1773) in Satsuma and went later to Edo to study there under Inada Norinobu (稲田矩陳, also read “Noriyoshi”), a samurai and retainer of the Shimazu family who was a student of the 15th Gotō-gen. Shinjō (後藤真乗) and who produced kinkō works as a sideline. It is said that Norinobu also studied under Tanaka Moriyuki (田中盛征). Due to Norinobu’s connection with Shinjō, Masayoshi was also able to learn from the Gotō master. By the way, Masayoshi’s father Kuwabata Hachirōbei (桑畑八郎兵衛) had studied under the local craftsman Chishiki Kanenori (知識兼矩).