Mumei (unsigned): Umetada
Length : 5.85 cm x 6.40 cm, thickness of rim: 0.3 cm
Weight: 88 gr
Period: Late Edo
N.B.T.H.K. Hozon Tōsōgu certification
In kiri box
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Here we have a nice Umetada sword guard depicting ascending wisteria crest.
With an elongated round shape, made of copper and gold alloy, stone surface finish, large areas of plate carved out to create the relief, dewdrops highlighted in gold, rim left raised due to ground plate carvings
Umetada family worked for many generations for the family of the Ashikaga-Shōgun and made sword carvings, habaki, seppa, tsuba and fushigashira. They were also responsible for the shortening of blades and the inlaying of the kinzōgan-mei (gold inlaid appraisal on a sword) on behalf of the Hon’ami family.
Myōju, one of the Three Great Masters, is the most famous rappresentative of the Umetada family, worked at the beginning of his career for the 15th Ashikaga-Shōgun, Yoshiaki (1568-1573).
The first name of Myōju (1558-1634) was Hikojiro, the craftsman name was firsts Shigeyoshi and later Muneyoshi.
His father was Shigetaka, who used the gō ‘Myōkin.
It seems that Miōju was the 25th generation from the famous swordsmith Senjō Munechika.
The lands of Munechika to the northeast of the imperial palace was called ‘Umetada’. The chūnagon Karesuma Toyomitsu called Umetada artists to his Karasuma residence for certain works.
On 1570 Umetada family moved from Sanjō to Nishihin. The change to the gō Myōju can be limited to the time between his 40th and 41st year of his life.
In terms of style Myōju’s origins appear to have been in the Shoami School. The reason of this assumption is found in early lived in the Nishihin section of Kyōto in the Momoyama and Edo period.
His metal carvings talent is demonstrated by unprecedented quality of the carvings decorating tsuba. He produced many graphic tsuba made in the hira-zogan or iroe inlay methods using gold, silver and shakudō alloy metals.
He was a versatile master, equipped with a peculiar aesthetical sense that he gained from the assimilation of old Shōami works, artists such as Hon’ami Kōtoku (1553-1619), Gotō Kōjō and Takujō.
Not pieces have been discovered which show his early craftsman names. Extant tsuba are mostly signed in yojimei, spread out as ‘Umetada’ and ‘Myōju’ to the left and right side of the seppa-dai.
We also know works of Mitsutada who is listed as the uncle of Myōju and attribuited to the Umetada school.
Umetada Myōshin is listed as the son of Myōju, with the first name of Hikojirō, which was the ereditary name of the Umetada family. He bore the priest rank of hokkyō and signed in swordsmith style with the name of Ietaka. He was active from about Genna (1615-1624) to the end of the Kan’ei era (1644) and was at that time the head of the Umetada family (after the death of Myōju).
Myōshin was officially hired by the Tokugawa-bakufu and that they provided him with a mansion in Edo.