Umetada Shichizaemon (埋忠七左衛門)
Tachibana Shigeyoshi saku (橘重義作)
Period: Mid Edo
N.B.T.H.K. Tokubetsu Hozon Tōsōgu certification
In kiri box
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Here we have a rare tsuba depicting scrolls, signed: Made by Umetada Shichizaemon Tachibana Shigeyoshi.
Round shape, made of iron, polished finish, shallowly carved down relief, fine carvings in the form of characters, embankstyle rim (with gold and silver inlay in the form of connected meander elements), no openings for scabbard accessories.
There are quite a few known tsuba from the Umetada school which are signed with the name „Shigeyoshi“ (重義), creating as many theories about these artists and their position in the genealogy of the family. Fukushi Shigeo presumes there are four artists, namely first Myōshin Shigeyoshi (明真重義), one called „Umetada Shichizaemon Tachibana Shigeyoshi“ (埋忠七左衛門橘重義), the 2nd gen. of the latter with the same name but a different signature, and a Shigeyoshi who signed with the supplement „Akashi-jū“ (明石住), i.e. „resident of Akashi“ in Harima province. „Tōsō-kodōgu-kōza“ on the other hand says that there were three Shigenaga: Hikojirō Shigeyoshi (彦次郎重義) who was active around Kan´ei in Kyōto, a Kanbun-era Shichizaemon Shigeyoshi also from Kyōto, and a Shichizaemon Shigeyoshi who worked around Genroku (1688-1704) in Edo. The signatures with „Akashi-jū“ are attributed by the latter publication to Kyōto´s Shichizaemon Shigeyoshi but are dated somewhat later, which could imply that this artist moved to Harima later in his career. Incidentally, the later also mentions that Umetada Muneyoshi worked in Akashi, which was the castle town of the Matsudaira family.
There are two tantō extant which bear the signature „Shigeyoshi“. One is signed „Yamashiro no Kuni Nishijin-jū Umetada Shigeyoshi“ (山城国西陣住埋忠重義) and dated „Kan´ei shichi-nen hachigatsu-hi“ (寛永七年八月日, „a day in the eighth month of the seventh year of Kan´ei “), and the other one mentions the first name in the form „Umetada Hikojirō Shigeyoshi“ (梅忠彦次郎重義), Please note the different character for „Ume“. The latter piece is used as a reference for the theory that Shigeyoshi belonged to the Umetada mainline, because „Hikojirō“ was the hereditary first name of the latter.
The multiple use of the names „Hikojirō“ and „Shigeyoshi“ resulted in several listings of Umetada artists and with different positions in their genealogy. Anyway, if the second tantō was a work of Umetada Myōshin, for example, than he would have signed it with his smith name „Ietaka“. Regarding tsuba by Shigeyoshi, there are dated signatures from the eighth year of Kan´ei (1631) to the second year of Kanbun (1662) extant, which means an artistic period of more than 30 years.
Only one tsuba by Shigeyoshi bears the supplement „Shichizaemon“, namely in the combination with the place name „Yamashiro“. The entire signature reads: „Yamashiro no Kuni Nishijin-jū Umetada Shichizaemon Shigeyoshi“. It can be dated to the mid Edo period and coincides with the assumption of the „Tōsō-kodōgu-kōza“ that Shichizaemon Shigeyoshi was somewhat active later than Kyōto´s Hikojirō Shigeyoshi. Well, there is a certain „unofficial“ rule that Hikojirō Shigeyoshi signed with the characters (埋忠) for „Umetada“ and Shichizaemon Shigeyoshi with the characters (梅忠).