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MANTIS FUCHI & KASHIRA
蟷螂縁頭


The Fuchi and Kashira serve as the endcaps for the sword handle. The fuchi is on the top of the handle where the sword enters and the kashira is on the bottom. Sometimes you may find the fuchi signed. It is common to find the fuchi without the kashira. This may be because a kashira made of horn was sometimes used and a matching kashira was never produced. In addition, since the kashira is exposed at the end of the handle, it is more likely to be lost and/or experience damage. Still, many pairs remain intact. The Fuchi and Kashira like all other samurai sword fittings displays aristry and skill. Most Samurai sword fittings through their design convey meanings, ideas and/or tales of Japanese society. For meanings of designs please read the section on Japanese symbolism.

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Item
DescriptionPicture
F/K #1This fuchi/kashira is part of a set including a matching tsuba and kozuka (viewed in respective areas). There was a kogai too but It was plain and didn't match the other pieces. The matching set was claimed to be made in the 1920's, but on inspection by others, it has been attributed to 17th or 18th century Mino school. What's a few hundred years in attribution? Actually a good lesson for collectors, you will get lots of wrong opinions! Not sure of base metal: copper or bronze and some darker metal to mimic shakudo? which is common for the Mino school. It wasn't uncommon for blades to have several sets of fittings and collectors seek these matching sets
F/K #2Beautiful unsigned fuchi/kashira set likely from the Mito school. The base metal is shakudo with the mantis done in gold and with the chrysanthemums done in silver. Overall a pleasing and well executed set.
F/K #3Fuchi only of Mantis and Grasses. This most likely is the work of the Kaga School. There is some minor inlay missing from the grass otherwise in excellent condition. Nice shakudo plate. The Kaga school was sponsored by the Maeda family, one of the richest in Japan. The Maeda family was active in supporting the arts and sponsored many artists, hence the arts flourished in the area. The detail and quality of the Kaga school is some of the finest produced in Japan. The highest quality materials were used along with superb artistic execution. Not sure if this fuchi had a kashira or not. It was not uncommon to have a kashira of just horn becoming the fashion for court wear at some point.
F/K #4Mino school Fuchi Kashira of mantis and bell crickets. A very common design of insects amongst autumn flowers / chrysanthemums. Base is done in shakudo with copper using a carving technique called takaniku . Signed Mino ju Mtsunaka. Mid Edo circa 1770?. Click here to see a picture of the Signature. The mei looks to be correct. Mitsunaka was a prolific Mino worker. One of the attributes of higher quality Mino fittings are deeper cuts and higher crisper "walls" within the fitting. There have been attempts to recreate Mino fittings but they are easy to distinguish from the real thing.

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