Announcement

Dear Readers, I am leaving for Florence to attend the Katchu symposium at the Stibbert so if you read this, I am probably already on my plane. I am looking very much forward to this meeting, to all the interesting stuff and insights, and of course also to make some new friends 🙂 Upon return, I will continue with the Kantei series by dealing with the Rai smiths in the vicinity of Kunitoshi, the Nakajima-Rai lineage, some of the more unknown Rai smiths, and will then arrive at the Ryokai lineage which goes into Nobukuni. Apart from that, I will start again an Easter eBook Sale in a little. In this sense, emails reponse might be slow and larger translations might have to wait until I am back in office, what will be on March 14th.

Oh, and before I leave. Something funny from a project that is about to be finished. It is one of those episodes that gives us a little understanding of how some of these Edo period masters worked:

Takahashi Kinai (高橋記内, ?-1696) was a tsuba artsist from Echizen Fukui. His first name was Gonbei (権兵衛) and it is recorded that he was skilled in carving the hard iron. It is said that he was openhearted and loved the sake and that he often had to stop working because of his episodes of heavy drinking. Once his daimyō wanted to have the roosters the fief bred depicted on a tsuba and placed an order with Gonbei, loaning him one so that he can study the bird in detail. Kinai let the rooster free in his house and watched it for several days whilst drinking. Well, he eventually ran out of sake doing so and short on money, he decided to sell the precious rooster to buy some more. The lord of the fief heard of this and bought the rooster back and decided that it should be better to lock up Kinai in his house so that the production of the ordered tsuba can finally move forward. Well, when Kinai was checked up on some days later, he was lying there completely drunk. They woke him up and he promised that he will deliver but being locked up in his house with every door and window shut, it is just too dark to make a tsuba he complained. So he asked for permission to open the windows half-way and also asked if he can have the rooster back for studying purposes. This was granted and Kinai eventually delivered a wonderful masterwork…

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