|period||Edo (ca. 1800)|
|designation||NBTHK Hozon Tosogu Menuki|
|measurements||3.1 x 1.9 cm, 3.5 x 2.0 cm|
Hamano Shozui (政随, which can be read as Masayuki) was born in 1696 and died in 1769. He is an elite maker of sword fittings and ranked very highly at Meiko in the Kinko Taikan. He is the founder of the Hamano school.
Hamano Shōzui (浜野政隋) was a master student of Nara Toshinaga (奈良利寿). His first name was Tarōbei (太郎兵 衛) and he trained many students himself, turning the Hamano School into one of the major currents of the machibori trend. Shōzui used many different gō, for example Otsuryūken (⼄柳軒), Miboku (味墨), Kankei (閑径), Rifūdō (驪⾵ 堂), Yūkotei (遊壷亭), Shūhōsai (穐峰斎), Hankeishi (半圭⼦), and Isshun'an (⼀瞬庵). Shōzui became very famous when the Edo Kinkō Meifu (江⼾⾦⼯名譜) introduced him as "hitting the scene like thunder" and turning the Nara Sansaku (奈良三作), the “Three Great Nara Masters,” by adding Shōzui to the Nara Shitennō (奈良四天王), "The Nara Big Four." His talent was and is greatly appreciated and he was exceptionally skillful in bold takanikubori, sukidashibori, shishiaibori, and katakiriboro. NBTHK Juyo Nado Zufu
Shozui began his artistic period in the Nara school, as a student under one of the Nara Sansaku (three great gold-workers of Nara), Nara Toshinaga and would go on to found the Hamano school. Due to his greatness this set of three masters (Toshinaga, Yasuchika and Joi) is sometimes extended to a quartet including Shozui.
Hamano Masayuki [i.e. Shozui] was Nara Toshinaga's pupil, a famous master smith, and his works are considered to be at the same level as the Nara sansaku (the three best master smiths), Toshinaga, Joi and Yasuchika. His styles are diverse, and he inherited his teacher Toshinaga's style and took the essence of Joi and Yasuchika's work. His dynamic engraving styles, taka-nikubori, sukidashibori, and shishiaibori, show excellent skills. NBTHK Token Bijutsu
The Hamano school thrived in the Edo period and produced a large number of works that relate both to its founding in Nara and to the contemporaneous Yokoya school. Other great artists of this school are Noriyuki, Naoyuki, Iawama Masatoshi, and Horie Okinari.
His school was very capable of keeping up with the Yokoya school in terms of number of students and influence on the machibori movement. Simply spoken, he combined the styles of the Yokoya and the Nara school with the interpretations of Sugiura Jōi, that means he worked in takabori-iroe and in zōgan but with larger-sized motifs than those use by the Nara school, enriched with usunikubori and shishiaibori. And regarding his selection of motifs, he chose various historical, epic, worldly and figurative subjects, as well as a broad variety of plants and animals. Markus Sesko, Kinko Kodogu
Hamano Noriyuki (浜野矩随) represents two generations with very similar work styles. The first generation is not so much seen and was a student of Hamano Shozui. His personal name was Someno Chugoro and he was born in 1736 and died in 1787 at 52 years old. He is said to have taken on the craftsman name Noriyuki very early, somewhere around 16 years old. The second generation is his son, and was known as Matsujiro, and born in 1771. He began working at the age of 14 and was only 15 years old when his father died and his mother is supposed to have committed suicide before this.
The second generation is said to have trained under Shozui as well in 1784. Probably this is not the school founder as at that time the first Shozui had died. At age 17 his first signature was Masakata (政方), obtaining the Masa character from Shozui, and after the death of his father he studied under his father's student Asama Nagayuki and at this point he changed his name to Norinobu (矩施). He became independent at age 23 he took over his father's name Noriyuki two years later. He used several different Go, one of which is Shojuken (松寿軒) which is a humorous poke at his own longevity. As far as I can tell, the characters loosely mean
as old as a pine tree.
The style of the two Noriyuki shows much influence from Nara Toshinaga, who was the teacher of the first generation Shozui, along with influence from Sugiura Joi. This gave Noriyuki a unique and identifiable style among the Hamano smiths. The second generation is said to have tended more to the Hamano style, however he is also noted as being highly influenced by Joi.
The main line of the Hamano school descends from Shozui, to Kaneyuki (2nd) who was a peer to the first Noriyuki. From here it goes to Nobuyuki (3rd), Masanobu (4th), Masayoshi (5th) and then shifts over to the second generation Noriyuki. Noriyuki prospered greatly and had many excellent students. He died at 82 years old in 1852.
Both generations of Noriyuki have been targeted by forgers and we can take this to mean that they have been held in high regard for a long time. This is seen in the Kinko Meikan as the first generation is ranked Meiko (second to highest possible) and the second generation Ryoko (third to highest). In spite of their fame and high level of skill, work of either smith is rather difficult to find today.
Hozon Hamano Noriyuki Menuki
These menuki were originally found with tanzaku-mei (signature on attached plates), on the back of Omori Eisho who was the founder of the Omori school. I originally submitted with these in place and the NBTHK rejected them. So they have been carefully removed and still accompany the menuki separately. On re-submission to the NBTHK, they attributed these menuki to den Hamano Noriyuki which is meant to cover the first and second generations of Noriyuki. I've attached a photo to the left of the original mounting of the mei.
The theme of this set is derived from Sangokushi Engi which is the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
The story – part historical, part legend, and part mythical – romanticizes and dramatizes the lives of feudal lords and their retainers, who tried to replace the dwindling Han dynasty or restore it. While the novel follows hundreds of characters, the focus is mainly on the three power blocs that emerged from the remnants of the Han dynasty, and would eventually form the three states of Cao Wei, Shu Han, and Eastern Wu. The novel deals with the plots, personal and military battles, intrigues, and struggles of these states to achieve dominance for almost 100 years.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms is acclaimed as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature; it has a total of 800,000 words and nearly a thousand dramatic characters (mostly historical) in 120 chapters. The novel is among the most beloved works of literature in East Asia, and its literary influence in the region has been compared to that of the works of Shakespeare on English literature. It is arguably the most widely read historical novel in late imperial and modern China. Herbert Giles stated that among the Chinese themselves, this is regarded as the greatest of all their novels. Wikipedia
The two characters depicted here are Zhang Fei (張飛) and Guan Yu (関羽).
Guan Yu is known for his long beard and is on the brown horse. Zhang Fei was written about as having large round wild eyes and that his face looked like a tiger.
Guan Yu died January or February 220), courtesy name Yunchang, was a military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. Along with Zhang Fei, he shared a brotherly relationship with Liu Bei and accompanied him on most of his early exploits. Guan Yu played a significant role in the events leading up to the end of the Han dynasty and the establishment of Liu Bei's state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period. While he is remembered for his loyalty towards Liu Bei, he is also known for repaying Cao Cao's kindness by slaying Yan Liang, a general under Cao Cao's rival Yuan Shao, at the Battle of Boma. After Liu Bei gained control of Yi Province in 214, Guan Yu remained in Jing Province to govern and defend the area for about seven years. In 219, while he was away fighting Cao Cao's forces at the Battle of Fancheng, Liu Bei's ally Sun Quan broke the Sun–Liu alliance and sent his general Lü Meng to conquer Liu Bei's territories in Jing Province. By the time Guan Yu found out about the loss of Jing Province after his defeat at Fancheng, it was too late. He was subsequently captured in an ambush by Sun Quan's forces and executed.
Guan Yu's life was lionised and his achievements glorified to such an extent after his death that he was deified during the Sui dynasty. Through generations of story telling, culminating in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, his deeds and moral qualities have been given immense emphasis, making Guan Yu one of East Asia's most popular paradigms of loyalty and righteousness. He is still worshipped by many Chinese people today. In religious devotion he is reverentially called the "Emperor Guan" (Guān Dì) or "Lord Guan" (Guān Gōng). He is a deity worshipped in Chinese folk religion, popular Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism, and small shrines to him are almost ubiquitous in traditional Chinese shops and restaurants. His hometown Yuncheng has also named its airport after him.
Zhang Fei (About this soundpronunciation (help·info)) (died July or August 221 AD), courtesy name Yide, was a military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han dynasty and early Three Kingdoms period of China. Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, who were among the earliest to join Liu Bei, shared a brotherly relationship with their lord and accompanied him on most of his early exploits. Zhang Fei fought in various battles on Liu Bei's side, including the Red Cliffs campaign (208–209), takeover of Yi Province (212–214), and Hanzhong Campaign (217–218). He was assassinated by his subordinates in 221 after serving for only a few months in the state of Shu Han, which was founded by Liu Bei earlier that year.
Zhang Fei is one of the major characters in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which dramatises and romanticises the events before and during the Three Kingdoms period. In the novel, Zhang Fei became sworn brothers with Liu Bei and Guan Yu in the fictional Oath of the Peach Garden at the start of the novel and remained faithful to their oath until his death. Wikipedia
Both of these characters have considerably long histories which I'll leave it to the reader to explore more (follow the Wikipedia links above).
In terms of construction these menuki show very high skill with a lot of personality in the faces of the men and horses. There is a lot of detail of mixed materials, using shakudo, suaka, gold and silver. They are really charming and enjoyable works. I only submitted these to Hozon as I usually submit to get an attribution and save a bit of money vs. going to Tokubetsu Hozon.