Fuchi-kashira mumei Shonai Mukade-zu (motif of centipede)
Mukade or centipede has been said to be a familiar of Vaisravana, guardian god of Buddhism. The aggression, look of not going backward and its fertility has been admired by samurai warriors, and the motif of centipede has been used for sword fittings and hatasashi-mono (battle flags).
Also, centipede has been worshipped by merchants and performers, for it has a lot of legs (legs meant money in modern Japanese language) and it will bring the luck with money and prosperity.
Shonai (庄内) is a southern coastal area of Dewa Province, and formerly the area was called as Ōizumi-no-sho or Shonai (荘内) for short. It was governed by Sakai family of Shonai Domain in the Edo period, and flourished as a castle town. The metalcrafts have prospered in the area, such as schools of Washida, Watanabe, Katsurano and Suzuki. They mainly used styles of Shoami or Nara schools, and it is also renowned for a master metalsmith Yasuchika, who was from Shonai area.
This fuchi-kashira used suaka ishime-ji (stone-patterned copper) for the base, and depicted a centipede with takabori-zogan of shakudo (alloy of copper and gold) for its body and golden inlaying for its eyes, hairs and tail. The entire impression of the work is softened by designing the face of fierce centipede rather humorously.
A fine piece of work with some taste of Nara school.
- Late Edo period
- Dewa Province
- Suaka ishime-ji takabori zogan iroe
- Hozon Tosogu
- 34.1 mm
- 38.1 mm
- Height of fuchinokoshi
- 9.2 mm