Kozuka Signed "Hirochika" with Kao - Tokubetsu Hozon Tosogu
Kinko kozuka signed "Hirochika" with Kao. This kozuka received Tokubetsu Hozon Tosogu from NBTHK. Maine theme of this kozuka is Ardisia Crenata commonly called Coral Bush.
It was made by Hirochika who was active around 1825. He was part of Kondo family and member of Uchikoshi School from Mito Province. He was a student of Uchikoshi Hirotoshi.
It is made of shibuichi, alloy of copper and silver. Surface of the kozuka is decorated with Ishime-Ji (reassembles the surface of the stone). Back decorated with matsukawa yasurime, made to reassemble pine bark.
Carvings are made with sukidashi bori technique. This means that large parts of the material was removed with chisels or hammered away. And what remained was shaped with finer chisels. In other words Coral Bush was not inlaid, shibuichi around It was removed to create picture that we see.
What is most uncommon about this kozuka is the use of stone/coral to make berries on the plant. While this method was not often used to make sword fittings in Japan in this case it was very clever to apply it for "Coral Bush" kozuka. I simply love the effect that was achieved.