Late Edo Iron Tsuba Decorated with Chinese Man and Child
Iron tsuba decorated with Chinese man and child. Usually waterfall and pair of man and child looking at it would be a depiction of Ri Haku (Li Bai), who was a Chinese poet. However on this tsuba he is not looking at the waterfall but up high in to the mountains, possibly looking for the moon visible on the other side of the tsuba. And Li Bai famous poem is about waterfall in the sun:
"Sunlight illuminates Incense Burner Peak, kindling violet smoke; from afar, a waterfall hangs before the river. Water flies straight down three thousand feet— Has the silver stream of our galaxy plunged from highest heaven?"
So it might be someone else than Ri Haku or it is Ri Haku and artist wanted to play a bit with the theme. And when we see a man looking at the moon first thing that comes to mind is Kaneie tsuba with a man so focused on his work that he missed the sunset and in response to that a series of Yasuchika tsuba with a man who missed the sunset but than got mesmerised by the beauty of the night.
I do not know who is shown on this tsuba but If we assume that it is Li Bai than this piece can be open to so many different interpretations.
Made of iron with silver, shakudo, gold and copper inlay.