Ishiguro Masayoshi Kozuka
This Kozuka is a fine Ishiguro work by one of the schools' top makers, Ishiguro Masayoshi. He was adopted by the first master Ishiguro Masatsune and became a very succesful artist, even standing out among other Ishiguro masters and teaching numerous students. Many of his works have been designated Juyo and Tokubetsu Juyo Token by the NBTHK.
The Kozuka is interesting as it bears his full signature of Jugakusai Ishiguro Masayoshi, kaō (寿岳斎 石黒政美) and comprises a well-made, Ishiguro-typical Nanako ground. Interestingly, the Nanako here is also set on the side plate and wraps nicely around the corner, a special technical trickery. Additionally, the kozuka is made of high-silver grade shibuichi, an alloy that is harder and thus more difficult to sculpt than shakudo. Therefore, shibuichi nanako as found on this piece is very hard to make and such great execution as present here is rare to find.
The Ishiguro school is famous for its nanako pieces with bird motifs, but also fish and several other animals are frequently found. The displayed fish are in nice condition and very lively in their colorful composition, using a wide range of metals for inlays. The twigs and leafs are excellently carved as well, being astonishingly thin and detailed at the same time. The fish are all differing in techniques used for their design and buildup, making this piece a great showcase of fine machibori inlay work in differing nuances. Especially the fine surface treatment is a sign of great skill as it is done with impeccable detail and gives the natural touch required for convincing animal sculpting.
The piece is of course authenticated by the NBTHK with a Tokubetsu Hozon paper.
Magnificent detail and great surface treatment reaching a very naturalistic appearance.