Description

Mitsunaka (光仲) of Mino was a Japanese metalworker, mostly known for his sword mounts in the Mino-bori (美濃彫) or "Mino carving" style. The work is usually done in black shakudō with designs of flowers and insects standing out in high relief. Highlights are gilt or silvered. He made mostly fuchi kashira.

 

Fuchi kashira (pommel and ferrrule) in Mino-bori Signed and made by Mino Mitsunaka.

Fuchi kashira (pommel and ferrrule) in Mino-bori
Signed and made by Mino Mitsunaka.

 

He signed Mino ju Mitsunaka (美濃住光仲) on the fuchi, and often, the plate bearing the signature shows peculiar crosshatching.

Mino ju Mitsunaka signature

A fuchi signed:

美濃住光仲
Mino ju Mitsunaka
"Mitsunaka, resident of Mino"

Notice the crosshatched surface, the cuts mare prior to the signature.

 

In the literature

Mitsunaka (光仲) appears in the Haynes Index under 05309.0:

"Mino Province

Circa 1650-1700

Worked in the classic style of the Mino Gotō school, mostly made fuchi kashira (pommels and ferrules) with insects and flower designs. It is said that this is the same artist who signed Mitsunobu (光伸) but that has not been proved."

Sources: 
Robert Haynes; The Index of Japanese Sword Fittings and Associated Artists. Volume 2. Page 1078.
Wakayama Takeshi; Tōsō Kinkō Jiten. Page 174 and Wakayama Takeshi; Tōsō Kodogū Meiji Taikei. Vol III page 130.

 

The Kinkō Meikan lists Mitsunaka as part of the Edo (period) Mino-bori school. He is rated ryoko (良工) or "good artist."

It illustrates two signatures, both signed Mino ju Mitsunaka (美濃住光仲), over a crosshatched background.

Kinko-Meikan-Mitsunaka signatures

 

Source:
Masumoto and Kokubo; Kinkō Meikan. 1974. Pages 490-491.
The Mitsunobu signatures on the next page are indeed remarkably similar, but in this case, the background is not crosshatched.

 

Mino-bori (美濃彫)

According to transmission, the Mino group of metalworkers resided in the village of Kagano in Ōgaki district of Mino since the Nanboku-chō period of 1336 to 1392. It is said that Gotō mainline founder, Gotō Yūjō (1440-1512) was born in Mino and was originally part of this group of metalworkers, hence they are also referred to as Mino-Gotō. The idea of ties with Gotō is strengthened by the mention of ruins of a Gotō family mansion only about 10 kilometers from Kagano, in the town of Gifu, Mino, in 1747.  Some Mino artists, such as Yoshimasa, even signed with the Gotō family name.

The first historical mention of the term Mino-bori is in Michitatsu's Sōken Kishō of 1781, where he believes the term originated by dealers of sword fittings of the time. He also mentions the work is characterized by deeply carved autumn motifs, and names the makers Mitsuaki (光暁) Mitsumasa (光政) and Mitsunobu (光伸).

Signed examples only appear from the Edo period onwards, and activity seems to have seized circa 1700.

Source: 
Markus Sesko; The Japanese toso-kinko Schools. Lulu Publishing, 2012. Pages 47-48.

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me

With NBTHK Hozon papers.

€6500,-

Carved out of copper alloy with details highlighted in gold.

€250,-

Very delicate work with carved guardian lions.

€450,-

Of a copper alloy with a different shade on each side.

€2600,-

Unusual tsuba with foreign figures and Chinese auspicious symbols.

€1800,-

Pierced and chiseled showing an 18th century European vessel.

€475,-