Certification: NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon
貞中 is sometimes
listed under the Tsunenao
常直 name. Indeed, their are pieces incorporating both names on a
single piece. When listed as Sadanaka, the family name Iwamoto 岩本
is given, with Banryūken 蟠龍軒 given as his art
name. Kyūbei 久兵衛 is the art name associated
with a Tsunenao signature. The Sadanaka and Tsunenao signatures
both use different kao. He was
the chief apprentice of Ichinomiya Nagatsune, the school
founder and one of the
preeminent Kyoto machibori (town carver) of his time. Nagatsune is considered the
Western counterpart to Somin, of Edo, the
Eastern machibori master. Sadanaka is listed as being a
jojosaku, or joko
artist, an "excellent" artisan (noted as AA in the "Kinko Meikan" translation).
The theme of rabbits (hare) in the waves is
fairly common in Japanese art, a theme quite popular in the Momoyama
(~1573-1615) and early
Edo periods. This version of the tale appears to have evolved from a
version of the story from
the "Kojiki" ("Record
of Ancient Matters",
oldest extant chronicle) called the "White
Rabbit of Inaba" (Inaba no Shirousagi).
In this story, in part, a rabbit tricks the sharks/crocodiles into letting him
across their backs, allowing him to cross the sea from the Oki Islands to
Cape Kita in Inaba, on
the main island. This story is referenced in a Noh play called
'Chikubujima' 竹生島, which can also be read
in which one chant paints a surreal picture, roughly translated as, "While the
moon floats over the water, a rabbit [the "Moon Rabbit"] runs over the waves...
what interesting island [lake] scenery"1.
In the Noh play the local is on Lake Biwa, and the island is Chikubu
Island with its shrine, Chikubu Benzai-ten.
rabbit of this story has evidently evolved into several related iterations,
usually depicting from two (male and female, usually represented by different
colors), to many rabbits, hopping among
many times in the presence of the moon. Another fanciful notion relating to the rabbit and wave theme says
that 'female rabbits will conceive while running over the waves, in the light of
the moon, on the 18th day
of August.' It would appear that the theme of this kozuka, having apparently male and female
rabbits, incorporates the fertility aspect into the tale.
Shibuichi ground metal with fine and even
nanako. Gold and
shakudo decoration with very fine details.