Here´s another of Anthonys gun we opened up last night Pretty sure it´s a sakai-production (but I´m known to have been wrong before). This one had a nicely cut signature. We even managed to remove the bizen on this one. It´s a long gun with four mekugi-ana. 2-3 monme. The karuka is made of iron. Haven´t seen that before on this kind of model.
Anthony, Jan, the Bisen has been opened with some force!
We have just about covered all the top gunsmiths in Osaka in the last 24 hours! Now we have a gun from the Enamiya family, also very famous. There were hundreds of Enamiya smiths. This one is Enamiya Sahei 榎並屋 佐兵 I believe, although the Kanji for Sahei is not easy to read. I have a record of a gun by this smith showing he was on the castle in the island of 因島 In-no-shima at one time. No date given.
The complete Mei probably reads Sesshu-Ju Enamiya Sahei Saku 摂州住 榎並屋 佐兵 作 (Saku = made by) and over on the top right simply 巻張 Makibari which may mean a single twist of steel.
Traditionally Karuka were made of wood because of the danger of sparking, but at the end of Edo (Bakumatsu Period) they must have discovered that you can get better ball range with a tighter fit rammed down hard with a metal ramrod. Probably broke the wooden ones regularly, trying to match the range of Western guns. I would bet the ramrod was a later addition.
Thanks for a bunch of interesting information, Piers. We seems to be in luck regarding good smiths right now. Better stop while we are ahead The Bizen came of very easy. I´m sure a previous owner did all the "hard" work on that one. I agree on the karuta. It looks like a later replacement.
Anthony had a third teppo that he bought from an antique dealer in Amsterdam a couple of years ago. We tried to strip it, but it was absolutely impossible to get the bamboo-pins out. Couldn´t even get the karuta out. Like cement. But it´s a very nice looking gun. Very similar to this one. The dealer told Anthony that it has a signature which reads "Sesshu ju Tanaka Junbei" Don´t know if You heard anything about this smith. I include some pictures. Can ride on the same thread as it´s also a sakai-production. Interesting to hear Your opinion on this one, Piers. Has some very nice decoration on the barrel. I only manage to take a picture a small part of it.
Hmmm... how did the dealer know it was Sesshu-Ju Tanaka Junbei? It sounds as if he subsequently glued the parts back together.
Again another typical decorated Osaka Hosozutsu with beautiful woodwork. If the lips of the serpentine fall naturally around the middle of the pan I would leave it; it is possible that someone has dropped the gun or hit it against something and the serpentine may have taken the force of the shock.
Perhaps the dealer have x-ray vision But was this Tanaka Junbei a smith of any fame? If he was a nobody, we can probably trust the dealer. But was he top of the pops, well then we have to bring out the torch and the tongs...
Hmmm... Of the 55 listed Tanaka smiths for Settsu, the closest sound to Junbei seems to be Tanaka Jirobei. Do you think this could be the one? The next closest in Japanese alphabetical order is Tanaka 十内一久Juuchi Kazuhisa(?) from Tosa. It is possible that this smith is not yet listed in Japan.