Tsuba with chikurin shichi kenjin - The seven sages (group of connoisseurs, poets, literati and musicians in the 3rd century in China), here shown in a high relief in front of steep rocks, some of the figures debating over a scroll, the others standing. Either face in copper, the attires and details in gilt, the scroll in silver.
From the collection of Dr. Karl Florenz (1865-1939)
Dr. Karl Florenz was a renowned scholar, university professor and considered a pioneer of German Japanese studies. He resided in Japan from 1888 until the beginning of the First World War and then continued his lectures at the Hamburg Colonial Institute, never returning to Japan again. Famed for having translated several important Japanese books including the Nihongi, Japan’s oldest official history text, he was awarded the Japanese doctor title in literature. His extensive collection was largely destroyed by air strikes in the Second World War (which he himself did not live to witness), however, most tsuba etc. survived in relatively good condition. Dr. Florenz primarily collected tsubas dating to the 18th cent. and quite evidently made an effort to explore a wide range of motifs.