MING DYNASTY (1368–1644)
RESPECTIVE HEIGHTS: 8.6CM, 8.6CM, 5.8CM
RESPECTIVE DEPTHS: 3.5CM, 3.5CM, 6.3CM
The three seals are well-cast and embellished with gilt-splash decoration. The two square seals are each surmounted with a chimera and respectively cast on the base with the characters ‘cong wu suo hao’ 從吾所好 (‘I Follow My Inclinations’, an excerpt taken from the Lunyu 論語 (Analects), 7.2) and ‘ning qing zhi zhang’ 寧親之章, in which the characters ‘ning qing’ 寧親 is the title of various Ming princesses: Ningqin gongzhu 寧親公主. The rectangular seal is surmounted with a three-clawed dragon and is cast on the base with the characters ‘xiang yang’ 向陽 flanked by two phoenixes. Xiang yang 向陽 was the studio name of Fei Yin 費誾, jinshi of the jichou 己丑 year in the Chenghua 成化 era (1470). (Includes Japanese box)
It is suggested the seal set was subsequently brought to Japan at some point and acquired by the Tsugaru clan, hereditary lords of Hirosaki Domain 弘前藩, last used by Tsugaru Yasuchika 津輕寧親 (1765–1833), the ninth generation lord of Hirosaki. Tsugaru Yasuchika in 1791 became the lord of Hirosaki domain, the castle located in present-day Hirosaki (present-day Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture, in northern Honshu- ). This was a wealthy domain, its prosperity based on timber and wood products. In 1825 Yasuchika ceded lordship of Hirosaki to his second son and retired to a life of scholarship, haiku poetry composition and contemplation. He had already named his place of retreat, the Ko- yo- kan 向陽館 (Hall Facing the Sun) years earlier, for in 1812 the Chief Senior Councilor (Ro-ju shuza; 老中首座) of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Matsudaira Sadanobu 松平定信 (1759–1829), inscribed a horizontal plaque with this name for him. The plaque now hangs in the principal’s office of the Hirosaki Elementary School.
Formerly from a Japanese Private Collection Possibly the collection of Tsugaru Yasuchika 津輕寧親 (1765–1833)