Paul Binnie

Scottish, b. 1967

The Swordsmith

oil on canvas; signed at lower left BINNIE with artist's date seal 98, annotated by the artist in ink on the verso canvas, Paul Binnie No SERIES #31 1998 "KOKAJI" 16 x 12 40.5 BY 30.5 cm Paul Binnie; and on the stretcher, PAUL BINNIE 1998, with title in kanji, 小鍛冶, and English, KOKAJI, No SERIES #31, 1998

painting 16 by 12 in., 40.5 by 30.5 cm
frame 24 1/2 by 20 1/8 in., 61.5 by 51.2 cm

In the play Kokaji, Sanjo no Kokaji Munechika, a renowned swordsmith, has been ordered to forge a sword. Munechika insists that he lacks a partner swordsmith with sufficient skill to help him in the task, but his protestations fall on deaf ears. He then visits the Inari Shrine and prays for assistance. The deity of Inari, transformed into the spirit of a fox, later appears at Munechika’s home and offers to be his smithing partner. Together, they successfully forge a sword called Kogitsune-maru. It is engraved with the name Kokaji Munechika on its face and Kogitsune (Little Fox) on the back of the blade as proof that the deity had apprenticed himself to Munechika. While the golden mask is the center point of the painting, Binnie takes pains to also capture the texture of costume’s fabric.


(inv. no. C-3454)

price: $5,000


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site last updated
May 25, 2023

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475