In Torigoye’s Tsuba Kanshoki (1st Edition) there is a very similar tsuba. The theme is described as Jôge Inome Ko Sukashi 上下猪目小透 (up and down boars eye small sukashi). This explains the boars eye design, but offers nothing about the two large openings which are very similar indeed. In both the tsuba above, and the guard in Tsuba Kanshoki there is a single notch carved for a Kogai in the kogai histuana. In both tsuba, the iron, the design and the age are almost a prefect match. I think this tsuba represents beauty in simplicity. Sometimes I feel that we in the west are always looking for answers, to try and unravel every secret a thing may have to offer when in truth, there may be nothing, nothing more than a simple shape, a pleasing design and the feeling of nothing more than a natural thing.
Personally, I find the study of Tosogu far more difficult than Nihonto. Partially because there is far less written information available on fittings than swords, but also, more so in fittings than swords, art resides. Because of this fact, and if we add man’s fascination with the abstract, the viewers own interpretations of art and the difference between cultures, the art of tosogu can be as difficult a subject as any I have encountered. It is one I love dearly and fear I will spend a lifetime on, only to realise I do not understand any of it at all.
I have heard it said, such is life.
Note: In regards to the Uchikaeshi-mimi, in Tsuba Kanshoki Torigoye uses the expression Okezoko mimi 桶底耳. I believe this is another way of describing a Uchikaeshi-mimi. Okezoko refers to the recess in bottom of a tub.