The single hitsu-ana (片櫃仕立 – Kata-hitsu shitate) is quite large for the tsuba which is interesting, obviously allowing for a larger than normal kozuka. It is lined with a shakudô sekigane 赤銅責金, then filled with shakudô ume 赤銅埋.
Interestingly, the plate looks quite similar to old Kamakurabori iron in that it is a little rough. Some believe that nunome could be in some cases, a later addition but I think that to add nunome to a plate with rust and patina would not work due to the fact that nunome needs to have sharp, clean crosshatching in the plate to make is stick and would require the area to be well cleaned before application. There would I think be areas showing this cleaning surrounding the nunome and there is no such visible sign here. I can then assume this nunome is original to the tsuba. It is possible that the tsuba was made by one artist, and then sent to another shop for finishing. Generally though, old tsuba with nunome get attributed to Shôami. I wonder if this could be some sort of transitional piece.
The theme is Kiku no Zuruga 菊の図柄. The design of the Kiku is accentuated with gold nunome 金布目 petals. Nunome in old tsuba does not usually last, but the Shoami group are renowned for the best quality nunome of their time and it usually lasts the longest of all the tsuba groups using this technique. This particular Kiku or Chrysanthemum has 16 petals. The significance of 16 petals relates to a connection with the Emperor. The royal crest is a traditional 16 petal chrysanthemum design and was used in many aspects of tosôgu.
The dimensions are 81mm x 78mm x 2mm .
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