Ko Shoami 古正阿弥 tsuba that I would date from the Momoyama Jidai 桃山時代. This is an excellent old tsuba that has wonderful iron and is in great condition. The colour of the Ji is dark, almost verging on black with rich red/purple undertones. The iron is very well forged and shows tsuchime (槌目). There is tapering to the tsuba, being thicker in the centre than at the mimi. The mimi is Koniku-kakumimi (角耳小肉). The tsuba is finished in the Sumiire Kakugata 隅入角形 which means a shape of square with hollowed corners. The size and thinness of this tsuba (2mm) may indicate a slightly earlier piece, possibly from the later part of the Muromachi period. The eccentric styles of hitsuana seen in Muromachi guards disappear in Edo times.The two hitsu-ana (両櫃仕 ryohitsu shi) are an interesting design. The Kozuka hitsu is so small it looks almost unusable or for a very slender kozuka. I would suspect this tsuba was designed for use with a kougai only.The dimensions are 79mm x 78mm x 3mm (seppa dai) 2mm (mimi).
The theme is Kyo-koushi no Zuruga 経格子の図柄. Koushi means lattice. This theme most probably represents wooden grate used as wall coverings known as Kyo-Koushi 経格子. In Kyoto, there still remains today buildings with fine grate windows. Those buildings are called Machiya (町屋/町家) and create unique atmosphere. In the Muromachi era, Ko Shouami tsubako, who were living in Kyoto, found beauty in the Machiya and skillfully copied this in many variations of these tsuba.
The theme has also been noted as a drain cover, In Osaka a complex sewerage system was built around the castle in the Momoyama period and this sort of cover may have been used at that time. Given the sencibilities of the Muromachi and Momoyama jidais, I would suggest the Kyo-Koushi of the Machiya is the more likely design. Either way, it is a pleasant theme and very well executed. The lattice work is fine and very well carved. Finally, the seppa dai has been nicely worked into the lattice design.Thank you for reading.
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