This is an interesting tsuba that was attributed to Tosho (刀匠) by the NBTHK in February 2008. This looks to be an old iron tusba, probably from the Muromachi or the Momoyama period 室町時代 – 桃山時代 at the latest. The plate is excellent and there is much tsuchime (槌目). There are also small tekkotsu (鉄骨) in the mimi. These are usual traits of Muromachi and Momoyama period Katchushi (甲冑師) and Tosho (刀匠) work. There is a single hitsu-ana (片櫃仕立 – Kata-hitsu shitate) for a Kozuka ana, which probably contained at one stage, sekigane to protect the kozuka from the iron.
The dimensions are 8.1cm x 8.1cm and 0.3cm thick.
The theme is described as Sankou no Zugura 三光の図柄. This represents ‘three heavenly lights’ the Sun (the main body of the tsuba), The Moon (the large sukashi) and Star (small sukashi at the bottom) are both represented in In-sukashi (陰透). Another possibility is that it may represent the family crest of Tsunagiduki (繋ぎ月). I guess one could argue that if the theme was the crest of the Tsunagiduki, then perhaps the sukashi was ordered to be added by a samurai of this family so as to be proudly displayed when the katana was worn.
Some have suggested this may also be a symbolised crane, with it’s two wings folded up around the seppa dai. I had considered this at one stage but have since discounted that theory.
Thank you for reading.