The tsubas dimensions are 80mm x 80mm. The thickness at the centre is 3.5mm and at the mimi, 2.5mm. This is quite thin for Ko Shôami work. Most Momoyama period pieces are on average 3.5 – 4.5mm thick. I have owned and seen thinner works that have been attributed to the late Muromachi period. I still feel this work is Momoyama period work, however nothing is ever set in stone when it comes to tsuba. Opinions and ideas are forever being reassessed.
The design is described by the NBTHK as Kiku sukashi 菊地透鍔, There are however other elements here that bare more examination. There are two matsukawa kamon 中陰松皮家紋 or double lozenge mon at 12 and 6 o’clock. The rest of the sukashi is made up of what appears to be leaves. The actual leaves of the chrysanthemum plant however are a distinct shape and these appear quite tubular. Perhaps the shapes represented here are clouds or something else.
If you have an opinion, I would love to hear it.
The NBTHK attested to the quality of this tsuba by awarding it Tokubetsu Hozon. In much of the tosogu collecting world, as with swords, size seems to be an issue, as in the bigger the better. I think though that size may overshadow quality in many instances and it is quality first we should be studying, not dimensions. The fact that this tsuba received Tokuho means it is first rate work, regardless of it’s majesty.
Thank you for reading.