Mid Muromachi to Early Momoyama.

Design Characteristics:

Previously the tsuba were simple ita tsuba with rather small sukashi carving. In both shape and design they were very graceful and elegant and many later makers copied them. It may be that the designs were done by a designer and a good smith and artisan was selected to make the tsuba from them; from this period tsuba specialists appear.

Sukashi tsuba of this period are round in shape with a rounded rim and two hitsu ana, somewhat inclined to be lengthy and large. The entire surface with sukashi carving of mon, flowers and grasses. Later the appearance of the shape may vary but the distinctive features such as the rounded rim and large hitsu ana remain. They are very well forged but none are signed.


Momoyama period.

Design Characteristics:

The Heianjo Sukashi tsuba of this period does not reach the heights of the former age and no longer gives the impression of refinement and elegance; the reason is probably due to the civil wars and a large consumption in Kyoto and various other areas leading to crude and careless fabrication everywhere. These medieval sukashi tsuba were of that class. They were not all of inferior quality, some were quite good, especially those from Kyoto and Owari, but we cannot see the characteristics of the Heianjo school amongst them. The tsuba of this period are very thick, the hitsu-ana are broad and shorter, and most of them have a square edge.

Main Varieties:

Ko-Hagi Tsuba - Resembles Heianjo work, but with square edge and both hitsu are more or less oval, the designs are mostly chrysanthemums. They were made in the Sanin area.

Owari Sukashi - Circular or mokko, large and thick, the seppa-dai is thinner than the edge. Kaku-mimi well forged.

Hayashi School of Higo - According to tradition, came out of the Owari school.

Tochibata Tsuba - In Tochibata, in the Owari district Iwami mines, they made tsuba as a sideline. They are sukashi and the peculiarity is their roped edge (nawa-mimi). They are circular or mokko, the design is not clear and we cannot call them good work.


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