Kamakura to Edo age.

Basic Shape:

The earliest and most common shape is circular. In later development, rounded square, mokko and other shapes are found.


There are no known examples of signed kagamishi tsuba. Although a few of the mirrors of the Muromachi age bear signatures, there seems to be no evidence to indicate which mirror maker might also have made tsuba.


A variety of sizes are common, though the larger sizes are rare.


1 millimeter to 3 millimeters.


Most are round or dote mimi, sometimes with carving on the mimi (kosuki tagane).

Design Characteristics:

The designs in most cases are very similiar to those used on the old mirrors. The subjects are bold in feeling and strong in arrangement. Some pieces have stamped designs or surface carving.


There are two distinct styles of kagamishi tsuba. One used geometric figures and other designs common to those found on the old mirrors. The alternate style has representational designs of landscapes with flowers, birds, animals, and human figures. These designs have a classical feeling that is both naive and noble in concept.description

Plate Metal:

Mostly bronze, but a few are yamagane or shinchu. The base plate in many cases is of superior quality despite its being made of cast metal. The combination of the base metal and the design is very pleasing, showing the same qualities found in the Kamakura tsuba as applied to work in soft metal.


The Kagamishi were mirror makers in the period before the Edo age. In the best kagamishi tsuba the shape, ground, thickness, and niku dori (quality of metal) are very good and show remarkable skill.

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