The KO-SHOAMI School


Late Muromachi to Pre-Edo period, to 1615.

Basic Shape:

Round or oval, a very few are mokko.


Mostly of the koban (oval) shape.


Large and fat, wider than Kyo-Sukashi.


Edges are kakumimi, koniku, sukinokoshi, round, or dote mimi usually.

Design Characteristics:

The major characteristic of Shoami design is abundant movement within symmetry. Includes small perforations, positive silhouette openwork, ubusukashi, with many different subjects being used. The Ko-Shoami openwork tsuba show their expert craftsmanship.

Metal Surface:

Soft iron, delicate to the feeling, or almost hard iron. The temper is often coarse. The web is rich in uneveness and fine contours. Excellent surface treatment.

Interior Surface:

Chiseled or rough filed.


Truly outstanding Shoami open-work guards are limited to Kyoto Shoami, the most valued are the Ko-Shoami from the Muromachi and Momoyama periods. Ko-Shoami guards have a style that falls between those of Kyo-sukashi and Owari.

Ex. Robert Haynes Collection
Very rare unusual sukashi design.
Late Muromachi to Momoyama period.
7.1cm x 7.3cm x 0.4cm.

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