Mumei (unsigned): Katchūshi School
Size: 8,40 cm x 8,30 cm
Thickness at rim: 0,40 cm
Period: End of Muromachi
N.B.T.H.K. Hozon Tōsōgu Certification
In Kiri box
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Here we have an old Katchūshi (甲冑師) tsuba with openwork showing kozane lamellae. Round shape, iron with hammer blow finish, negative openwork.
In the history of Art we can always observe that artworks reflect the culture and values of the society that lay behind them at the time. So it was for Katchūshi tsuba: they were made to go the battlefield and they reflected the typical aesthetic of that period influenced by wabi-sabi culture.
Among the tsuba in existence today, the tsuba made by Katchūshi (armor smiths) are one of the two oldest types, along with those made by Tōshō (swordsmiths).
Generally, tsuba that are made with good metal, with raised rims or relatively complex designs tend to be assigned to Katchūshi. This category describes tsuba that have somewhat more complex mon sukashi motifs and often have various styles of raised rims created through controlled hammer work. These have probably been attributed as the work of Katchūshi because of the open work designs sometimes seen on the menpō (face mask) of Japanese armors, and because the techniques used to produce the raised rims appear related to those used in making armors, but since there is not even one of this type of tsuba with a mei, the makers and their places of residence and such cannot be clearly discerned.
The period is estimated from extant tsuba, and is thought to be from the end of the Kamakura period until around the Momoyama period. Now then, this type of tsuba continued to be made even later, and the type of tsuba which gradually became gaudy seem to have been made at a later date.