Mumei (unsigned): Katchūshi
Size: 9,0 cm x 8,5 cm
Thickness at rim: 0,6 cm
Period: Late Muromachi
N.B.T.H.K. Hozon Certification
In Kiri box
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Tsuba with sea cucumber openwork to the left and right.
Lobed shape, iron, surface texture of petals and radiating file marks, to the left and right large sea cucumber openwork with inside a gold trimming, bottom-of-bucket style rim.
Here we have an old Katchūshi (甲冑師) tsuba. As in every period, also the tsuba reflect the culture and values of the society that is behind at that time, these tsuba were made to go to the battlefield, and reflected the typical aesthetic of that period influenced by Wabi-Sabi culture.
Among the tsuba in existence today, the oldest ones are the two types, those made by Katchūshi (armor smiths) and those made by Tōshō (swordsmiths).
Generally tsuba who 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 armor, and because the techniques used to produce the raised rims appear related to those used in forming armor, but since there is not a single 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 Jidai until around the Momoyama Jidai. Now then, this type of tsuba continued to be made even later, and the type of tsuba which gradually became more showy seem to have been made at a latter date.