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Small Ko-katchushi Iron Tsuba with Sukashi Decoration of a Conch Shell

Small Ko-katchushi Iron Tsuba with Sukashi Decoration of a Conch Shell

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Swords and Related: Pre 1700: Item # 1333826
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An armorer's iron tsuba, possibly for a wakizashi as it is somewhat diminuitive in size. Or perhaps more in keeping with its apparent age, an early example of a proportionately small tsuba used with an uchigatana as was first the fashion. Sukashi decoration of a conch (horagai) traditionally used for ritual practices and for signaling on the battlefield. The rare uchikaeshi-hineri rim (mimi) is significantly raised and defined almost as if to suggest a separate piece of iron around the rim (though it is one with the plate.) Though the small sukashi might suggest tosho (swordsmith), the distinct and high rim clearly indicates ko-katchushi (old armorers) work. Good condition with tekkotsu, dark patina and some inert, brown surface rust for which we are lightly applying oil when dry (we prefer not to overclean or dry out a tsuba so will not take some of the more invasive measures against only light rust.) This tsuba has an early feel - perhaps early Muromachi. 2 3/4" (7 cm) marugata. The thickness of the plate is about 1/8" (.32 cm). The thickness at the rim is about 1/4" (.63 cm)