More Kyo Sukashi Tsuba

Kyo sukashi tsuba, mumei, late Muromachi

8.5 cm H x 8.4 cm W x 0.45 cm T

Strong iron with a well-hammered surface

Maru gata

Kaku mimi ko niku

Design of ken and birds. A nice, varied texture and a purple patina. Some of the early Kyo work is strong and bold enough to make you think of Owari guards. This example has an unusually wide seppa dai and hitsu ana for Kyo. The Kyoto area artists generally worked in softer iron. Ex. AZ Freeman collection.  NTHK Kanteisho to Kyo sukashi, 75 points.

Kyo sukashi tsuba, mumei, late Muromachi

8.5 cm H x 8.6 cm W x 0.50 cm T

Dense iron with a velvet texture

Maru gata

Kaku mimi with very slight niku

This is another guard that looks like an Owari design, but has the softer, homogenous iron of Kyoto. This is a very well worked plate showing no flaws. The edges of the sukashi are rounded over slightly. The design is of birds.  Recent archaeological excavation shows evidence of Mino and Seto pottery styles being produced in the kilns of Kyoto at around this time.  It appears that local production of goods that had been imported from outside the region became popular in the late Muromachi and Momoyama periods.   NTHK kanteisho to Owari, 80 points.

Kyo / Shoami (?) tsuba, mumei late Muromachi

8.1 cm H x 8.0 cm W x 0.5 cm T

Iron with fine hammer work and light surface carving on the kiri (paulownia)

Maru gata

Maru mimi with subdued tekkotsu

Design of plum blossom, paulownia, birds, brackens and matsukawabishi (triple diamonds).

This example is rather busy, but is of good iron with a purple color. The walls of the sukashi and the rim are thicker than normal for Kyo, creating a more robust feeling. There is also some bevel to the walls in places. While I've left this in the Kyo Sukashi section, the work is much different from the above examples. It may be Shoami. The maru mimi seems somewhat like Akasaka. I wonder if the top of the seppa dai has been altered to accommodate a certain koshirae at some point, or if the asymmetry was intended by the maker. Pieces like this are difficult to fit into the kantei system.

Kyo Sukashi Tsuba, mumei, early Edo

8.0 cm H x 7.8 cm W x 0.5 cm T

Iron with polished surface and kebori

Maru gata

Kaku mimi

Design of ginkgo leaves, birds and tansu handles (?). The Edo kyo sukashi tsuba are often done in a symmetrical style with an emphasis on stable, circular forms. The patina is good, but the tsuba lacks the quality of the earlier work. The ginkgo is a symbol of samurai loyalty.

Kyo Sukashi/Daigoro Tsuba, mumei, ca. late Edo

8.4 cm H x 8.4 cm W x 0.6 cm T


Irregular outline following tree design

Kaku mimi

The sukashi design is of a weeping cherry tree, or may be of a willow tree with cherry blossoms from the legend Yanagi. The iron is very good quality and the design is well cut, but it appears to be fairly late work. Many pieces with similar dense overall sukashi designs are attributed to the so-called Daigoro group.  This may be an earlier work that was over cleaned at some point.

Copyright 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003 Jim Gilbert

Back to the Tsuba home page