[Unidentified Awa Shōami school craftsperson].
[Japan: workshop unidentified, ca. late Edo period (18th to mid-19th century)].
A stunning iron tsuba (sword guard) for a katana sword, forged in the late Edo to early Meiji period and decorated with golden books using traditional nunome-zōgan cloth-weave inlay techniques. The tsuba comes with a ninteisho certificate produced by the Nihon Bijutsu Tōken Hozon Kyōkai (The Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords) in Shōwa 42 (1967). The tsuba is unsigned but attributed in the ninteisho to the noted Awa Shōami school of tsuba craftspeople, widely recognised for their masterful inlay work. The holes on either side of the central nakago-ana hole, namely the oval hole for a kōgai skewer and the cloud-shaped hole for a small kozuka knife, have been filled in; this is a practice common amongst samurai who did not own or use such items. Both fukurotoji envelope-bound books and orihon concertina-bound books are depicted in the inlay.
One round marugata tsuba with fukurin rim. Occasional chips and nicks to inlay, mainly to underside. Housed in non-original custom Paulownia wood box. Diameter 8.1 cm.