Late Muromachi to Edo periods


With the advent of Kaneiye real pictures were applied to the iron ground in taka-bori. The ita tsuba are either circular or mokko in shape with a sukekaeshi mimi, very well forged with human figures and landscapes worked in taka-bori and inlaid with brass, gold and silver.

Shodai Kaneiye:

The first Shodai Kaneiye was the original designer and a superb craftsman; his work is generally a large circular tsuba with uchikaeshi mimi in well forged iron like those of the superior armor makers, also with tsuchime. Human figures and so forth are on the surface in taka-bori. The designs are said to have been done by Sesshu, a low ranking priest. He signed Joshu Fushimi (no) ju Kaneiye, sometimes using Yamashiro (no) Kuni instead of Joshu. Furthermore, there are varying amounts of zogan, the design being simple but classical. Some are only engraved on one side with the other being plain with tsuchime.

Nidai Kaneiye:

The second generation Kaneiye's work in comparison is thicker and does not resemble armor maker's work. The shapes are round and mokko, generally with landscapes, human figures, etc., in taka-bori and inlaid with copper, gold and silver and on the reverse are landscapes, wild geese and reeds, landscapes with waterfall etc. At first sight it seems finer work than that of Shodai Kaneiye, but this work cannot be compared with that of the first Shodai which is great and classic. He signed Yamashiro (no) Kuni Fushimi (no) ju Kaneiye.

Other Generations:

Besides the distinctive iron grounds of the above two generations, there are others; much thicker and quite different with designs of nasubi (eggplant) and sotoba (stupa) in sukashi-bori. The signature is quite similar with that of the second Kaneiye but the workmanship is quite different: i.e., with the shodai there were no hitsu-ana, and with the nidai and successive generations there was only one. Those with two hitsu-ana must have had them added later.

Kaneiye (Tetsunin) School:

Kaneiye was a superior artisan whose family died out during the Ashikaga period. Tetsunin was contemporary but his work was not as skilled or comparable. In this period (Edo) there were Kaneiye style tsuba artisans in various areas. As such, when both skill and design were good it formed a piece which no one can imitate. On the contrary, when a piece shows a lack of such skills the work is not worth looking at. The workers of this period cannot be compared to the masters of the early period.



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