"Aizu Shoami tsuba mostly have an iron ji, and kinko works are very rare. The shinmaru gata (true circle) shape is encountered regularly. Most round tsuba are a bit taller than they are wide as is the case here. Both hitsu-ana are often shaped like kogai-hitsu as opposed to the standard kozuka kogai configuration. A motif showing a person or thematic object with a natural landscape in the background is common. Motifs such as the Chinese subject shown here, are often seen. The bottom right section will contain the main design carved in takabori and/or detailed with nunome or inlay work, while the upper left section area is carved with comparatively less detail - moresoft and suggestive. This effect implies visual distance, draws our eye to the main section of the work and gives the illusion of depth to the overall design. It is common to see some details in gold nunome as with all Shoami works. Also, often small design elements such as foliage, branches, etc. are inlaid in gold. Sukashi work executed on the entire tsuba is rare to non-existant with the exception of the 'cloud' motif favored by Shigenobu. Some makers liked to use small sections of sukashi as a design element, but it is normally a secondary embellishment to the main theme of the work. Iron ji can be encountered in several varieties. One is a thick plate with a dark brown patina and strong variations in the surface, having a rough appearance. This type of ji is often highly tempered and will show abundant hard martensite crystals on the surface. A second type is a more polished ji with a chocolate brown patina.
This iron tsuba with good inlay work of Chinese subjects dates to ca. 1750. It is a design of classic nobility, satisfying in every detail." (Long)
6.90cm x 7.35cm x 0.40cm