This is a very fine example of what is commonly called a “Christian tsuba”. It is an iron tsuba made in the shape of a Latin cross within a solid roundish mimi. The iron surface shows evidence of folding and both hitsu-ana are plugged with lead. The shape of the cross is just stylized enough to qualify as being classified as a “hidden Christian tsuba”. These types of tsuba were worn surreptitiously by Samurai who remained secret adherents to the Christian faith after the edicts banning the following of this religion were passed in the late 1500’s.
This tsuba has a Kanayama style feel to it and it contains some strong tekkotsu (bones) on the mimi (rim). It is large measuring 3 3/16 inches or 8.1 cm by 3 1/16 inches or 7.7 cm. It comes in very high quality custom fitted wooden box. It is illustrated in the 2008 exhibition catalog of the 4th international convention of the Kokusai Tosogu Kai held in Toronto, Canada.