We are pleased to offer this very large and beautiful Saotome school tsuba. The Saotome school is one of the major armor making schools in Japanese history. They also made tsuba with this distinctive pattern. Our judgement is that this tsuba dates to the late Muromachi Era of the 16th century or the early Edo period of the 17th century.
The tsuba is slightly oval and quite large measuring 3 11/16 inches by 3 1/8 inches. It is made of iron and is comprised of 64 individual ribs that have each been painstakingly carved from a single forged iron plate and brazed onto the outside scalloped mimi (rim). The workmanship and skill that it took to create this is amazing.
The overall condition of the tsuba is excellent with all of the ribs intact with none missing or broken. There is one kozuka ana. The patina of the iron has been allowed to age naturally and there is no active rust or other problems. This would be a great addition to any collection.