What is Tsubashi in Japanese Katana terminology?

A ""Tsubashi"" (鍔師) is a craftsman who designs and creates the Tsuba, the hand guard of a sword. Initially, practicality was prioritized, and simple patterns were carved out of iron to create what was known as ""Kotoushou Tsuba"" (古刀匠鍔), or iron Tsuba. However, with the advent of the Muromachi period, the Shouami school (正阿弥派) initiated the creation of ""Koshouami"" (古正阿弥), a type of Tsuba with a ground see-through design (地透鐔).

As the Azuchi-Momoyama period came, Tsuba craftsmen such as Umetada Myouju (埋忠明寿), Kaneie, and Nobuie, who were referred to as the ""Three Great Men of Momoyama"" (桃山の三名人), emerged. They started to produce Tsuba with high artistic value. This evolution in Tsuba design and craftsmanship reflects the changing aesthetics and practical needs of different historical periods in Japan.

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