Iron Owari School Tsuba Decorated with Four Gourds - NBTHK Hozon Tosogu
Iron gourd sukashi tsuba attributed to Owari School. With NBTHK Hozon Tosogu.
According to NBTHK this tsuba is decorated with "Shihou Hyoutan" motif. This are gourds in four cardinal directions.
Gourds are symbols of happiness and success. Toyotomi Hideyoshi was known to add a gourd to his ensign every time he won a battle, and as a result, the gourd became a symbol of victory.
There are know configuration of gourds that have certain meaning. Like three gourds that represent a well rounded, ideal person. Or six gourds that mean disease free. I was not able to find meaning of four gourds. So my own interpretation would be something to extent of spreading happiness everywhere or winning at everything.
Tsuba is in very good condition for tis age, however patina is rather thin in few places.