This is a modern tsuba made by Ford Hallam. Mr. Hallam is a highly regarded artist. He has won awards for his work in competitions held by both the NBTHK and NBSK. His background and accomplishments are detailed on his web site as well as an archive of his work. Please visit this link to lean more about Mr. Hallam. Mr. Hallam's mei is "Fo oo do". This means "walking in the heavenly/kingly road" and is the go given to Mr. Hallam by his teacher, Izumi Koshiro.
This is an iron tsuba done in the nozarashi theme. "Nozarashi" means "exposed in a field" as are the bones and skull shown on the omote of this guard. The ura displays the famous haiku "Summer Grasses" by Matsuo Bassho (1644-1694). It reads,"Summer grasses, all that remains of warriors' dreams". The use of this haiku with the nozarashi theme is ideal and the sentiment of the work is quite powerful.
The iron of this tsuba is highly refined. Combined with the luster of the patina, one may wonder if this is kinko at first glance. The takabori is bold and charming. The gold inlay work on the ura is perfectly inset. Details such as the uchikaeshi-mimi and hammer work on the omote create a harmony in the overall aesthetic. One can observe the influence of Kaneie, Umetada Myoju, and Goto Ichijo in this work. This comes with a custom tailored box with a white fitted bag. There is also a hako-gaki by Ford Hallam on the inner lid. An exciting opportunity to own a top level example of modern tsuba-ko.