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Tsuba

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1850 (made)

  • Museum number:

    M.31-1919

  • Gallery location:

    Japan, Room 45, The Toshiba Gallery, case 1

The tsuba is a protective guard fitted between the hilt and the blade of a sword. Originally they were simple iron disks, sometimes decorated by piercing or hammering in low relief. Later sword guards were more often made of copper alloys, patinated to a wide range of colours and inlaid with other coloured metals. Sword guards became miniature art forms, and different schools of makers developed their own unique styles.

Physical description

Hand-guard (tsuba) for a sword, iron inlaid with silver, copper and copper-gold alloy (shakudo) and engraved depicting flowers of the four seasons. Signed Zaiya.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)

Date

ca. 1850 (made)

Marks and inscriptions

Signed Zaiya

Dimensions

Height: 8.38 cm approx., Width: 8 cm approx.

Descriptive line

Hand-guard (tsuba) for a sword, iron inlaid with silver, copper and copper-gold alloy (shakudo) and engraved depicting flowers of the four seasons, signed Zaiya, Shonai school, Japan, ca. 1850.

Labels and date

The tsuba is a protective guard fitted between the hilt and the blade of a sword. Originally they were simple iron disks, sometimes decorated by piercing or hammering in low relief. Later sword guards were more often made of copper alloys, patinated to a wide range of colours and inlaid with other coloured metals. Sword guards became miniature art forms, and different schools of makers developed their own unique styles. [04/11/2015]

Materials

Silver; Copper; Copper

Techniques

Inlay; Engraving

Subjects depicted

Plum blossom; Maple leaf; Chrysanthemum; Cherry blossom

Categories

Arms & Armour

Collection

East Asia Collection

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