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Tsuba

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1800-1850 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    copper-silver alloy (<i>shibuichi</i>) inlaid with copper-gold alloy (<i>shakudo</i>), gold and copper

  • Museum number:

    M.33-1920

  • 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, copper-silver alloy (shibuichi) inlaid with copper-gold alloy (shakudo), gold and copper depicting fairy tale of the foxes' wedding procession, details of torii gate and lanterns.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)

Date

ca. 1800-1850 (made)

Materials and Techniques

copper-silver alloy (shibuichi) inlaid with copper-gold alloy (shakudo), gold and copper

Dimensions

Height: 8.18 cm approx., Width: 7.62 cm approx.

Descriptive line

Hand-guard (tsuba) for a sword, copper-silver alloy (shibuichi) inlaid with copper-gold alloy (shakudo), gold and copper depicting fairytale of the foxes' wedding procession, details of torii gate and lanterns, Tsuji school, Japan, ca. 1800-1850.

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

Copper; Gold; Silver

Techniques

Inlay

Subjects depicted

Torii; Foxes; Lanterns

Categories

Arms & Armour

Collection

East Asia Collection

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