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Tsuba

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700-1750 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    copper inlaid with copper-gold alloy (<i>shakudo</i>), holes with gilded linings

  • Museum number:

    M.236-1923

  • 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 inlaid with copper-gold alloy (shakudo) depicting flowering plum branch and nightingale in flight, holes with gilded linings, signed Shoami Toji Nobushige.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)

Date

ca. 1700-1750 (made)

Materials and Techniques

copper inlaid with copper-gold alloy (shakudo), holes with gilded linings

Marks and inscriptions

Signed Shoami Toji Nobushige

Dimensions

Height: 7.62 cm approx., Width: 7.37 cm approx.

Descriptive line

Hand-guard (tsuba) for a sword, copper inlaid with copper-gold alloy (shakudo) depicting flowering plum branch and nightingale in flight, holes with gilded linings, signed Shoami Toji Nobushige, Aizu Shoami school, ca. 1700-1750.

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; Gilt

Techniques

Inlay; Gilding

Subjects depicted

Nightingale; Plum blossom

Categories

Arms & Armour

Collection

East Asia Collection

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