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Tsuba

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Iron with gold decoration

  • Museum number:

    M.882-1931

  • 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

Iron sword guard, tsuba. Decorated with nunome, the surface cut with a cross hatch pattern and gold pressed in. This is interrupted, on the front by five, and the back by three, rings enclosing various plants such as chrysanthemums, cherry, willow, reed, tea-plant and rice.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)

Materials and Techniques

Iron with gold decoration

Dimensions

Length: 7.4 cm, Height: 7 cm

Descriptive line

Met, Japan, SF, nunome

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

Iron; Gold

Subjects depicted

Reed; Willow; Rice; Chrysanthemum; Cherry

Categories

Arms & Armour

Collection

East Asia Collection

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