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Tsuba

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    19th century (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Shakudo decorated with gold, silver and copper

  • Museum number:

    M.70-1919

  • 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, made of copper-gold alloy shakudo. Quatrefoil, mokko, shape, the upper and lower lobes subdivided into two lobes each, the internal lobes into six each with gadrooning. Both faces and the edges covered in swastika diaper in gold wire inlay, interrupted by five paulownia and chrysanthemum badges in gold, silver and copper inlay.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)

Date

19th century (made)

Materials and Techniques

Shakudo decorated with gold, silver and copper

Dimensions

Length: 6.5 cm, Height: 6.1 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

Shakudo; Gold; Silver; Copper

Subjects depicted

Paulownia; Chrysanthemum

Categories

Arms & Armour

Collection

East Asia Collection

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