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Tsuba

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Iron with gilt decoration

  • Museum number:

    M.1147-1926

  • 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 above and below with a demon mask and the cypher of the Dutch East India Company. At the sides, two partly gilt c-shaped scrolls enclosing Namban dragon scrolls in openwork.

Materials and Techniques

Iron with gilt decoration

Dimensions

Length: 7.4 cm, Height: 6.9 cm

Descriptive line

Met, Japan, SF, Namban

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; Gilt

Subjects depicted

Scrolls; Demon; Mask

Categories

Arms & Armour

Collection

East Asia Collection

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