Tsuba thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Japan, Room 45, The Toshiba Gallery

Tsuba

19th century (made)
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Iron decorated with gold
Brief Description
Met, Japan, SF, Kagonami
Physical Description
Iron, oval sword guard, tsuba, with pearled gilt edge. Pierced with a symmetrical design of two dragons and pearl amid scrolled stems heightened with thick gold overlay.
Dimensions
  • Length: 7.5cm
  • Height: 7.2cm
Gallery Label
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)
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Collection
Accession Number
M.194-1916

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record createdJune 25, 2009
Record URL