Condition: Excellent

Japanese Tsuba | Sword Guard with Peony Motif | 1930

The Samurai sword or Bushi, have long fascinated people around the world. They have been a symbol of nobility and honor for Japanese warriors of the ancient times, and are still considered to be one of the most essential tools in martial arts history.

A Tsuba is the hand guard mounted on the Japanese sword. It serves to keep the user’s hand from sliding up onto the blade of the sword, to counterbalance the weight of the blade, to communicate the social standing, beliefs, and tastes of its owner, and to some degree protect the hand from an opponent’s blade.

This Tsuba is made of Iron, with relief carving on both the front and back of the piece and inlaid with gold leaves, and a raised Peony plant with an open flower and Peony Bud. On the reverse is a smaller, gold inlaid Peony Bud & plant. There is the standard Kozuka Hitsu-ana on the left side and a Kogai Hitsu-ana on the right. In the center is the standard Nakago-ana, with no fillers. The decoration is of a sparse, elegant form, arranged along the sides in order to preserve the large expanse of carefully forged and patinated metal. The piece has an elegant and simple Mimi (rim). This piece is in its original kiri wood box and silk case. The piece is unsigned and in excellent condition. Approximate age: 1930. Dimensions: 2-5/8” x 2-3/4”.

Additional Information—

Tsuba are commonly divided into two types; iron (tetsu) and soft metal (kinko). The most common shapes of tsuba are round (maru gata), rounded-square (kaku gata) and four lobed (mokko) with many variations within each basic design. The mixed metals and patina, (surface coloration), give the tsuba its beauty. In its simplest form, a tsuba can be a plain and undecorated plate, and is strictly functional. Most however are embellished to some degree with surface texturing, cut-out openwork in positive and negative silhouette or inlay/overlay of various and sometimes precious metals. Decorated or not, a good tsuba must first satisfy the basic demands of function, which is to protect the user from the sharp blade of the sword.

 

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