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”.
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. NOTE: See book listed on our site entitled: Book of Sword Fittings | Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum | 1996
Excellent Condition- In unused, or like-unused condition. No visual or structural or surface wear or damage shown. Pristine. As good as the day it was made.
Great Condition- Appears in slightly used condition but looks "Like New". Some minor wear, but retains the original craft/workmanship. May show minor wear, that does not affect the main design, or associated motif. No cracks, dents, chips or missing elements.
Good Condition- Minor wear which can be restored or repaired; may have surface flaws, like staining or soiling, confined to a small area. The flaw(s) are counterbalanced by another feature, like brilliant color or innovative design. Some fading or the piece may have been altered in some fashion.
Fair Condition- Main aesthetic/design showing damage. Excessive noticeable wear or damage. Worth buying if can be restored/repaired because of its aesthetic or design appeal or rarity. Note: wear/damage consistent with age/use can often enhance the 'Antique' qualities of a piece, giving it a desirable second chance in one's collection