~ A fine late 16th/early 17th century Japanese Swordsmiths Sword Shakudo Tsuba (Hand Guard) ~
This oval tsuba is unsigned, it is made using shakudo which is an alloy of gold and copper (typically 4-10% gold, 96-90% copper). It dates to the 16/17th century with later 19th century decoration of a nightingale in the rain and gold and silver grasses.
~ Dimensions ~
It is 2.75 inches (7cm) wide by 3 inches (7.5cm) and the total weight is 120 grams.
~ Condition ~
In very decent condition with only minor age wear.
~ Postage ~
UK postage is £8 or it can be collected from our shop in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
A tsuba is the hand guard of a Japanese sword (Katana). It is usually round or occasionally a squarish shape at the end of the sword grip. Generally tsuba are decorated with beautiful inlay work or open work. The sword is decorated with beautiful tsuba and other sword ornaments called Koshirae. In the Warring States Period tsuba were simpler, but when the peaceful Edo period (1603-1868) began, katana were no longer needed for practical purposes and they changed from real weapons into beautiful ornaments. A great many smiths made a lot of decorated swords as ornament for business and they competed with each other for better techniques. Thus the tsuba became an elaborate piece of art - far beyond its practical use.
In the Meiji period (1868-1912), one famous Japanese company introduced various kinds of traditional Japanese products at the Paris Exposition. Among other things, tsuba was admired for its advanced inlay techniques and they became famous throughout the world.