Language: Japanese
Source: In common use

Nanako (魚子/斜子) literally means "fish-roe". It is the name for a pattern of punched dots that resemble a certain type of fabric. The work is usually executed on shakudō but is at times seen on other materials as well.

The type of work was done in the Nara period already, as evidenced by some work and a set of stamps used to do the work that were preserved in the 8th century Shōsōin treasure house.

On sword mounts it was popularized by the Gotō school and its many offshoots who were famous for work in black shakudō nanako with golden designs in high relief. This became the standard style of sword mounts worn on formal events during the Edo period.


Shakudō kozuka

shakudō nanako by-knife handle called kozuka.
Listed at Mandarin Mansion in 2021.


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A beautiful signed Japanese ferrule and pommel plate.


The only set of its type known to me in both private and museum collections.

Price on request

A very rare Chinese saber guard dating from the height of the Qing dynasty.


A by-knife for a Japanese sword, with a hilt shaped like a sword tang.


Its outer surface is decorated with interlocking swastikas and family crests.


A peculiar tsuba with a depiction of Bodhidharma and two dragon chasing a pearl.