Of pierced iron, elaborately cut with lotus petal border.
70 x 65 x 3.9 mm
Iron, gold, silver, copper
Collection of James L. McElhinney
Anything similar for sale?
A peculiar and probably rather old Japanese tsuba. It is of octagonal form, with kozuka-hitsu-ana for the hilt of a kogatana and udenuki-ana, which are small circular openings for the attachment of a leather wrist cord. This is a feature primarily seen in the 16th century.
The facing side is carved in shallow relief, with a cloud head in the top and lowered panels with raised abstract plant forms left and right, overlaid with gold and silver. In the bottom is an unusual design element that I cannot place.
The reverse has an engraved border with stylized cloud shapes in the top, overlaid in silver. The main plate is engraved with capital letters from the Western alphabet:
"A B C D E
F G I J
L N O
Q R S T"
The design gives the impression of a plate with lettering that was later turned into a tsuba, but the placement of the lower Q R S T following the contours of the bottom part of the tsuba somewhat betray that they were part of the intended design.
A highly unusual piece, probably made by a maker who got his hands on a document that explained the Western alphabet and decided to make something exotic with it.
The copper sekigane (inserts in the tang opening) and the punch marks around it indicate the tsuba was once fitted to a sword, probably a wakizashi or a large tantō. It is interesting to note that being mounted, the Western script would be on the blade's side, and out of sight from the viewer when the sword was worn.
Do you have anything for sale?
I might be interested in buying it.Contact me
Unusual tsuba with foreign figures and Chinese auspicious symbols.
Pierced and chiseled showing an 18th century European vessel.
Very finely carved with designs reminiscent of export wares.
A masterpiece of the genre. The Yagami school were excellent carvers of iron.
Japanese sword guard depicting three wise monkeys conveying the message see no evil, hear no evil, speak no…