Fine pierced nanban tsuba

75.5 x 72 x 4.5


79 grams




Probably Japan


18th century


From a Japanese collection

Price €450, -

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An interesting nanban tsuba that is a lot more finely carved than most of them are. The design features a double rim, between which are carved two dragon that are reachin for a sacred jewel (tama) in the top. In the bottom is some sort of two storied structure with tiled roofs. Three shishi lion are carved within scrolling tendrils.

The seppa-dai (washer plate) is oval and again carved with two dragon on each side.

It has two hitsu-ana, one appears to have been incorporated into the design from its inception, while the second one looks as if it was added later. Sometimes though Japanese carvers would deliberately carve it like that, to look like an altered imported guard.



This is a tough one to pinpoint but when looking solely at the fine carving in iron, the Yagami carvers of the 18th century come to mind, headed by Mitsuhiro, inventor of the "thousand monkeys" designs. However, they tended to finish the seppa-dai in a smooth manner while this one was carved with dragons.

A beautiful example of pierced and carved iron.

Fine pierced nanban tsuba
Fine pierced nanban tsuba
Fine pierced nanban tsuba
Fine pierced nanban tsuba

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me

Carved out of copper alloy with details highlighted in gold.


Of a copper alloy with a different shade on each side.


Unusual tsuba with foreign figures and Chinese auspicious symbols.


Pierced and chiseled showing an 18th century European vessel.


Upgraded with filigree to resemble a snuff bottle.


Sawasa is metalware in black and gold made primarily for the Dutch expat community in Asia.