Water caltrop Canton tsuba

78 x 72 x 4.9 mm


108 grams


Iron, gold, shakudō


Canton, China

For the Japanese market


18th century

Price €400, -

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Among Nanban tsuba there is a genre that is best described as "Asian export sword guards," and among those, there is a distinct group that was made in China, for the Japanese market. The production center was most likely Canton.

For more information, see my article: Nanban tsuba, a Canton group.


This example

With the characteristic lingzhi mushroom elements in the center, surrounded by pierced openwork with fine openwork with eleven undercut elements.

The designs feature water caltrops and flowers, overlaid with gold. It has a "sacred jewel" consisting of a little ball, in the upper left. It is cut loose from its surroundings so it moves freely within its compartment. The rim is beaded with an inner raised ring on each side. 

One of the hitsu-ana was plugged in Japan with the prized shakudō, a copper-gold alloy patinated to a "raven black".




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Of pierced iron, elaborately cut with lotus petal border.


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.


In the style of northern work of the 16th and 17th centuries


Chinese work for the Japanese market.