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Chinese openwork sword guard

Southern Chinese openwork sword guard

In the style of northern work of the 16th and 17th centuries
Lotus border tsuba logo

Assymetric dragon tsuba

Chinese work for the Japanese market.
28 jewel canton tsuba

Canton tsuba with 28 "jewels"

Canton work for the Japanese market, with 28 metal balls in separate compartments.
Early Canton tsuba

Early Canton tsuba

Made in Canton, China, for the Japanese market.
Lobed Canton tsuba logo

Lobed Canton tsuba

Made in Canton, China, for the Japanese market.
Canton ship tsuba logo

Canton tsuba with ship

Made in Canton, China, for the Japanese market.
Five dragon Canton tsuba logo

Five dragon Canton tsuba

Made in Canton, China, for the Japanese market.
Water caltrop Canton tsuba logo

Water caltrop Canton tsuba

Made in Canton, China, for the Japanese market.
Canton tsuba logo

Facing dragon Canton tsuba

Made in Canton, China, for the Japanese market.
Canton group of Asian export sword guards logo

Nanban tsuba, a Canton group

Introduction

Among the genre generally classified as Nanban tsuba there is a distinct group with cha

Signed nanban tsuba logo

Signed "nanban tsuba"

Among the work classified as "nanban", signed work is very rare. Here are some examples of signed works in the style.
Yagami school nanban tsuba

Yagami school nanban tsuba

A masterpiece of the genre. The Yagami school were excellent carvers of iron.
Hirado Kunishige tsuba logo

Enamelled Hirado Kunishige tsuba

Fine work and one of the very few enamelled tsuba by this maker.
Hirado Kunishige logo

Hirado Kunishige (平戸市國重)

A group of Japanese sword fitting makers working on the island of Hirado.
Chinese yidao guard logo

Yidao guard

Exceptionally large pierced iron guard for a Chinese yidao; "virtuous saber".
Three wise monkeys tsuba logo

Three wise monkeys tsuba

Japanese sword guard depicting three wise monkeys conveying the message see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
Winged dragon tsuba

Winged dragon tsuba

A fine and unusually large tsuba. Attributed to Hizen by the NBTHK.
Kinai tsuba logo

Fine Kinai dragon tsuba

Made by the Kinai group of Echizen, who originated as horimono carvers.
Nanban style ship tsuba signed Hishu Kanesada logo

Signed nanban style ship tsuba

Signed by an artist named Kanesada from Higo.
Tetsugendo Seiryuken Eiji tsuba

Seiryūken Eiju dragon tsuba

Tetsugendo school. Round plate with discoid cross-section, chiseled with dragons.
Peony karakusa tsuba

Peony karakusa tsuba

Executed in "nanban style" openwork with chiseled and gold-encrusted peonies.
Sawasa style guard logo

Sawasa style iron guard

Unusual piece with depiction of a foreign figure.
Chysanthemum tsuba

Iron chrysanthemum tsuba

Large example with gold and silver overlay.
Dragon gate guard logo

Unusual dragon gate guard

Asian sword guard of unknown origin, modified in Japan.
Canton tsuba

Japanese tsuba in Canton style

Also known as Kwanto-gata, with two facing dragon chasing a pearl.
Daruma tsuba logo

Daruma tsuba

A peculiar tsuba with a depiction of Bodhidharma and two dragon chasing a pearl.
Kunihiro wan-gata tsuba

Wan-gata tsuba by Kunihiro

Its outer surface is decorated with interlocking swastikas and family crests.
Compass rose guard logo

Cast iron compass rose guard

A peculiar cast iron sword guard, probably from the South China Seas area.
Tsuba logo

Tsuba (鍔 / 鐔)

Japanese name for a sword guard.
Chinese loukong export guard

Chinese lòukōng sword guard

The archetypical Chinese sword guard that gave rise to the Japanese genre of "nanban tsuba".
Chinese pierced sword guard logo

Qing openwork saber guard

A very rare Chinese saber guard dating from the height of the Qing dynasty.
Qing om a hum mantra saber guard

Chinese hùshǒu with lantsa script

A Chinese sword guard from the 18th century with a Buddhist mantra in lantsa script.
Qing hozon papers logo

Chinese sword guards in Japan

The Chinese saber guard is called dāo hūshǒu (刀護手), or hùshǒu pán (護手盤) in Chinese. This literally translates to "saber handguard" or "disc handguard". At some point, the Japanese got quite a taste for them. Over the years a number of them have turned up from Japanese sources that exhibit alterations that indicate they were used by Japanese on their swords.
Sword guard

"South China Sea Guard"

Most likely used by the multi-cultural crews of pirate fleets that roamed the South China seas.
tachi-mokko-gata

Tachi-mokkō-gata (太刀木瓜形)

Japanese term for a cross-shaped tsuba often used on tachi swords.
Aoi-gata tsuba

Aoi-gata (葵形)

Japanese word for a sword guard shape. Literelly "hollyhock shape".
Kiyou Toujin tsuba

Kiyou-Toujin Tsuba

A Japanese style sword guard made in 17th century Nagasaki Chinatown.
Nanban steel tsuba

Tachi tsuba of nanban tetsu

A rare 17th-century sword guard made of foreign steel.
Aviz tsuba

House of Aviz tsuba

A Japanese sword guard with the cross of the House of Aviz.
Korean guard

A Korean sword guard

Adjusted for use on a Japanese sword.
Kiyou Toujin tsuba

Kiyou Toujin tsuba (崎陽唐人鐔)

Japanese style sword guards made by Chinese craftsmen in Nagasaki.
Asian export sword guard

Asian export sword guard

An interesting pierced iron Asian export sword guard that is part of a small group of guards that were made with a mu

Saber guard logo

Dāo hūshǒu (刀護手)

Qing Chinese for "saber guard".
Iron ship sword guard

Iron ship sword guard

A chiseled iron sword guard depicting a Dutch ship with a figure on its stern.
Asian export sword guard

Sinhalese export sword guard

A large circular Asian export sword guard with elaborate decor carved in relief on both sides.
Asian Export Sword Guard

Asian export sword guards

Sword guards that were made across Asia, specifically with export in mind.
Ship tsuba

Classic Choshu ship tsuba

The work nice and crisp, the execution has a naturalistic charm to it.
Ono school ship tsuba

Ono school ship tsuba

Description

A classic Japanese ship tsuba with a motif called “kazeho” (風帆) or “b

Canton style sword guard

Fine Canton-style export sword guard

Introduction

Many Asian export sword guards, and later Japanese guards inspired by them, were modeled after

Korean love lotus guard

"Love of Lotus" Korean guard

Description

Korean ceremonial sabers of the Joseon dynasty are pretty small and often exhi