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TSUBA — ( Japanese Sword Guard )

Tsuba - known in English as Japanese Sword Guards that were worn on the Samurai Sword. When it was in it’s mounting, the most conspicuous feature of it’s appearance became the Tsuba. This was especially the case when the Samurai wore his Sword, for it was always placed so the Tsuba came at almost the exact centre of the body, where it became the major aspect of the dignity of the man’s appearance. In brief, from the purely functional viewpoint, the Tsuba is a subordinate part of the weapon, whereas in terms of ornamental value it is of great importance.
Most of the many different kinds and styles of Tsuba are related in aesthetic terms to the basic nature of the Japanese concept of the Bushi ( Warrior ) And for this reason, the Tsuba may be considered a manifestation of the beauty of the way of the Samurai.

Open work Iron Tsuba such as OWARI, KANAYAMA, KO - SHOAMI, KYO - SUKASHI, YAGYU were designed from aesthetic visualisation by the artists who made them and showed in the design a mystical “quiet strength .“ Embellished Kinko Tsuba with Gold, Silver and relatively ornate with designs of dragons and demons and Samurai , etc., do not display this “quiet strength “ as the Iron Sukashi Tsuba display.

TOKUGAWA IEYASU’S famous remark was that the Sword was the “Soul of the Samurai," and an important and aesthetic part of the Sword was the Tsuba.

On this page only genuine and rare and desirable Tsuba are offered that have been in Japanese collections and are rarely available . The Tsuba are in perfect condition and have not been “ messed around with “ as so many have. They have passed careful and experienced inspection and have been acquired from honest and lifetime dedicated Japanese collectors. As one great Japanese Tsuba collector that I have known for 40 years has expressed to me that only once in a lifetime does a great and rare Tsuba come up for sale and it is all about timing, trust and whom you know that it will be offered to you. I have experienced this “once in a lifetime opportunity myself."

KANAYAMA TSUBA design of Thunderbolt patterns ( Kaminarimon).

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An untouched Iron Tsuba with great colour and design from the Sasano Masayuki Collection published in his Gold Book : Early Japanese Sword Guards Sukashi Tsuba Page 115, Tsuba # 75.

Height : 71.5 mm
Width : 70.5 mm
Rim Thickness : 5.0 mm
Seppa Dai Thickness :4.5 mm

Condition is a beautiful moist lustre untouched iron patina and for it’s age the Iron is in exceptional condition. It is from the early Momoyama period (1573-1615).

It comes certified with NBTHK Hozon Token.

KO - TOSHO Tsuba

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Description: Senmen Sukashi Tsuba of Large form, Mumei Ko Tosho. The deep meaning of this design on the right hand side of the Tsuba are Two Fans depicting the top one Man and the bottom one Woman. “Senmen “ means Folding Fans in Samurai terms “Suehirogari” means that ones future is bright and when you advance forward your future is bright.

Period: Late Kamakura Period early 14th Century Height: 9.3cm
Width: 9.3cm
Rim Thickness : 1mm
Nakago Ana Thickness : 1.8mm
Certification: N.B.T.H.K. Hozon Tosogu
Iron Colour : The Iron Colour on this Tsuba is beautiful and has not been cleaned and retains its original patina.

The Artistic significance of the Ko- Tosho Tsuba represents the Japanese awareness that could be the origin of Aesthetic expression of the KOSHIRAE and the SUKASHI TSUBA.
KO - TOSHO Tsuba of this period and condition are extremely hard to find.
The images have been taken under different lighting to show the granular Iron and the Iron Patina.

Rare one of a kind Tsuba

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A desirable and exceptionally rare one of a kind Tsuba Signed : Umetada Shichizaemon Tachibana Shigeyoshi Saku. ( Rare Shomei )

Theme and Design : Kikka cho akimushi zu tetsuji Kawara Maru gata Sukidashi bori iro-e.

Chrysanthemum flower, butterfly, and autumn insects theme. Irregular maru data.

Height: 7.6 cm
Width : 7.8 cm
Rim Thickness : 4 .0 mm
Centre Thickness : 5.0 mm
Condtion : Beautiful untouched Iron Patina with exceptional detail. The images do not portray the full beauty of this Tsuba
Era : Mid Edo
Certification : NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon attesting to its rarity and authenticity.

Published in Nihonto Koza Kodogu Mid Edo period

An Important and rare Shoami Tsuba

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An Important and rare Shoami Tsuba with the design of Manji Mon Kiku Ha Tsuba ( Reverse Swastika and Chrysanthemum )

Height: 7.7 cm
Width : 7.6 cm
Rim thickness: : 4mm
Centre thickness : 4mm
Certification: NBTHK Hozon Certificate

Condition: Showing a beautiful Iron patina with a shine that has not been rubbed and is in perfect condition.

Comment: This Tsuba is unique and dates from early Edo period. It has great balance and beautiful Iron patina. Manji Mon Tsuba of this design and quality are extremely difficult to acquire and are sought after in Japan.

Explanation of Manji Mon:

In Japan, the swastika is called manji 万字, which comes from China The first character, man, means 10,000 which is a big enough number to represent a myriad, or infinity. The second one, ji, is simply character. thus it is called the infinity character.

It is usually facing counter-clockwise. Meaning that the arms of the cross are turning in a counter-clockwise pattern. This being said, it is not uncommon to see it facing the other way and it is called a mirror-image of the manji.
The signification is the same though and it is still not associated with the Nazis in anyway.
A Buddhist Temple image in Japan with the Manji Mon

Important Tsuba by Dewa Akita Ju Shoami Denshichi 18th Century

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Important Tsuba by Dewa Akita Ju Shoami Denshichi 18th Century

Design of Musubinawa Sukashi Tsuba ( strong horsehair rope)
Height : 8.4 cm Width : 7.2 cm
Rim Thickness : 6mm
Centre Thickness : 7 mm
Condition : Showing a beautiful lustrous shiny Iron Patina.

Comment : This is a rare and unique signed 18th Century Shoami Tsuba by a renowned Tsuba maker.

Certification : NBTHK Hozon Certificate.

Masterpiece Tsuba from the Sasano Collection.

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Masterpiece Tsuba from the Sasano Collection.

OWARI Tsuba : Sukashi design; Diamond in a Zig-Zag Configuration ( ori-iribishi )
Momoyama Period Late 16th Century ( Tensho / Keicho era )
Height: 81.5mm Width: 79.9mm Rim Thickness: 5.2mm
Centre thickness: 4.4 mm Round Cornered rim ( Mimi )

NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate 2017

In Japanese this subject is called ‘Ori-iribishi’ expressing a generous cheerful mood. The disappearance of the earlier design of solidity and strength result from political and social developments in the Momoyama period. This slightly heavy appearance is a bold statement of pride.

(From the Sasano Sensei collection and featured in his Silver book: Japanese Sword Guards Masterpieces From The Sasano Collection By Sasano Masayuki) Page 196 , Tsuba 164 Owari.

Comments: This is an exceptionally rare Tsuba and has beautiful Iron Colour and Tekkotsu.( Iron Bones )

Important Higo Tsuba by Tohi Takao

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Important Higo Tsuba by Tohi Takao

It is well known and published Tsuba in Higo Taikan by Tohi ju Takao, the Tsuba was made in the 18th century and is exceptionally unusual. The Iron work is exceptional both in colour and design. It has NBTHK Kanteisho. It comes from a very famous Japanese Tsuba collector Fukushi San. In the hand it is very overpowering. This Tsuba exhibit’s excellent work in Iron and Silver and is a master piece , the images do not portray the exceptional and unusual work of this Tsuba as in the hand it is exceptional.

Size : 8 cm by 7.7 cm
Mei : Made by Tohi Takao
Design : Elliptical shape. Iron with high relief on the inlaid Rogin ( Silver ).
Ca. 1700’s