**Originally Listed At $500**
East Asia, Japan, Edo Period, ca. 1603 to 1868 CE. A fabulous forged-iron Maru Gata tsuba, a disc-shaped hand guard traditionally employed on Japanese swords. The obverse side of the tsuba displays a pair of applied copper maple leaves with serrated edges as well as smaller leaves and vines inlaid around the top and bottom in gleaming 18K gold. The bottom of the reverse side bears an additional copper leaf surrounded by 18K gold leaves and vines. The central blade opening (Nakago-ana) is flanked by a pair of decorative holes, one with a small protrusion on one side (Kogai Hitsu-ana) and one without (Hozuka Hitsu-ana). An ovoid area surrounding the blade opening (Seppa-dai) exhibits a signature which has faded and been rendered illegible over time. A stunning example of high-quality Japanese craftsmanship! Size: 2.625" W x 2.75" H (6.7 cm x 7 cm).
A tsuba is the hand guard of a traditional Japanese sword, usually a katana or tachi. Its primary purposes are to balance the sword, prevent one's hand from sliding down the blade and, as a last resort, as a block against an opponent's thrust or slash. However, as time and skills developed, the tsuba evolved into an artistic item and symbol representing wealth, prestige, or skills as a swordsman. Early tsuba, known as neri tsuba, were made of leather encased in an iron or wooden frame which was occasionally lacquered for strength and stability.
Provenance: ex-private Rochester, Michigan, USA collection
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