Art sword accessories: Japanese sword Tsuba
Tsuba (sword guards) is the main accessory of Japanese swords. In addition to protecting the palm of the hand, it is also the part that must be used when drawing the sword. They are used to protect the hand from sliding onto the blade of a Japanese sword. "Ninja swords" pay particular attention to "Tsuba" Protective effect, the material has a large hard area. They are works of art and are widely collected.
Although "Tsuba" is an accessory of the sword, it is an independent item in the field of collection. In other words, "Tsuba" and the sword are two separate arts. "Tsuba" is equivalent to the sword grid or hand guard commonly known in my country. It is used as a switch to release and close the sword. It is responsible for protecting the palm and wrist during combat, balancing the center of mass of the sword, and is also a symbol of social status and honor. It can be said that on the small Tsuba, Japanese craftsmen are like carving stories one by one. The exquisiteness is not lost by the natural patterns on the blade and the decoration on the scabbard.
Tsuba are commonly divided into two types; iron (tetsu) and soft metal (kinko). The kinko tsuba may be made of a variety of alloys; Both iron and kinko tsuba may have various carved and/or applied decor and/or cut-out designs (sukashi). Tsuba with extensive cut-out designs are commonly referred to as "sukashi tsuba". Depending on the style, the sukashi may depict designs in either positive or negative silhouette.
The most common shapes of tsuba are round (maru gata), rounded-square (kaku gata) and four lobed (mokko) with many variations within each basic design. The patina gives the tsuba its beauty. Never clean tsuba or any sword fitting with metal polish, it will remove the patina and destroy the beauty and value of the item.
Tsuba culture shines in the Edo period. Famous workers include the Goto school exclusive to the Tokugawa family; Edo metalworking celebrities Yokoya Somin, Omori Hidehide, Ishiguro Masato, etc.; Nara celebrities Nara Toshou and Sugiura Chengyi , Tsuchiya Yashin and others are known as the three works of Nara; Kyoto celebrities such as Chu Mingju, Dayong Guangxing, Umino Katsumin, Masami, Tetsugendo, etc, are famous from all over the country. Ghana Natsuo collected the masters of metalworking in the Edo period. He entered the Tokyo Academy of Fine Arts as a professor in Meiji 27. He inherited ancient metalworking techniques to the modern age. Natsuo continued the life of Japanese metalworking art and was the last master in the history of metalworking.
Be aware that there are many modern replica and reproduction tsuba of varying quality on the market. These are excellent for mounting on martial arts swords, but are not considered collectible.