Title: Junishi Zu
This Tsuba’s design is related to the Junishi (十二支, the twelve signs of the Chinese and Japanese zodiac). On the front, clockwise from the apex, you would find the figure of six animals who are the member of this group: Ne (子, mouse), Ushi (丑, cow), Tora (寅, tiger), U (卯, rabbit), Tatsu (辰, dragon), Mi (巳, snake). On the other hand, the rest of the six animal’s names are engraved on the backside: 午 (Uma, horse), 未 (Hitsuji, sheep), 申 (Saru, monkey), 酉 (Tori, chicken), 戌 (Inu, dog), 亥 (Inoshishi, boar).
The animals assigned to the Junishi are said to have auspicious meanings. For example, mice were treated as a symbol of prosperity because of their high fertility. Cows are a symbol of strength and are said to represent tenacity and loyalty. Tigers symbolize bravery, and rabbits symbolize leaps and progress. The dragon’s symbolism was influenced by continent-derived ideas and regarded as a symbol of power. Snakes were regarded as a symbol of eternity and rebirth because they grow by repeatedly shedding their skin. Other animals have also been thought to have various connotations, such as health, plentiful harvests, safety for families, prosperity in business, etcetra.
There are various theories about the details of the Junishi legend. Its rough outline is that the twelfth animals that arrived early at the feast that god held on New Year’s Day were nominated as the representative for the year. Each animal has a rustic meaning, and the Junishi itself has been treated as a lucky charm in Japan. It is said that the devotion of people who believed in the mysterious power of animals was linked to the Junishi, and the custom of welcoming the god of the year by decorating animal figurines associated with the twelve zodiac signs of the year in the entrance or living room was born. This belief might have inspired this Tsuba’s design.
*As this item is an antique, please check each photo and ensure its condition. We hope you would enjoy this tasteful work.
What is Tsuba?
Tsuba is the hand-guard of the Japanese sword. High-class Samurai wore his Katana sword with its beautiful sword mountings such as Tsuba. Tsuba’s front design tends to be more decorative as this part was often seen by other Samurais when he was walking on the streets.
Why is it that the sword mounting was important for Samurai?
The sword mountings of the Japanese sword have many kinds of decorations such as handguards (Tsuba), sword hilt (Menuki), pommel (Fuchi Kashira). The Japanese sword worked as a weapon and as an object to show who he was. For example, it shows their personalities and beliefs. You could say that it is like decorations for smartphones today. We recommend you zoom in on the pictures of the sword fittings. When you do so, you can see the skill of Japanese metal engraving techniques. They are mainly made of iron and copper with inlays of gold, silver, and bronze. When it comes to handguard (Tsuba), each one has a different outline and weight. These sword fittings that have lived with Japanese swords of the same age might be worth as much as the Japanese swords. They are inconspicuous parts of the Japanese sword. Nevertheless, if you are knowledgeable or particular about it, you will become a connoisseur of the Samurai.
Samurai Museum is located in Tokyo, Japan, exhibiting antique artifacts related to the Samurai history. Samurai Museum Shop is the place for those who are interested in Japanese culture and craftsmanship. We deal with antique Samurai swords/armor, traditional crafts made in Japan and so on.
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We normally ship via EMS (Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. It usually takes at least 5-14 days to deliver the package after you place an order. Time of delivery is estimated as accurately as possible by the carrier but does not take into account any delays beyond our control such as by inclement weather, post office holiday seasons.
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*Please keep in mind that due to the spread of COVID-19, there might be possible delays in delivery. If you like to make
sure if EMS shipping is available to your country, please contact us.
【How to make sure the condition】
Please keep in mind that what you are going to purchase is an antique item. We uploaded high resolution photos for you to check its condition thoroughly. If you like to see more photos with different angles, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to send them to you so that you can make informed decision.
It is essential for us to know that you are happy with your choice of Tsuba and we are prepared to use the best of our ability to serve you.
【How to appreciate Tsuba】
While Tsuba is a small component of Japanese sword mountings, we would say it is one of the most conspicuous parts. Also, unlike the blade itself, Tsuba has a low risk of handling. Furthermore, it does not require a large space for storage. Thus, Tsuba is relatively easy to collect. Here we would like to propose a few ways to enrich your Tsuba experience after purchasing your favorite Tsuba.
Inspect and feel the artistry of Tsuba. You will be amazed by the maker’s work quality to make it look a great work.
-Find the right place to display
Tsuba would look great when displayed in the best way. Find the best place in your house, your office, or anywhere you like, so that Tsuba would be appreciated as much as you like.
※These photos are the example of Tsuba stand and how to place the Tsuba.
-Learn the details
Tsuba reflects quite a lot of detailed features of its maker. Sometimes you can find the maker’s signature on Tsuba. Tsuba makers tried adding elaborate artistry to Tsuba. Many techniques were invented to achieve this goal, such as openwork, engravings, and gold/silver inlays. There were many schools that trained Tsuba makers, and each of them has different characteristics. You would enjoy knowing these differences and find your beloved style.
-Arrange in modern style
We want to propose the way that you could enjoy the Tsuba as jewelry. By stringing a cord into the center hole of the Tsuba, it could be worn as a necklace. This modern way would show you a new charm of Tsuba. Here are the examples of neckless.
【Give the Tsuba as a special gift】
Are you looking for a special gift for a person who is interested in Japanese culture? We recommend you to give an antique Tsuba as a present for your significant other. Tsuba is an integral part of the Samurai sword, which was once a primary weapon for Samurai. Each Tsuba is a unique item and has a different design. We hope it would be a memorable gift. Now it is time for you to share the beauty of a piece of Samurai history with your family members or friends, for instance. Also, gift wrapping is available for Tsuba; it is for free. Here is an example of wrapping. For more information, please feel free to contact us. It is always our pleasure to serve you.
Would you like see some more Tsuba for sale? Please check the link below. We hope you can find your favorite Tsuba.