Title: Tsuchiya-style, Yanagi ni Tori Zu
This Tsuba is recognized by the NTHK certificate. According to the certificate, this Tsuba’s maker was attributed to Masachika (昌親, the six Yasuchika), who was a Tsuchiya (土屋) school metalworker. Tsuchiya Masachika (土屋 昌親, unknown-1861) was born as the eldest son of the fifth Tsuchiya Yasuchika. He was active in the latter half of the Edo period and excelled in the technique of the Iroe Takabori (色絵高彫, an engraving technique for metalworking). Tsuchiya Ysuchika (土屋 安親, 1670-1744), who was the first Tsuchiya school, was born in the Dewa-no Kuni (出羽国, today’s Yamagata and Akita prefecture). He was active in the middle of the Edo period. He learned under Satou Yoshihisa (佐藤 珍久) and after that, moved to the Edo (江戸, today’s Tokyo prefecture) and became a pupil of Nara Tatsumasa (奈良 辰政). Yasuchika became famous as one of the Nara Sansaku (奈良三作, the most notable three metalworkers in the Nara school) with Nara Toshinaga (奈良 利寿, 1667-1736) and Sugiura Johi (杉浦 乗意, 1701-1761). The Tsuchiya school was opened by Yasuchika, who possessed outstanding metalworking skills.
This Tsuba depicts a bird flying under a willow tree and another resting on a tree branch. Willows have been considered auspicious plants because they have a strong vitality that could be propagated by cuttings. According to a theory, in the continent, there was a custom of gifting hand-breaking willow branches to those who were about to leave as a talisman for their magical power. In Japan, it was worshiped as a plant that warded off evil spirits and was planted on the outskirts of towns and village boundaries as a mark of limitations. In addition, its roots are strong, and planting a willow will strengthen the ground. Therefore, this plant has also been planted on riverbanks to prevent the ground from collapsing. Among several willow patterns, it is said that many designs use the Shidare Yanagi (枝垂柳, weeping willows). For songs and paintings, willows are popular motifs in this country because of their supple and graceful appearance.
As seen on this Tsuba, willow designs are often expressed in combination with other animals and plants. For example, willows and swallows are a famous combination that is incorporated into the Hanafuda (花札, a Japanese card game involving flower matching). The birds depicted in this work do not appear to be swallows from their appearance. However, it is a well-made Tsuba that carefully describes the scenery of the natural world.
*As this item is an antique, please check each photo and ensure its condition.
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.
Authentication Paper: NTHK Kanteisho Certificate
NTHK, also known as NPO Nihon Touken Hozon Kai, is the oldest organization for sword authentication of Japanese swords in modern times. It was established in 1889 during the post-Samurai era. They authenticated the Tsuba on Feb 19th in the 5th year of Reiwa (2023). The purchaser will receive this original certificate as well. We can also translate what is written into English and make a PDF file for your record if you request.
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.