Tsuba (Sword guard) with inlaid design of egrets and reeds(attached to 1973/2.88)

Accession Number

Tsuba (Sword guard) with inlaid design of egrets and reeds(attached to 1973/2.88)


Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
iron with gold and silver inlays

3/16 in. x 2 11/16 in. x 2 15/16 in. ( 0.4 cm x 6.8 cm x 7.4 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert T. Weston

Subject matter
Tsuba (sword guard) is inserted between a sword handle and blade to protect hands from sharp blades. The center hole is where the sword is placed. A smaller hole on the left is to place an ornamental stick, kozuka. Another hole on the right is to insert kougai, spatula-like sticks which are said to be used for itching hair underneath hats or helmets.

Physical Description
This tsuba is a flat iron plate with quatrefoil design. It has three holes: one for blade (middle) flanked by oval-shape hole (for kougai) and oval with bump shape (for kozuka). Egrets and reeds decorate the surface, distributed in a curve that climbs counter-clockwise from the bottom left register, culmiating in the top left with a lone egret in flight. Egrets on the bottom of the piece perch on the ground or nest in the golden reeds.

Primary Object Classification
Arms and Armor

Primary Object Type
sword guard

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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3 Related Resources

Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ FFW, 2nd floor ➜ 216 (Japanese Gallery)