Nanban tsuba, tachi style | Mandarin Mansion

Nanban tsuba, tachi style

Height & width: 78 x 77.5mm
Thickness: 5.5mm
Weight: 129 grams

Origin: Possibly Chinese, for the Japanese market.
Materials: Iron, gold.
Proposed dating: 18th century.
Use: Has been mounted.

A very unusual nanban tsuba with the four-lobed form primarily used for the tachi, a Japanese sword worn edge down and primarily used by cavalry. The outline of this guard being very Japanese, the decor inside is not. It features on each side two all-devouring taotie with golden eyes. These mythical creatures are the Chinese equivalent of the kīrttimukha or "Face of Glory". Always depicted without their lower jaw, such demons feature widely on the art of Tibet, China, India and Indonesia and are auspicious symbols that were believed to ward off evil.

On the two lobes without the taotie are swirling clouds, damascened with golden speckles, in a web of tendrils with some undercutting on either side. The round cloud shape suggests the piece most likely dates from the 18th century.

Comes with depicted hand made wooden box for storage and display.

A rare example of a nanban tsuba made for use on a Japanese tachi, instead of a katana.

€ 475,-

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