VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Sword guard /tsuba/ with a Chrysanthemum sprig against the openwork background
MNK VI-6236
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This tsuba (Japanese sword guard) deserves admiration for the ingenuity of its shape, an octagon form whose opposite sides are curved arch-like toward the centre. A blossoming chrysanthemum twig is a very popular motif in Japan, however, in this case, it is used in an extremely bold combination. The clear stylization of the flower, cut out as a negative silhouette, with sharp accentuation of the petals, has been juxtaposed with the soft form of the leaves, buds, and guard rim, full of sophisticated delicacy.

History of the Object
The Kinai school, which was a school of great importance was opened in the middle of the seventeenth century, probably as a branch of the famous old school of Myochin. The founder of the Kinai school was Ishikawa Kinai (d. 1680). His successors adopted the byname ‘Takahashi’, but they always signed their tsubas ‘Kinai’.

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Type
Weaponry 
Materials
wrought and polished iron, patina 
Measurements
diameter 7.9 cm 
Creator name
Kinai 
Creator date
Where it was made
Japan; Echizen Province 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 18th century 
Creation date
17th Century - 18th Century; 2nd half 17th century/early 18th century 
Function
Tsuba guards were important balancing elements in swords, but above all, they protected the hand from blows from the enemy sword. 
Acquisition
1949 - donated by Leon Kostka 
Copyright
The National Museum in Krakow 
Acknowledgements
Beata Romanowicz, Curator of the Far Eastern Art Department, The National Museum in Cracow and Maria Dzieduszycka, Former Head Curator of the Far Eastern Art Department, The National Museum in Cracow 
Owner
The National Museum in Krakow 
Museum
The National Museum in Krakow 
Credit line
 
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