VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Tsuba
RKM 321-1906
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Röhsska Museum’s collection of tsubas is large and opulent. This tsuba is one of the finest in the museum's collection and may be seen as a masterpiece from the period. Per Dahlström, Curator, Röhsska Museum

History of the Object
A tsuba is a sword guard that forms the boundary between the blade and the grip. Its chief functions are to balance the sword, prevent the hand from reaching the blade and to protect the hand from an adversary’s cuts. Apart from the aperture for the blade there was often an opening in the Tsuba for a small knife – a kodzuka – and sometimes another hole for the kogai a Samurai would use to dress his hair. Early designs were simple and emphasis was primarily on function, but during the Edo period (1603–1868) there was a demand for luxury objects and the tsuba became increasingly more of an artistic embellishment and status symbol whose chief purpose was to communicate its owner’s social status. Tsubas became popular as collectors’ items toward the end of the nineteenth century. As a decorative and symbolic motif, the crane can be found in widely different cultures from the Far East to the Mediterranean region. Countless myths are associated with the large, beautiful, watchful crane. In Japan, the crane is seen as holy; it is depicted in the most diverse of media such as metals, textiles, paper, ceramics and lacquer work.

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Type
Weaponry 
Materials
Iron 
Measurements
Height 6,5 cm  
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
unknown 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 17th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
17th Century 
Function
A tsuba is a sword guard that forms the boundary between the blade and the grip. 
Acquisition
Purchased as part of Fredrik Martin’s collection, 1905 
Copyright
The Röhsska Museum 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
The Röhsska Museum 
Museum
The Röhsska Museum, of Design, Fashion and Decorative Arts 
Credit line
 

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