Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Lenticular tsuba with poem

Glossary (3)

shakudō, shibuichi, tsuba

  • shakudō

    alloy of copper and gold, patinated to a dark blue-black colour

  • shibuichi

    alloy of copper and silver, patinated to a dull grey-green colour

  • tsuba

    Japanese sword guard.


    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • The A.H. Church Collection of Japanese Sword-Guards (Tsuba) by Albert James Koop

    The A. H. Church Collection of Japanese Sword-Guards (Tsuba)

    Thick, lenticular; fine ishime ground with a poem encrusted in shibuichi; on the front, in shibuichi with gold details, is also the seated figure of the reputed author of the lines, Kakinomoto no Hitomaro (7th - 8th century); on the back, where some of the writing is in the copper, is further a boat riding on waves; shakudō rim.

    Ernest Hart Collection, no.136. The poem reads:

    Honobo to
    Akashi no ura no
    asagiri ni
    shima-kakure yuku
    fune no shi zo omou

    Dimly methought that
    By Akashi's shore
    There came boats wrapped
    In the morning mist,
    Only to vanish
    Behind an island.

    See H.L.Joly, Inscriptions on Japanese Sword Fittings in Transactions of the Japan Society, London, Vol.XV, pp.109-110, pl.IV.

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