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

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Tsuba with wood grain decoration and plaited rim

Glossary (4)

sentoku, shakudō, shibuichi, tsuba

  • sentoku

    A kind of brass made from an alloy of copper, zinc, and tin.

  • 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)

    Hamidashi type; seppadai (or irregular profile) in plain shibuichi; rest of field veneered (flush with seppadai) with dark mokume of shibuichi, copper and shakudō; rounded border (bent to allow for the kozuka hole) covered with a harlequin plait of wide strips of silver, sentoku and shakudō; kōgai-hole, in form of a double-gourd bottle with bent neck, lined with shibuichi (probably to conceal the raw edges of the veneer).

    An almost exact duplicate of this guard (with silver on the border, however) is in the collection of Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F.S.A., lent to the Victoria and Albert Museum. A Similar example (1.87" by 1.15", the sides incurved for both hitsu) was given by Sir Arthur Church to the V.A.M. in 1911; in this the veneers cover the seppadai and are visible at the tang-hole, while the plaiting is much finer and includes copper. Beyond these three, I know of no other examples of this peculiar but attractive type of guard.

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