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

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Tsuba depicting five flying birds



  • 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.


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

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

    Iron boldly grained. In low relief are five flying birds (chidori), two of them at the back; gold dots for eyes; edge irregularly hammered up. Signed: Ki no kuni ("of Kii province or Kishū") Baibaidō [Japanese text] Masayoshi [Japanese text] with gold-inlaid seal Uyeda ([Figure], i.e. [Japanese text] "made this of foreign or imported iron").

    In the Matt Garbutt Collection there was a plain grained iron guard signed Masayoshi (as here) "of [Japanese text] Kii-shū (sic)".

    Chidori (literally "thousand, i.e. innumerable, birds") are little birds of indeterminate genus (petrels?), commonly depicted in Japanese art as flying over waves (here the graining may be intended to represent these); they are popularly supposed to be born of the wave-crests.

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