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

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Hexagonal tsuba with dragon and peonies

Glossary (2)

nunome-zōgan, tsuba

  • nunome-zōgan

    Decorative application of metal sheeting (generally of gold or silver) where the iron ground is first cross-hatched and the metal burnished on.

  • tsuba

    Japanese sword guard.


    • currently in research collection

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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)

    Hexagonal; polished surface; on the front inlaid silver wire marks out an inner circle and the spine of a large dragon coiled almost into a ring, the rest of him being in silver nunome, with gold head and tail; at the back similar wires mark out an inner circle and a wavy scrolled stem, which has five peony flowers and numerous leaves in silver nunome; a narrow border is marked on the front by a single silver wire inlaid, at the back by a wave pattern of numerous wires. Signed: Miōchin Nobuiye kore wo tsukuru (compare Group IVa), and dated Tenshō XIII (1586). The decoration is Hizen (Nagasaki) work, probably of the 17th century.

    One of the largest old tsuba known; the holes for the tang and kodzuka are not, however, of abnormal size. The "inlaying" of the silver wires might almost be described as nunome (compare Introduction).

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