The Tsuba Collector

A private collection of antique Japanese Sword Guards

Tsuba for Sale

Mito Tsuba

Iron tsuba featuring the legendary Chinese hero Guan Yu (Kan’u Uncho) seated at a low table. The design has been created by the artist carving away a large amount of iron to form the building, windows, curtains, clouds, table, etc. Guan Yu’s long beard is done in shakudo and his hat and clothes are gold iroe. The ‘Green Dragon’ naginata/polearm is edged in silver. The rim is covered in gold. Mumei. Edo period. The Mito attribution was provided by Robert Haynes. A stunning tsuba. Comes with custom box.

7.4cm x 7.2cm x 0.45cm

Exhibited at the Token Society of Great Britain Taikan, Chiddingstone Castle, Kent, UK, October 2015

Price US $3,000, including worldwide shipping.


Yoshioka Tsuba

Shakudo tsuba featuring design of scattered chrysanthemums (kikka chirashi) carved in gold. Thought to be the work of the Yoshioka school, who worked for the Tokugawa Bakafu. Mumei. Early generations of the Yoshioka school did not sign their work. Later generations signed Yoshioka Ibana no Suke, but did not identify individual artists. This tsuba dated to the mid-Edo period (c. 1750).

Chrysanthemums have long been admired in Japan for their beauty and elegance and they became a popular design motif for clothes and furnishings. They have a nice scent, survive even if other flowers wither, and live long, so symbolise longevity, and often appear on sword fittings. In the 17th century, gardening became popular amongst the ordinary people. They actively cross-bred chrysanthemums and created improved varieties for ornamental purposes. I purchased this beautiful tsuba from Ginza Choshuya in 2012. As you can see it shows a range of different chrysanthemums. Attribution from Ginza Choshuya and backed up by Robert Haynes. A stunning tsuba. Comes with custom box.

7.1cm x 6.8cm x 0.4cm

Exhibited at the Token Society of Great Britain Taikan, Chiddingstone Castle, Kent, UK, October 2015

Price US $4,000, including worldwide shipping.


Akasaka Tsuba

Iron sukashi tsuba with design of go-san no kiri, or paulownia leaves, while the rim has a design of paulownia blossoms. Beautiful silky surface with nice sukashi work. Mumei. Edo period. Lovely tsuba. Comes with custom box.

7.2cm x 6.8cm x 0.55cm

Exhibited at the Token Society of Great Britain Taikan, Chiddingstone Castle, Kent, UK, October 2015

Price US $4,500, including worldwide shipping.


Kyo-Sukashi Tsuba (papered)

Iron sukashi tsuba of mokko-gata shape. Attributed to Kyo-Sukashi (NBTHK Hozon paper). Ginger leaves decorate the top and bottom while wild geese fill both sides. The delicate carving, thin lines, rounded rim and half-moon shaped hitsu-ana are all characteristics of the Kyo-Sukashi school. Edo period. Nice large tsuba in excellent condition. Comes with custom box.

8.0cm x 8.0cm x 0.4cm




Kyo-Sukashi Tsuba (papered)

Iron sukashi tsuba of circular form, finely carved and pierced with shippō tsunagi design (repeated overlapping circles). Mumei, but attributed to Kyo Sukashi school. The motif represents the ‘endless circle of the seven treasures’ in Buddhist mythology.  The pattern is popular on textiles and is considered to be a symbol of good fortune. The shape of the hitsu-ana are telltale signs of Kyo-Sukashi school.  NBTHK Hozon paper.
Edo period

7.7cm x 7.6cm x 0.4cm

Price US $3,750, including worldwide shipping.


Akasaka Tsuba (papered)

Iron sukashi tsuba with design of chrysanthemum and kiri (paulownia). The horizontal lines represent water, perhaps with blossoms floating on it. A similar tsuba can be found on Jim Gilbert’s website. Mumei. NBTHK Hozon paper to Akasaka school.
Edo period

7.4cm x 7.2cm x 0.5 cm


Shoami Tsuba (two sets of papers)

Iron Shoami tsuba with design of Kiri Leaves and Temple Roof. Maru mimi. The iron is rich and dark and the carving is well done. This looks very much like a Higo design, however both the NTHK and NBTHK papered this tsuba to Shoami. Lovely patina.
Edo period.

7.2cm x 6.8cm x 0.6cm

Price US $1,500, including worldwide shipping.


Myochin Tsuba

Iron tsuba with unusual flower petal shape. Beautiful silky patina. Signed Myochin Sandaime. Edo period. Lovely dark patina. The photos make the tsuba look brown, however it is a nice deep black colour.

8.1cm x 7.5cm x 0.35cm

Price US $1,000, including worldwide shipping


Katchushi Tsuba

Muromachi period Katsuchi tsuba. Solid iron plate with pierced design of plum blossom. Kozuka-ana filled with shakudo. Lovely old tsuba in good condition. Sword cut along the rim at the bottom.

7.7cm x 7.5cm x 0.3cm

Price US $800, including worldwide shipping.


Katchushi Tsuba

A stunning Katsushi Tsuba with design of Buddhist Wheel. Muromachi period. Very large example in wonderful condition. Remnants of lacquer on the front.

8.4cm x 8.4cm x 0.3cm

Price US$ 1,500 including worldwide shipping.


Echizen Kinai Tsuba

A classic Echizen Kinai design of aoi leaves with gold highlights. Perfect for anyone looking for a representative example from the Echizen Kinai school. Very good condition. Edo period.

6.8cm x 6.6cm x 0.4cm

Price US $500, including worldwide shipping.


Tosho Tsuba

Large Tosho (sword makers) tsuba. Nice iron with hammered surface and sukashi piercing of family mon. Hitsu-ana filled with lead. Edo period.

8.5cm x 8.0cm x 0.4cm

Price US $750 including worldwide shipping.


Interesting Modern Made Tsuba

Large, heavy shakudo tsuba with design of flowers and punch marks. Copper rim. Signed XXXX. Very good quality. Would look great mounted. The brown colour in the photos is just reflection from lights. This tsuba is a deep purple/black colour.

8.8m x 8.5cm x 0.3cm

Price US $400 including worldwide shipping.


Kyo Sukashi Tsuba

Kyo-Sukashi tsuba with design of Musashi-no (Musashi plains), Bird and Abumi (riding stirrups). Mumei. Early Edo period. This piece has been in my collection for over 20 years. Musashi-no lies to the south west of the Kanto district (close to present day Tokyo). Throughout the centuries many poems have been written which describe the view. It is believed that the combination of Musashi-no and Abumi is designed to honour the fallen Samurai and their horses which would have littered the Musashi plains during the many centries of civil war in Japan.

Unlike most Kyo-Sukashi tsuba which are round, this particular example is nade-kaku-gata shaped (square with rounded corners). The deep chisel marks around the nakago-ana could indicate the work of a specific tsuba artist or koshirae fitting shop in or around Kyoto. There is a very similar tsuba on Jim Gilbert’s website., which show the Musashi-no design and the diagonal chisel marks around the nakago-ana. Perhaps these are both by the same hand? Another similar example can be found on page 68 of Masayuki Sasano’s book “Early Japanese Sword Guards: Sukashi Tsuba”.

6.2cm x 5.8cm x 0.55cm

Price US $750 including worldwide shipping.


Tsuba with Clematis Flowers and Vines, signed Nara saku

Nice iron tsuba with clematis flowers and vines in gold and silver inlay. Signed Nara Saku (made in Nara). This is the school signature that was used by this group of artists. They never signed with their individual names. This tsuba is slightly convex in shape and dates to the mid Edo Period

Together with the Goto and Yokoya, the Nara school set the standards of Edo period sword fittings. Although early Nara work probably origined in Kyoto in the 16th century, the mainline school originated in the 17th century with Toshiteru, who made iron tsuba at the Shogun’s court. Toshiteru, and eight subsequent masters and many students, produced excellent work. This main line however was to be eclipsed by three of the greatest artists in the history of sword fittings – Toshinaga, Joi and Yasuchika. These three masters are called the Nara sansaku. Toshinaga (1667 – 1737) produced bold, high relief, solid and fully-carved tsuba with elaborate attention to detail. He used iron at first, but later added soft metal. While Toshinaga was producing his masterpieces, a young man some 33 years his junior arrived in Edo and studied under the master. This man was Sugiura Joi, who soon began to develop his own personal techniques of low relief carving on slighlty concave tsuba. The third Nara master, Yasuchika (1670 – 1744) was one of the greatest artists of swords fittings. He upset the popular Goto and Somin schools of the time by breaking the established rules by producing pictorial, inlaid brass and iron tsuba. (Iron was considered ugly by the Goto). Yasuchika combined the soft metal work of the Goto and Yokoya with a wide variety of subjects in many techniques and was comfortable working in iron as in soft metal. Classic Yasuchika subjects include birds in the rain, representations of Kano style paintings, animals and people.

7.7cm x 7.6cm x 0.5cm at seppa-dai (0.3cm at rim)

Price US $800 including worldwide shipping.