The Beauty of mixed metal TSUBA
Sword fittings that offered protection and made for ease of carrying came to be decorated in various ways during the great peace of Edo period, and these swiftly increased in artistic value. Making full use of their high-quality iron, gold, silver, copper, shakudo and shibuichi engraving techniques while depicting the beauty of nature and various designs on the set forms of sword fittings, sword-fitter artisans created a magnificent world of beauty that imbued their three-dimensional craft with a painterly art.
Among sword-fitter metalwork are tsuba (hand guards), fuchi-gashira (metal collars at the blade end of a sword hilt), menuki (hilt ornaments), kozuka (small knives), and kogai (skewers). Tsuba especially have to the present day always fascinated art lovers, who consider them art objects in their own right quite apart from the sword and its other fittings because they were large enough to fit perfectly into the palm, had a pleasing weight, and displayed just enough surface to allow the sword fitter artisan to cover both their sides with painterly expression.
This exhibit presents works by the Kyoto metal artists Goto Ichijo and Kano Natsuo as well as hand guards by the Ishiguro school and the metal artists of Mito. We hope that you enjoy this world of metal hand guards created using various metals and graced with a sophisticated and elegant beauty.