Iron Sword Handguard (Tsuba) with Small Openwork (Ko-Sukashi)
This is an iron handguard (tsuba) with a small openwork (ko-sukashi) design of a wave (nami) or possibly a seashell (kai-gara). It was likely made during the late Edo Period (~1770-1868 CE) by an artist trying to emulate the great early works of the artist Yamakichibei. The handguard displays a common method of finishing of the plate surface that involves tempering by reheating the plate (yakite-shitate) this is the very last step after all the hammering is complete, openwork designs are cut, and is signed. The heat treatment and hammered surface of the iron gives it a melted glazed appearance like Raku style teacups used in the tea ceremony of the late 16th century Japan. The overall appearance of the handguard represents the Japanese aesthetic principle of (wabi-sabi) with the concept of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete by its intrinsic nature. These are important philosophical concepts also found in Buddhist philosophy. It is being listed on consignment sale by a private collector.
The handguard measures 6.9 cm (2.8 inches) wide by 7.3 cm (2.9 inches) high. The rim of the handguard is 0.4 cm (0.2 inches) thick. The handguard is signed (Yamakichibei 山吉兵へ) by the artist. Overall the condition is excellent.
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Returns are accepted during a three-day inspection period starting upon acceptance of the item with a 10% restocking fee of the original purchase price. Items wanting to be returned after this three-day inspection period can be purchased back at a discounted price at the discretion of the management of Rain Dragon Art and Antiques, LLC.