The Tsuba - Parts of a Japanese Katana
The Tsuba is the Katana's guard designed to protect the wielders hand during a sword fight as well as prevent the swordsman's hands from accidentally slipping forward onto the blade. The tsuba also contributed to the swords performance by being weighted properly to counter-balance the blade. During the Muromachi and Momoyama periods between 1333 and 1603 Japan's clans and families were in a nearly constant state of war. The tsuba at this time were normally simple in design and made from strong metals for the purpose of heavy warfare. The rise of the Edo period brought peace in Japan so tsuba makers could create more ornate decorative designs utilizing softer metals like gold, silver and brass in their designs. In this period whole dynasties of craftsmen would dedicate their lives to only making tsuba which would become collectors items and heirlooms passed down by generations. The samurai would normally have at least two sets of furniture for their blade. A decorative artistic themed set which they could dress their sword with in times of peace and a second set of heavy battle fittings for times of war.
These are some examples photo's of many different Tsuba found on the Japanese katana in our store.