This Japanese antique Edo real Samurai tsuba or sword guard is made in the very popular nanban style. The nanban style refers to its shape, and I found many references on the internet about it. Old tsuba can be very valuable, we have not had this appraised so do not know the value of it. Below is a discussion about the tsuba itself from Wiki. This one is made to fit the middle size sword called the 'wakisashi'. It is very nicely designed and it does have a small piece missing but it does not take away from its beauty and not a problem for collecting and displaying a 200 year old sword guard. Otherwise, it is in very good condition for its age.
SIZE : Diameter 3.14 inches or 8 cm; Weight 100 grams or 3.53 oz
The Tsuba 鍔
The tsuba 鍔, or 鐔- is usually around or occasionally squarish guard at the end of the grip of bladed Japanese weapons, like the katana and its various declinations, tachi, wakizashi, tantō, naginata etc. They contribute to the balance of the weapon and to the protection of the hand. The tsuba was mostly meant to be used to prevent the hand from sliding onto the blade during thrusts as opposed to protecting from an opponent's blade. The chudan no kamae guard is determined by the tsuba and the curvature of the blade. The diameter of the average katana tsuba is 7.5–8 cm, wakizashi tsuba is 6.2–6.6 cm, and tantō tsuba is 4.5–6 cm. During the Muromachi period 1333–1573 and the Momoyama period 1573–1603Tsuba were more for functionality than for decoration, being made of stronger metals and designs. During the Edo period 1603–1868 there was peace in Japan so tsuba became more ornamental and made of less practical metals such as gold. (from Wiki article 'Japanese Sword Mountings'.
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