This is an old Japanese Iron TSUBA Sword Guard for the middle sized sword called Wakizashi in japan. I do not know much about the Japanese tools themselves just the stories and plays from when we in Japan. I do know that this was made about 80 years ago, and it is sized to fit a medium size sword. It is not an original Samurai piece of course, but vintage and made in the following of the designs of those times. It is well worn with age. I need to check the facts on this, as this does not seem correct. We have one other nice antique one that I did not realize is not posted so will get that done.
SIZE : 2 1/2" Diameter or 6.35 cms; Weight 60 grams
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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