Caroline's Jewelry with a Past is offering a hand made pendant centered with an antique Kashira from a wakizashi or small sword from the Samurai era of Japan. The Kashira features a Japanese dragon and Lion dog, sometimes called "Foo Dogs" in Western civilization. The oval piece is a mixed metal, finely detailed dragon and lion dog with a hammered metal look of shagreen. The Kashira is the decorative metal ornaments that make up the butt cap or pommel of a Japanese small sword that could only be worn by Samurai. This piece is 5/8" wide (east to west) X 1-3/8" (north to south) and the pendant itself is 1-5/8" high with the hanger. It weighs 12 grams.
The kashira tops off the Tsuka or handle of a a Samurai sword. This Kashira top ornament was probably for a wakazashi or small sword, because of the size. Kashira were often very ornate, created y talented master metal smiths and artisans that would enhance or become the "theme" of the wakizashi sword. Most sword fittings will convey through design certain ideas, meanings or tales of Japanese society. The Japanese dragons are typically depicted as large wingless, serpentine creatures with claw feet. Like the Chinese dragon, the Japanese dragon is associated with the emperor. They have great symbolic power, wisdom and success. They exhibit strength, luck and good fortune. Lion dogs were also adopted by the Japanese from the Chinese culture, where their background is less clear. Lion dogs are seen as talismans with the power to fend off demons or evil. Why both creatures are depicted on this Kashira is unclear, it probably represents some tale or legend that had a special meaning for the Samurai who carried it.
The original Kashira is a 90% copper and 10% gold mixed metal . The backing and hanger are sterling silver. The Kashira has been silver plated. The dragon and Lion Dog have been gold plated in rose and yellow. The front has been oxidized. This is a handmade piece featuring an antique Kashira. It is made by a craftsman and can have features which are found only in this piece. It is unique and represents the artist's vision. The jewelry may exhibit the marks of the craftsman. It will not be perfect.