A fine Japanese Meiji Period lacquer Tsuba with Shibayama style decoration depicting Samurai

Price on request

Contact Dealer To Purchase

Object Description

A Japanese Meiji Period (1868-1912) gold lacquer tsuba with Shibayama style decoration of a samurai being ambushed by two others and a pheasant to the reverse.

Object History


The famous samurai of Japan were a hereditary military nobility caste who help to shape and rule Japan from the 12th Century to their abolition in the Meiji period. In Japan samurai are known as bushi (meaning warrior) they we’re usually associated with a clan or lord and were highly trained officers in combat and strategy. They lived by the code of bushido (way of the warrior) which was Confucian in origin, and taught loyalty, self discipline and respect. They used many weapons including spears, bows and arrows and later on guns, but they are most famous for their swords. The Japanese Samurai blade is made by laminating metal (repeatedly folding) to create a very sharp but brittle edge which could then be combined with a central strip of stronger metal to create a blade. Despite being the best known use of this technique Japan only adopted it in the 1200’s, Western civilizations such as the Celts had been using this method 2000 years before. The right to own and wear swords in public was a privilege granted only to the Samurai, they would usually wear a Daisho (pair) of swords, one larger than the other, there are many sizes and classes of samurai swords but the most common pairing would be the Katana and the Wakizashi.


The pheasant is an important bird in the Shinto religion, it is a messenger for Amaterasu the sun goddess and as such is seen a a symbol of luck, longevity and fidelity.


A tsuba is the hand guard for a Japanese sword, they balance the sword, protect the hand from an enemy blade and show status. Tsuba have become collectible works of art in their own right.


Shibayama is a style of inlay decoration used to create a design on wood, ivory or lacquer. Small peices of shell, horn, coral, wood, ivory, bone and other colourful precious materials would be semi-inland into the base material to give a 3D effect.
The style of decoration is named after the artist Shibayama who created and popularized the artform.

Object Condition


Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

Dealer Location

7 Pierrepont Row
(Off Camden Passage)
N1 8EE

View Map